Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 20 April 2017
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM observed more ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions, compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM monitored the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, but its access there and elsewhere remained restricted.* It observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. It continued to note long queues at entry-exit checkpoints. The SMM continued to monitor the presence of protestors and tent booths in Bakhmut. The Mission continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to essential infrastructure in Bakhmut. The Mission saw a damaged water supply system in Luhansk. The Mission monitored a border area currently not under government control. The SMM monitored the continuation of protests in front of branches of the Sberbank of Russia in Kyiv and Kharkiv.
On the evening of 19 April the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded a total of 32 projectiles (in sequence, eight in flight from north to south, two south to north, one north to south, 18 south to north, one north to south, three south to north), followed by nine tracer rounds south to north, all 3-5km east-south-east. On 20 April, the camera recorded, in sequence, one undetermined explosion 3-5km east-south-east, three undetermined explosions 2-4km south-south-east, and about 25 undetermined explosions, four projectiles in flight from west to east, three bursts of tracer rounds in flight from west to east, all 3-5km east-south-east of the camera. On 20 April, positioned in Avdiivka, the SMM head about 60 undetermined explosions and 35 bursts of small-arms fire, 2-4km south-east and east.
On 20 April the SMM camera at Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded 15 undetermined explosions 4-6km east-north-east and east and two undetermined explosions 3-6km north-north-east.
On 20 April, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 35 undetermined explosions 2-5km west, 26 undetermined explosions 2-5km north-west and north, 34 undetermined explosions 2-5km south-west and one undetermined explosions 7-10km south-west.
On the evening of 19 April, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 6-10km south-west. On 20 April, over a period of one hour, the SMM heard 50 undetermined explosions 10-15km south-east, 69 undetermined explosions and 85 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 2-5km south-east.
On 20 April, while in government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north- east of Donetsk), the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 3km east.
On the night of 19-20 April, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded one undetermined explosion and a total of 97 tracer rounds (in sequence, 29 in flight from east to west, 18 east to west, two west to east, 11 east to west, 23 west to east, 13 east to west, one west to east) at an unknown distance north.
On 20 April, positioned in government-controlled Trudivske (47km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at an unknown distance east, and two undetermined explosions at an unknown distance south.
On the same day, positioned 1km north of “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion at an unknown distance west and one undetermined explosion at an unknown distance south-south-east.
Positioned 5km west of government-controlled Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM head two undetermined explosion at an unknown distance south-east.
Positioned about 2km north-north-west of government-controlled Rybynske (49km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions 8-15km south and one undetermined explosion 8-15km north.
Positioned about 2km south-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard six-ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, about 20 undetermined explosions at an unknown distance north-north-east and one undetermined explosion at an unknown distance south-east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 620 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (40 explosions).
On 20 April, positioned near “LPR”-controlled Kruta Hora (16km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 500m east.
Positioned 3km north of “LPR”-controlled Stepove (27km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 5-10km west.
Positioned in Kozakivka (44km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 8km east.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 94 shots and 75 consequent explosions, assessed as impacts of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2) cannon (73mm) fire 2-3km north, heard and saw one explosion assessed as the impact of mortar round, 2-5km north-north-west, and heard 54 undetermined explosions of IFV (BMP-2) cannon fire.
Positioned about 1km east of “LPR”-controlled Lomuvatka (57km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions assessed as live-fire exercise inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group as of 3 March 2016 that prohibits conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone.
Positioned about 1km west of “LPR”-controlled Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 10km south-east (assessed as outside the Zolote disengagement area), three outgoing explosions 1.5km north and three consequent impacts 1.5km north-east.
Positioned about 1km east of government-controlled Mykolaivka (77km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 20 undetermined explosions 3km west and 87 undetermined explosions 10-15km south-east.
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*
On the evening of 19 April, the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska recorded one signal illumination flare 1.1km south, assessed as inside the disengagement area. On 20 April, positioned north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM heard about 40 undetermined explosions 20km south-west, assessed as outside the disengagement area. Positioned at the “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge, the SMM heard 43 explosions, assessed as outgoing mortar rounds (82mm) and about seven explosions, assessed as impacts of mortar rounds, 3-5km north-west (outside the disengagement area).
Positioned in Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 200 undetermined explosions and 20 outgoing explosions of mortar rounds, all 3-5km south-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area) and 15 undetermined explosions 5-6km south-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures, its Addendum, and the Memorandum.
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas the SMM accessed an agricultural compound where observed two mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) mounted on a track, ammunition crates with markings for 120mm mortar, and a spent casing from one 122 artillery round, about 2km north-north-west of Rybynske.
In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM continued to observe seven multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), ten towed howitzers (five D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm; and five 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), and seven tanks (T-72) at an aerodrome in the south-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city. (See SMM Spot Report 5 April 2017.)
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and anti-aircraft guns in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM observed one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) about 2km north-north-west of Rybynske (in the same location as above).
In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM observed: seven IFVs (BMP-2) and seven armoured personnel carriers (APC) (BTR) in the south-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city; an APC (BRDM-2) 4km north-east of government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) moving south-east; two IFVs (BMP-1) pointing in north-easterly direction in “DPR”-controlled Styla (34km south of Donetsk).
Also, the SMM saw fresh IFV (BMP-1) tracks on the road between Chermalyk and government-controlled Kyrylivka (26km north-east of Mariupol) and in a field 2km west of Pavlopil (26km north-east of Mariupol).
In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol), at 12:35 the SMM saw a grey and winged mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flying from south to north at an altitude of 200m and 200m-400m north-west of the SMM’s position. Shortly after, the UAV reversed direction heading south and at 12:40 the SMM heard two bursts of small-arms fire 400m north-north-west and three bursts of small-arms fire 1km north-west.
The SMM continued to monitor the protests at the blockade of roads and railway routes. In government-controlled Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk) the SMM continued to note that all obstacles on the railroad tracks and other items from the activist camp were no longer present. The SMM saw four men in military-style clothes inside tents and seven tents with flags carrying insignias of former volunteer battalions.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to essential infrastructure. The SMM saw repair works on two sections of the power lines by the company Bakhmut Main Power Transmission Lines on power lines 3km south of government-controlled Teple (31km north of Luhansk).
The SMM saw for the first time since mid-April water leaking from pipes on the side of the road in Krasnyi Yar, a neighbourhood of Luhansk city. Two female residents (35 and 50 years old) told the SMM that the water supply system in Krasnyi Yar was operational only two days a week.
The SMM continued to note long queues at entry-exit checkpoints. At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint north of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, at 10:00 the SMM saw about 1,000 people queuing to walk toward government-controlled areas and 600 people in the opposite direction. Four hours later, the SMM noted that the number of people queuing in both directions remained unchanged.
The SMM monitored a border area currently not under government control. During one hour at a border crossing point near Voznesenivka (formerly Chervonopartyzansk, 65km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 35 civilian cars (22 with Ukrainian, 13 with Russian Federation licence plates), one bus (regular line Gukovo-Sverdlovsk with around 20 people on board, with Russian Federation licence plates) exit Ukraine. When the SMM left the border crossing point, it saw seven civilian vehicles (five with Ukrainian licence plates and two with Russian Federation licence plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine.
The SMM monitored the continuation of protests in front of branches of the Sberbank of Russia in Kyiv and Kharkiv. (See SMM Daily Report 19 April 2017.) On 20 April, at 1 Donets-Zakharzhevskoho Street in Kharkiv, the SMM saw five protestors (mostly young men) inside a white van in front of the bank building and 12 police officers. At 46 Volodymyrska Street branch in Kyiv, the SMM saw four protestors (young men and women) as well as the previously observed booth tents with National Corps flags. The office was guarded by five National Guard officers. The SMM noted that both branches were open and serving clients.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Lviv, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnipro and Chernivtsi.
*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate
The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for a rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance.
Denial of access:
- At the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that its safety still could not be guaranteed in the areas surrounding the main road due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM did not inform the JCCC.
- At an “LPR” checkpoint on the edge of the Zolote disengagement area, armed men told the SMM that its safety still could not be guaranteed in the fields and side roads due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM could not travel westward from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske through the disengagement area due to a lack of security guarantees and the possible presence of mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- On 20 April, at an Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint north of the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer told the SMM that no de-mining activities had taken place during the previous 24 hours and that the road south of the bridge is still mined. Based on this information, the SMM did not consider it safe to proceed. The SMM informed the JCCC.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.