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125782
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Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (based on information received as of 18:00), 21 October

This report is for media and the general public.

The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions the situation remained volatile. The SMM observed numerous cases of non-compliance with the provisions of the Minsk Memorandum and received reports of many others. In other parts of the country the situation remained calm.

In Borivskyi District (140km south-east of Kharkiv), the SMM met the district head who provided updates on the local Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) situation. The interlocutor stated that the number of IDPs present in Borivskyi had increased in early October. He said that there are now 2,325 IDPs officially registered in the district (compared to 1,986 in early October). He added that a total of 3,547 IDPs had been registered in Borivskyi district since the start of the crisis (March 2014) out of which 1,222 had already returned to their regions of origin (not specified). The interlocutor ensured that the civil servants of the District Department of Labor and Social Protection arecurrently familiarizing themselves with the newly enacted government regulations with financial assistance and registration for IDPs (resolutions 505 and 509).

In Krymske village (42.5km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM spoke with the Ukrainian commander at the most western checkpoint of Krymske. The interlocutor stated that the “Luhansk People Republic” (LPR) forces – who previously controlled Krymske – had pulled out of the village on 20 October after the Ukrainian forces had sent reinforcements to the area, which allegedly deterred the LPR from keeping their position in Krymske.

In Mariupol the security situation remains tense, but no incidents were observed during the reporting period.

On 21 October the SMM visited the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) field office in Svitlodars'k (80km south-east of Kramatorsk). The SMM met Ukrainian and Russian JCCC representatives at the JCCC field office command centre. The Ukrainian representatives reported 60 cease-fire violations while the Russian representatives reported 62 violations in the past 24 hours. The interlocutors did not provide details on the aforementioned violations.

In Maiorsk (60km south-south-east of Kramatorsk), the SMM met the Ukrainian commander of a local checkpoint. The commander reported that the situation in his area of responsibility remains volatile. He said that enemy snipers are still operating in the area. The commander added that a Ukrainian patrol from his checkpoint had been ambushed near Zaitseve village (70km south-east of Kramatorsk). During the patrol, the SMM heard 122mm mortar shelling about 2km east from the Ukrainian checkpoint in Maiorsk. The SMM could not specify whether it was outgoing or incoming shelling. The SMM also heard small arms and light weapons fire coming from Zaitseve village and directed towards the aforementioned Ukrainian checkpoint in Maiorsk. The SMM assessed that the bursts originated from 7.62 calibre assault rifles.

In Dobropillia (60km south-west of Kramatorsk), the SMM spoke with the mayor, the deputy mayor and the deputy director of the Social Protection Department. The aforementioned officials stated that there are currently 5,116 registered IDPs in the city. However, the mayor stated that real number of IPDs in Dobropillia might be twice that, as the official numbers do not include non-registered IDPs. The officials explained that Dobropillia administration is currently re-registering all the IDPs in compliance with the new government regulation on IDP financial assistance and registration (resolutions 505 and 509). The mayor added that there are no tensions between the local population of Dobropillia and the IDPs. In Dobropillia most IDPs live either in private accommodation or in hostels, dormitories and houses provided by the local authorities. The interlocutors explained that “Rinat Akhmetov Foundation” and the Ukrainian Red Cross had been the largest humanitarian relief supplier so far. Dobropillia officials stated that local water supply had been severely restricted (access limited to the morning and evening) as the regional water reservoir located in Karlovskoye (50km north-west of Donetsk) had been severely damaged during the recent fighting in the area. Dobropillia authorities also created mobile administrative service points where IDPs can address their administrative issues.

In the city of Donetsk and its surroundings the overall security situation remained tense.

The SMM did not observe nor hear any shelling or shooting. On 21 October the SMM visited the warehouse of the Donetsk state chemical plant where a heavy explosion occurred on 20 October. The SMM spoke to local inhabitants living in the area located in the vicinity of the explosion site. The local inhabitants said that they felt a powerful shock followed by an acoustic wave after the explosion had broken out at Donetsk state chemical plant on 20 October. The interlocutors reported that the explosion shattered the windows of their accommodation, which the SMM could observe. The SMM monitored the Donbass Arena (located 13km east of the explosion site). The SMM observed damage on the western side of the arena, mainly destroyed glass panels. The SMM later went to local schools located 6km east of the factory where they observed broken windows. The SMM finally went to Donetsk City Hospital No.1 (11km east of the factory). There wasno damage reported or observed at the hospital premises.

The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa, Kyiv, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv remained quiet. 

22 October 2014
The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions the situation remained volatile. The SMM observed numerous cases of non-compliance with the provisions of the Minsk Memorandum and received reports of many others. In other parts of the country the situation remained calm.
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 20 October 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and within this context the work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense.

In Kharkiv the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to the SMM that an attack with an RPG-22 grenade launcher against a Ukrainian Army (UA) infantry base located in Kharkiv city had occurred on 19 October at 18:40hrs. The SMM visited the site where the commander of the unit said that two unknown individuals had arrived on the spot in an unidentified vehicle and shot twice. No material damage or injuries were observed by the SMM.

At Kharkiv’s Liberty Square the SMM monitored the pro-unity “Open-Sky University” event titled “Defend your country”, the declared aim of which was to ‘boost the defence spirit’ of the country. The event, attended by 50 people, mostly young adults of both gender, was organized by the Kharkiv-1 volunteer battalion with the support of activists. An armoured personnel carrier and an Oplot tank were on display. Some of the organizers provided practical training to the public on weapons assembly, while the participants collected donations.

In Luhansk the SMM met commanders of two Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) sectors. They said that they were still waiting for instructions to deploy at patrol level. They had been told that they would be deployed in patrols of four, consisting of one Russian officer, one Ukrainian, one “representative” of “LPR” led by an OSCE monitor; and that they would travel in OSCE vehicles. The SMM explained that it could not transport anyone other than mission members in OSCE vehicles and that the SMM’s mandate did not foresee leadership of JCCC patrols. (See Daily Report 16 October.)

The situation was tense in Donetsk city. At 12:08hrs the SMM heard a loud explosion originating from the Kuibyshev district (7km west of Donetsk airport). The SMM was later informed by several interlocutors that this had been the explosion of a warehouse of the Donetsk state chemical plant which had allegedly been hit by artillery. At 16:30hrs, while attempting to visit the site, the SMM witnessed incoming mortar fire within 150 meters of its position and immediately returned to base.

In Novotroitskoe village (50km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM visited a kindergarten and two civilian houses which had been hit by mortar fire allegedly on 18 October. Based on the impacts, the SMM assessed that the shells were fired from south south-west of the village.

While visiting “DPR” controlled Dokuchaevsk (42km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed incoming artillery fire from approximately 1.5km from the SMM’s position at 13:00hrs, which was impacting the southern part of the village. The SMM soon after had to leave the site due to security concerns.

In Mariupol the SMM patrolled 10 checkpoints (CPs) to the north, north-east and east of Mariupol (CPs 7, 8, 9, 9A, 10, 12, 13, 13A, 14 and 15) and observed the situation as calm. The commanders of CPs 7, 8, 9A, 10, 13 and 15 reported having observed unknown UAVs flying above their positions during the night between 19 and 20 October. The SMM observed reduced traffic flows through all CPs. 

The SMM met members of the JCCC in the HQ in Debaltseve (100km south-east of Kramatorsk), including representatives of Ukraine and Russia, as well as “representatives” of the “DPR” and “LPR”. JCCC members reported 75 allegations of ceasefire violations in the whole sector, 15 of which they had been able to confirm. According to all representatives present, “DPR” and “LPR” had been responsible for two of these and Ukrainian Armed Forces for 13. They said that there had been increased numbers of unmanned aerial vehicles sighted in the area around Mariupol. The SMM and JCCC members heard outgoing artillery during their meeting.

At 12:00hrs, at a Ukrainian Army checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Debaltseve, the SMM observed indirect outgoing artillery fire towards the south. The artillery battery was located approximately 50 meters from civilian buildings and a number of civilians approached the SMM to express their concerns that this positioning put them at risk of being caught incounter battery fire. 

The situation in Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson was calm.

In Odessa the SMM monitored the response to a call by activists in social media to appear outside the Main Investigative Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and support the local head of the Right Sector, a political party standing for elections, who was reportedly summoned for questioning at 14:00hrs. There were approximately 20 supporters from the Right Sector, around half of them women, about 10 police officers and 5 journalists. At 16:00hrs the local head of the Right Sector appeared and stated to the SMM that he was called as a witness in connection with the beating of member of Parliament Nestor Shufrych on 30 September (see Daily Report 1 October).

The SMM met the transport police of Chernivtsi to follow up the false bomb threat at the railway station (see Daily Report 19 October). The police stated that the hoax call on 17 October was identified as originating from a “DPR” controlled area and was followed by a second call to Rivne (324km north of Chernivtsi) police station two minutes later which originated from the same area.

At the town hall square of Ivano-Frankivsk the SMM monitored a gathering of 22 Right Sector members dressed in camouflage uniforms, marking their departure to the east with a ceremony. Concurrently a number of volunteer doctors offered training to passers-by in first aid and emergency response.

In Lviv the situation remained calm.

In Kyiv the SMM observed a substantial Ukrainian law enforcement deployment in front of the Ukrainian Parliament from 11:30hrs to 14:00hrs with several hundred police officers and Ukrainian National Guard forming three lines of security cordon around the Parliament and a few hundred police officers in stand-by in the surrounding streets. The SMM observed around fifty Kyiv-1, Donbas and Azov volunteer battalion members peacefully standing in the park in front of the Parliament. Both police and battalion members were wearing full tactical gear. In addition, a small group of independent protesters peacefully gathered in front of the Parliament from 11:30hrs to 13:00hrs and expressed their concern regarding the policies of the presidential administration on political prisoners. The protest ended peacefully. The police stated to the SMM that the law enforcement presence was due to expected possible provocations.   

 

 

21 October 2014
The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and within this context the work of the Joint Centre for Co-ordination and Control (JCCC). The Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense.
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 19 October 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions the situation remained volatile.In other parts of the country the situation remained calm. In Lviv the SMM observed a political rally organised by “Right Sector”.

On18 October the SMM observed a rally in support of Ukrainian soldiers and a fund raiser to be held at the monument of the soldier, on Lenin Street in Kharkiv. Before the SMM’s arrival to the spot, rumours about people trying to topple the statute were heard. On Lenin Street the SMM observed a small group of 30 young persons (10 women and 20 men) with flags in support of Ukraine’s unity and one flag of “Right Sector”. The SMM saw 10 to 15 police officers at the rally. No violent actions or incidents were observed.

On 18 October upon arrival to Shchastya (24km north of Luhansk) the SMM heard continuous small arms and machine gun fire coming from the area of the power plant. The SMM also heard both incoming and outgoing mortar fire from the area of the power plant and 120mm outgoing mortar fire from the area of the Ukrainian checkpoint (CP) in the vicinity of Shchastya.

The SMM met with the chairpersons of the village councils in Toshkivka (74km north-west of Luhansk)and Nyzhnje (62km north-west of Luhansk). They informed the SMM that, following an instruction by Governor Moskal (recently appointed by President Poroshenko), the backlog of pensions and public-sector salaries for August to October are due to be paid on 23 October. As neither the bank nor post offices currently function, the village councils were collecting the documents of pensioners, so that their pensions can be brought from Popasna in order to spare them the difficult journey. The SMM did not see the government instruction itself, but was told that it would apply only for civil servants working for the Ukrainian administration, thus exclude those working for “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”).

The overall situation in the city of Donetsk remained volatile. On 18 October the SMM heard a series of loud explosions consistent with incoming and outgoing artillery rounds, in the northern outskirts of the city where the airport is located. On 19 October the SMM went to the district of Kuybishevsky, in Zvyagilskiy Street where it visited the school No. 61 and two other houses, allegedly damaged by the shelling on 18 October. The school No.61 had been hit allegedly by two instances of shelling consistent with mortar fire, at around 19:15hrs the previous night, according to the witness who was the duty officer of the shelled school. According to the duty officer the school was operational and classrooms which had been affected by the shelling were cleaned up when the SMM visited the spot. The duty officer told the SMM that so far there are no plans on how to proceed with teaching in the damaged school.

The SMM observed Kirovsky district from Chekalina Street where a house situated at No. 5 had been hit by two mortar shells from an unspecified direction. The roof, ceiling and the windows of the house were all destroyed. Furthermore, on the same street, the SMM observed a second house, situated at No. 15.No casualties and wounded persons have been recorded thus far, according to a representative from the “DPR” “Emergency Services Department”, who also claimed that the damage in both cases occurred on 18 October.

In Mariupol traffic was light at most CPs with no significant traffic to or from Donetsk observed by the SMM. Several CP commanders reported minor unmanned aerial vehicle activity overhead during the evening and night.

The SMM visited the town of Granitne (40 km north-east of Mariupol) which, according to Ukrainian forces and residents, had been shelled on 18 October. According to them between 12 and 30 shells struck the town resulting in severe damage to five houses where families continue to live. The SMM observed recent damage to some houses from heavy-caliber shelling, as well as numerous other destroyed and seriously damaged houses and buildings on top ofthe hill on the north-western edge of Granitne town, which also appeared to have been heavily shelled.

While on the road E40/M03 towards Debaltseve, the SMM heard unspecified shelling on 18 October at around 11:50hrs that sounded as if it was coming from the south. This was later confirmed by the Ukrainian commander of the CP in Debaltseve, who alleged that the shelling had come from the direction of Fashchivka.

On 18 October the SMM also visited the village of Debaltseve, which had been shelled with 82mm mortar at 10:00hrsthe same day, according to the CPcommander. Reportedly, the shell originated from about 7km in the north-east direction, near Komisarivka village (Luhansk region). The SMM observed several seriously damaged houses and saw partly destroyed dwellings and significant shrapnel damage. No casualties were reported to SMM. During the visit, the SMM heard an82mm mortar explosion nearby, in what seemed to be the northeast of the CP.

In Dnipropetrovsk the situation remained calm.

In Kherson the SMM met with a judge of the Mykolaiv central district court who had previously worked as a judge of a District Court in Crimea. According to him a Property Registration Service had been established by the de facto authorities in Crimea through which all property owned by Ukrainian citizens living on the mainland needs to be registered. Ukrainians are entitled to sell their property, but after its registration with the new service its value is recalculated in Russian rubles and, according to the interlocuter, frequently undervalued. He said that so far Russian citizenship has not been required in order to sell property in Crimea.

InOdessa the situation remained calm.

In Chernivtsi the SMM received information on 19 October about an alleged bomb placed at the railway station and got in touch with the police station to gather information concerning this issue. The police shift commander confirmed that there was a bomb hoax. People were evacuated from the railway station. The search of the building and the station lasted for almost one and a half hours. No explosive devices were found. The SMM visited the railway station at 17:45hrs and observed normal operation.

In Ivano-Frankivsk the situation remained calm.

On 17 October the SMM monitored a political rally organized by “Right Sector” at the Polytechnic University in Lviv, attended by approximately 950 (30% female and 70% male) participants, mainly young people. The main speaker of the event was the leader of the “Right Sector”, Dmytro Yarosh. The speaker claimed that about 7,000 “Right Sector” reservists were ready to fight. When asked by a student on the current status of the Crimean peninsula, Yarosh stated that for the moment “priority is Donbas, and after it we will proceed with Crimea”. The SMM observed 15 “Right Sector” male members in camouflage and armed with pistols at the University's hall. No police presence inside and outside the building was observed. No incidents were reported.

In Kyiv the situation remained calm.

 
20 October 2014
The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions the situation remained volatile. In other parts of the country the situation remained calm. In Lviv the SMM observed a political rally organised by “Right Sector”.
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Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 10 October 2014

Focusing on the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued monitoring the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, still noting that violence is continuing in a number of places.

Representatives of the Svoboda party informed the SMM that another Lenin statue had been toppled in Bogoduhiv (50km north-west of Kharkiv). Deputy Chief of Chervonozavodskoy District Police in Kharkiv informed the SMM that on 6 October the Lenin statue at Asnova had also been destroyed. The incident in Bogoduhiv would be the 11th incident of this kind having occurred in Kharkiv region since 28 September (See SMM Daily Report 8 October).

The SMM was informed by the Hirske (Luhansk region) chief of police that three “GRAD” rockets had struck the town on 5 October. The SMM observed impact sites consistent with this information. The SMM also met the Mayor of Hirske and representatives of the Women’s Council. Unlike its surroundings, Hirske has rarely been shelled and the interlocutors were concerned that schools in the city (two primary and two secondary) have not yet opened for the new school year. Hirske, which is subordinated to Pervomaisk under the control of the so-called “Lugansk People’s Republic”, is to be re-subordinated to Popasna district under the control of the Government of Ukraine. Funding for the schools and public employees will in the future start coming via Popasna. The representatives of the Women’s Council were concerned that the process of re-subordination might take time and delay the reopening of the schools and payment of salaries.

In Donetsk city the situation remained tense. The SMM visited the Azotnyi micro-district, in the vicinity of the airport, under the command of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (8km northwest of Donetsk). The SMM observed fresh material damages to civilian housing buildings caused by shelling earlier in the day, which had also been heard by the SMM. Throughout the patrol the SMM heard an unspecified number of artillery being shot from the north, north-northwest and north-northeast consistent with two unspecified parties engaging each other.

In Mariupol the overall situation was generally calm.

In Kramatorsk and its surroundings, the situation remained volatile. The deputy commander of the Ukrainian Army Checkpoint in Maiorsk (53km south-east of Kramatorsk) informed the 2

SMM that their position had been shelled during the night. The SMM observed fresh craters on site consistent with this information.

The SMM observed a funeral service organized by the Ukrainian Army at the Opera Square in Dnipropetrovsk with approximately 200 participants where the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate conducted funeral rites for 22 soldiers recently killed in the conflict.

On 7 October, the SMM met the head of administration of Yuzhnoukrains’k (189km north-west of Kherson) which is a ‘satellite’ city of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and was informed that security measures had been strengthened recently, in connection with the conflict in the east.

The SMM attended the roundtable “Sharing the Bosnian and Georgian Peace-Building Experience in Ukraine” in Odessa where representatives of local NGOs discussed the draft National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The action plan aims to increase the participation of women in the Ukrainian peace process and in the security sector and to address the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence in all phases of the conflict cycle.

In Chernivtsi the situation remained calm.

The SMM met the deputy governor of Ivano-Frankivsk to discuss the commission dealing with the Ukrainian army’s ‘5th Territorial Defence Battalion’. The commission was established early September by the Regional Council to provide legal assistance to military staff and their families. The SMM was informed that the commander of the 5th Battalion, detained for retreating from a position (see SMM Daily Report 6 September) was released on bail, which was financed through donations, and he is now at a military training site in Rivne. The investigations by military authorities continue.

The SMM in Lviv monitored an action of the NGO “Economic Boycott” whose activists purchased items from two stores on Galitska Square and “Svoboda Prospect”. In one of the shops they identified and purchased items produced in the Russian Federation, which did not carry the marking labels stating that they had been produced in the Russian Federation, as per the administrative decree. The manager committed to comply within a week.

On 10 October, the Lviv Regional Prosecutor announced on its official website that a fraud investigation had found that two individuals knowingly supplied fake flak jackets to 150 soldiers assigned to the east. One suspect is being held in detention and the other was released pending trial.

On 9 October the SMM met the deputy police chief of Kyiv region who suggested that the current economic and employment situation created an environment conducive to increased criminality. He also informed the SMM that false bomb threats in Borispol International Airport happened almost on a daily basis, with most threats being made by telephone and originating from the east. The police are co-operating with the airport protection service. The police are also making preparations to ensure public peace and order during the upcoming parliamentary elections.

11 October 2014
Focusing on the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued monitoring the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, still noting that violence is continuing in a number of places.
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OSCE remains at forefront of conflict resolution through mediation, say participants of high-level meeting in Vienna

VIENNA, 10 October 2014 - Mediation, now more than ever, is an important tool for resolving conflicts through peaceful means, and the OSCE remains at the forefront of conflict resolution as a mediator, providing support as well as sharing expertise and knowledge, said participants of a high-level conference on mediation in the OSCE area, which opened today in Vienna.

The conference is organized by the Finnish non-profit organization Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), in co-operation with the Co-chairs of the OSCE Group of Friends of Mediation – Finland, Turkey and Switzerland, and with the support of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre. It was attended by more than 180 participants including envoys of regional and international organizations, negotiators and mediators from a number of peace processes from around the world as well as experts working in the field.

Opening the conference, Andrea Rauber, Deputy Head of the Swiss Mission to the OSCE, said that mediation and dialogue facilitation are the most effective means in bringing violent conflicts to a peaceful end. She highlighted OSCE mediation activities in the Ukraine crisis and the added value of involving civil society in mediation processes.

As OSCE Chair in 2014, Switzerland’s goal is to increase mediation support capacities within the Organization, Rauber said, and welcomed the efforts by Finland, Turkey and some other participating States in this area.

On a top-level panel about mediation in highly-politicized contexts, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari said that any mediator should act as an honest broker with an understanding of the external context of the process.

OSCE Secretary General, Lamberto Zannier, called for creativity in mediation activities and strong dialogue and co-ordination among institutions and international organizations involved in mediation efforts.

Ambassador Herbert Salber, the EU’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, stressed the importance of understanding the root-causes of a conflict and the ability to relate to the parties and their concerns and interests.

Other panel discussions, moderated by the Finnish and Turkish Permanent Representatives to the OSCE, Ambassador Katja Pehrman and Ambassador Tacan Ildem, focused on the dilemma of inclusive mediation versus broad participation in mediation processes, and the role the OSCE can play in promoting national dialogue and building confidence across different divides.

The conference concluded with final remarks by Katri Vilnikka, Director of the Unit for UN and General Global Affairs of the Finnish Foreign Ministry. She also advocated increased mediation capacities and its merits within the OSCE.  

10 October 2014
VIENNA, 10 October 2014 - Mediation, now more than ever, is an important tool for resolving conflicts through peaceful means, and the OSCE remains at the forefront of conflict resolution as a mediator, providing support as well as sharing expertise and knowledge, said participants of a high-level conference on mediation in the OSCE area, which opened today in Vienna.
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 8 October 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol/Memorandum. In Kyiv representatives of the Central Election Commission addressed some of the challenges that IDPs could face during the upcoming elections.

At a checkpoint controlled by “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) close to Debaltseve (80km east of Luhansk) the SMM spoke with a local Cossack commander. He informed the SMM that there were three sets of armed groups operating in the area of Fashivka (10km south-west of Debaltseve): The Cossacks led by Ataman Kozitsin; the “LPR”; and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). Each has its own chain of command and their respective area around Fashivka, which they control.

The SMM went to the Donetsk city morgue and spoke to the director of the forensic expertise of corpses’ department. He said 1,498 people, including 21 children, had been killed in the entire region of Donetsk from 13 March 2014 to 8 October 2014. According to the director there are 60 bodies in the basement of the morgue, 20 of which have not been identified. The procedure in such cases is that unidentified bodies are kept for a maximum of ten days in the morgue after which authorities examine bodies, document any special marks, and bury the body in a listed location. The SMM saw several bodies waiting for examination and observed that the overall process was handled appropriately and that all data was stored in a database.

In Mariupol the SMM met with a Ukrainian representative of a Joint Center for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), who gave a briefing on the deployment and functioning of the JCCC in the area. On 8 October the SMM monitored a press conference organized by the JCCC in Mariupol. The JCCC consists of Ukrainian and Russian military officers, though at the press conference it was only represented by two Ukrainian senior officers, who informed the journalists about their duties and work.

The SMM travelled to Debaltseve via Sloviansk junction along the E40/M03 road, north-west of Debaltseve town. Intermittently, the SMM saw five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and one fuel truck of the Ukrainian army all of which were travelling in the opposite direction. Around 20km before reaching Debaltseve, the SMM overtook another three military vehicles, including one truck carrying a multiple-rocket launcher. On arrival at Debaltseve, in the north-western outskirts of the city centre, the SMM observed military equipment in a nearby field similar to a BM-21 (Grad) MRLS. Around 70km north-west of Debaltseve, on the road between Artemivsk and Konstantinovka, the SMM observed a new checkpoint of the Ukrainian Army.

In Artemivsk (approximately 50km south-east of Kramatorsk) the acting head of the local hospital informed the SMM that the hospital was running short of medical supplies. The hospital is heated through a dedicated gas supply network and the acting head did not foresee any cuts in gas supply during winter. If the gas supply is totally cut, the hospital does not have other ways to secure heating, he stated. 

The situation remained calm in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv.

In Kyiv the SMM attended a press conference about Internally displaced People’s (IDPs) rights and possible problems they could face during the upcoming elections. According to the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, IDPs from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, in order to exercise their right to vote in parliamentary elections, need to register with their passport (or temporary ID) in the registration outlets of the Central Election Commission and submit an application form before 20 October. After receiving a certificate they will be placed on the voters list and able to cast their votes in the polling station at their current place of residence. According to the Head of the Parliamentarian Committee on the rights of veterans, retired and disabled persons, there are more than 6,000 people who applied so far in the framework of this special procedure.

9 October 2014
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol/Memorandum. In Kyiv representatives of the Central Election Commission addressed some of the challenges that IDPs could face during the upcoming elections.
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29th round of Geneva International Discussions completed in a constructive atmosphere

The twenty-ninth session of the Geneva International Discussions has just been completed.

All participants reconfirmed their commitment to the Geneva Discussions as an important platform  to  strengthen  the  security  and  stability  on  the  ground  and  to  address  the humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population. The discussions in both Working Groups took place in a constructive and positive atmosphere.

In Working Group I, the participants began their discussion with a review of the security situation on the ground. The Co-Chairs and all participants have assessed the overall security situation as calm and stable. The participants exchanged views on non-use of force, international security arrangements, as well as best practices and cooperation. They have agreed to continue working on a draft joint statement by participants on non-use of force at the next Geneva round.

The participants welcomed the constructive work done within the Ergneti Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) and once again called for the early resumption of the Gali IPRM.

In Working Group II, the participants addressed humanitarian issues by reviewing the developments that occurred on the ground since the previous round. Amongst others, they discussed issues such as freedom of movement, missing persons, cultural heritage and access to water.

The Co-Chairs and the Co-Moderators called on the participants to address relevant issues in greater depth in the framework of the Geneva Discussions, as well as to make full use of the IPRM meetings to follow-up on issues affecting the lives of the population on the ground.

The participants agreed to hold their next session on 9-10 December 2014.

8 October 2014
All participants reconfirmed their commitment to the Geneva Discussions as an important platform to strengthen the security and stability on the ground and to address the humanitarian needs of the conflict-affected population. The discussions in both Working Groups took place in a constructive and positive atmosphere
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125235
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 6 October 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

Focusing on the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued monitoring the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, still noting that violence is continuing in a number of places.

A representative of the Kharkiv Regional Employment Centre told the SMM in Kharkiv that from 1 May to 6 October, 9,269 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the Crimean peninsula had requested help in finding employment. Of those, only 1,331 were registered by the centre – after having had their employment histories verified – and 400 were helped find a job, according to the interlocutor.

The SMM noted that the situation was calm at the Melove Border Crossing Point (136 km north-east of Luhansk city) on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Ukrainian border guards said they had observed no significant movement of military personnel or hardware in the area, and none across the border, recently. The Border Crossing Point was, according to border guards at the time, subject to an RPG attack (see Daily Report of 11 August 2014).

The SMM heard a total of six rounds – of an unspecified nature – impacting in the north of Donetsk city at two separate times – at midday and in the late afternoon. Residents of a north-eastern suburb of the city also told the SMM that the area had been shelled the previous evening, consistent with what the SMM had heard at the time (see Daily Report of 6 October 2014). The SMM visited the area and noted some shrapnel damage, numerous craters, and what appeared to be an Uragan rocket in the area. A number of residents told the SMM that a man and woman had required hospitalization as a result of the shelling.

Ukrainian checkpoint commanders at various locations to the north and north-east of Mariupol (113 km south of Donetsk city) told the SMM of shelling directed at the checkpoints the previous evening. The SMM – whilst at the checkpoints – neither observed nor heard shelling, nor saw any indication that shelling may have recently taken place.

Whilst in Debaltseve (75 km north-east of Donetsk city), the SMM was informed by a senior Ukrainian military officer that there had in the previous 24 hours been 76 “ceasefire” violations – 42 by the separatists and 34 by the Ukrainian Army – in the Debaltseve area, resulting in one fatality and 13 injuries. The SMM observed no incidents in the area, and saw nothing that would substantiate the allegations made by the officer.

The situation remained calm in Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson.

The self-styled ataman (commander) of the “the Black Sea Cossack Army” – which is constituted as an NGO in Odessa city – told the SMM  that the 3,000 members of the group had been subject to what he described as persecution, following the 2 May Trade Union Building fire incident in Odessa. He informed the SMM that the members of the NGO were receiving military training to defend themselves against possible attack. 

The situation remained calm in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.

 

7 October 2014
Focusing on the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued monitoring the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, still noting that violence is continuing in a number of places.
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 5 October 2014

Focusing on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued monitoring the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions where shelling continued to take place. The situation in the other regions of Ukraine remained calm.

In Kharkiv the SMM observed a small gathering on Liberty Square around the former statue of Lenin during the entire day on 4 October. The SMM initially observed a group of six men carrying flags of a Ukrainian NGO (“Civil Self-Defence”). The SMM did not notice any police presence in the area. The aforementioned individuals placed an Orthodox cross in the shoe of the toppled statue (which still remains on the pedestal). The individuals explained to the SMM that their action was a reaction to the recent statements made by the Governor of Kharkiv who is reportedly considering alternatives for replacing Lenin’s statue. Later that day, the SMM observed up to 250 individuals (of all ages, males and females in mixed proportions) peacefully gathering on Liberty Square around the pedestal of the toppled statue of Lenin. The participants were waving Ukrainian flags and made pro-unity public speeches. The SMM spotted 60 Ukrainian uniformed police officers reinforced by a number of plainclothes officers. The gathering peacefully disbanded in the late afternoon.

On 4 October the deputy mayor of Popasna (80km west of Luhansk) reported that the town had been shelled on 3 October (weapon system and direction of fire not specified). The local official added that the shelling had damaged several buildings in Popasna and resulted in one civilian casualty and two other civilians injured. The SMM spoke with local inhabitants of Popasna whose houses were reportedly damaged in the latest shelling which occurred on 3 October. The SMM met an elderly couple who sustained visible injuries during the shelling.

On 5 October the SMM spoke to a local Ukrainian police battalion Commander in Syrotyne located in the vicinity of Borovske (95km north-west of Luhansk). The Commander said to the SMM that a Ukrainian checkpoint located on the southern flank of Borovske had been shelled on 4 October with BM-21 “Grad” Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems (MRLS) (122mm). The interlocutor showed the SMM the leftovers of a “Grad” shell which had allegedly hit the aforementioned Ukrainian position on 4 October.

On 5 October the SMM spoke with a Commander of a Ukrainian police checkpoint deployed in the southern sectors of Lysychansk (90km north-west of Luhansk). The Commander reported that he had heard a volley of BM-21 “Grad” artillery fire impacting 5km south of his position on the afternoon of 4 October. The SMM spoke with local inhabitants in Mirnaya Dolina (75km north-west of Luhansk) who said that a volley of “Grad” artillery fire had impacted the same afternoon in the surrounding fields without causing damage or casualties. Local villagers in Hirske (70km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the town had not been directly shelled since 26 September, although the artillery fire had targeted the surrounding areas since the aforementioned date (no further specification). The aforementioned interlocutors did not know the origins nor the bearing of the artillery fire. 

On 4 October throughout the entire day in Donetsk, the SMM heard regular volleys of incoming and outgoing heavy artillery fire concentrated in the northern sectors of the city. On 5 October at 11:00hrs the SMM observed that the vicinity of the Donetsk regional museum was under artillery attack (weapon systems and direction of fire unknown). On 5 October at 11:00hrs the SMM heard ten artillery explosions in the vicinity of the villages of Slavnoe (65km north-east of Donetsk) and Novomikhailovsk (45km north-west of Donetsk).

In Mariupol and Kramatorsk the overall situation remained calm on 4 and 5 October 2014.

The situation remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa and Kherson.

In Kyiv the SMM observed a peaceful “March for Peace” organised by a newly created Ukrainian civic movement called “For Peace Today”. The march gathered 3,000 participants, representing civic, youth and religious groups coming from all over Ukraine. The participants were mainly female individuals of all ages. The participants were waving Ukrainian and foreign flags (including from the US and EU member States). They chanted slogans in favour of unity and peace in Ukraine. The march started from Kyiv city centre and ended peacefully at the “People’s Friendship” Arch. Personnel from the Ukrainian National Guard and the regular police escorted the march.

On 3 October the SMM met with the Head of the Social Protection Department of Nadvirna District (40km south of Ivano-Frankivsk). The interlocutor stated that there are currently 62 IDPs in Nadvirna District (13 families) who mainly come from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The interlocutor added that most local IDPs live in private accommodation in the district with their relatives. He explained that the Social Protection Department of Nadvirna has regular co-ordination meetings with relevant regional administrations and with the international NGO CARITAS in order to address the local IDPs’ issues. The interlocutor stated that CARITAS provides 300 UAH a month (approximately EUR 20) to local IDP families for covering their heating bills.  The SMM visited two different IDP families living in private accommodation in Nadvirna. Both families said that they are satisfied with their living conditions and with the assistance provided by the local authorities. However, the IDP interlocutors expressed their willingness to return to their home regions. They added that there are no tensions between the local population of Nadvirna and IDPs.

The situation remained calm in Chernivtsi and Lviv.

6 October 2014
Focusing on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued monitoring the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions where shelling continued to take place. The situation in the other regions of Ukraine remained calm.
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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 29 September 2014

This report is for media and the general public.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol/Memorandum. While the situation remained calm in the Luhansk region, the SMM observed ongoing fighting at Donetsk International airport and heard sporadic shelling in Donetsk northern sectors (Avdiivka). The SMM also heard artillery and mortar fire in the north-eastern sectors of Mariupol (Sartana and Oktaybr). The SMM monitored a simultaneous release of prisoners between the Ukrainian forces and representatives of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). In Kharkiv the situation remained calm in the hours which followed the toppling of the local Lenin statue.

In Kharkiv, following the toppling of Lenin’s statue on 28 September, the SMM continued monitoring the situation on Kharkiv Liberty Square. In the afternoon of  28 September, in the margins of the protest action on Liberty Square, the SMM observed approximatively 300 pro-Ukrainian and pro-Unity activists gathered on Constitution Square. The protesters said that they wanted Kharkiv to remain part of Ukrainian territory. They also demanded the dismissal of Kharkiv city mayor Hennadiy Kernes. The protesters were mostly young with a balanced gender representation.  In the morning of 29 September the SMM observed two groups of young men and women, both pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian supporters, engaged in fierce discussion. The encounter remained and ended peacefully. The SMM spotted very few Ukrainian Police Officers in the vicinity of the Square. On the same morning, the SMM saw that Kharkiv municipal workers were removing the statue. Local officials from the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior (MoI) and a representative of Kharkiv Governor reiterated that they would put an immediate end to the investigation and legal actions previously opened against those who toppled Lenin’s statue.

In Derhachi (15km north-west of Kharkiv), a local middle-aged male inhabitant told the SMM that a  group of young individuals (number not specified) reportedly came from Kharkiv in the morning of 29 September and toppled the Lenin statue located in Derhachi city centre. The SMM observed that the Lenin statue was indeed missing. The SMM noticed physical signs of damage on and around the empty pedestal, indicating that the statue might have been toppled earlier. The situation in Derhachi remained calm.

The SMM spoke with staff members of Shchastya (25km north of Luhansk) hospital following the shelling which took place in the area on 26 and 27 September 2014.
The interlocutors told the SMM that the hospital premises had not sustained severe damage after the aforementioned shelling. The SMM noticed craters and impacts of mortar shells around the hospitals’ facility. The SMM also noticed that mortar shrapnel had shattered the hospital’s windows and left superficial impacts on the external walls. Based on the observation of the impacts and shrapnel, the SMM assessed that the mortar shells were coming from the “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled sectors.

The SMM monitored the areas of Hirske and Zolote located in the southern sectors of Lysychansk city (90km north-west of Luhansk). In Hirske the Ukrainian armed personnel manning the northern checkpoint reported no violent incidents during the night of 28-29 September 2014. The interlocutors added that they had received additional military vehicles (number, types not specified). They also reported that they were currently reinforcing their position. The SMM observed excavators digging near the position. In Zolote the SMM spoke with Ukrainian Armed Forces commander manning the south checkpoint close to the “LPR” controlled sectors (direction towards the city of Pervomaisk). The interlocutor said that the Ukrainian personnel deployed at the checkpoint frequently heard small arms and artillery fire in the area. The interlocutor stated that the Ukrainian armed personnel at the checkpoint do not allow local inhabitants to cross their position in either direction (from and towards Pervomaisk).

In the city of Donetsk the overall security situation was generally calm during the day. However, the SMM heard ongoing heavy fighting (exchange of small arms and artillery fire) at Donetsk International Airport. 

On 28 September in Avdiivka (20km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard five volleys of mortar shelling coming from the “DPR”-controlled areas. The mortar shells landed approximately 500 meters east of the Ukrainian checkpoint deployed in Avdiivka.

In Mariupol the security situation remained generally calm. However, the SMM heard sustained small arms fire in the areas close to Kalmius river and the adjacent rural areas located two kilometres north of Sartana village (20km north-east of Mariupol).  Additionally, the SMM heard five volleys of artillery fire coming from Oktaybr village (35km north-east of Mariupol).

In Kramatorsk the overall security situation remains calm.

On 28 September the SMM monitored a simultaneous release of prisoners between the Ukrainian armed forces and “DPR” representatives. The exchange took place on the main road (M04) separating the villages of Avdiivka and Iasinuvate (20km north of Donetsk). The “DPR” representatives released 30 while the Ukrainian side released 60 prisoners. The exchange remained peaceful.

In Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson the situation remained calm.

In Odessa the SMM attended a press briefing given by two representatives of Auto-Maidan.  The activists provided updates about their intervention against the “peace march” participants organised in Odessa on 27 September. The activists explained that they had captured the march’s leaders during the gathering before handing them over to the local Ukrainian police forces. On 27 September the SMM observed that Auto-Maidan activists had raided and captured participants of the march. The activists claimed that the “peace march” had a pro-Russian nature. They stated that a local member of the Odessa Oblast Council and his supporters had organised the “peace march”. The aforementioned Odessa official was not present on 27 September among the march’s participants.

Local officials of Yaremche Municipality (60km south of Ivano-Frankivsk) stated that there are currently 82 IDPs registered in the area, including 25 children and 8 social workers and teachers coming from Mariupol. The officials reported that the municipality copes with scarce financial and energy resources while supporting all the local IDPs.

In Chernivtsi and Lviv the situation remained calm.

In Kyiv the SMM met representatives from the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.
The interlocutors said that the Foundation is providing relief to IDPs from Donbas (including the individuals displaced all over the Donbas region). The relief consists of humanitarian aid, psychological assistance, direct financial assistance to families, medical support, facilities, public building and housing reconstruction projects and temporary shelter.  Furthermore, the interlocutors stated that they currently work with local volunteers from Donetsk to organize the evacuation of local inhabitants from the Donbas areas still affected by ongoing fighting, primarily to Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhia. They added that the foundation had approved an additional budget of 100 million UAH (EUR 5.85 million) for funding their humanitarian and reconstruction project.

30 September 2014
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol/Memorandum. While the situation remained calm in the Luhansk region, the SMM observed ongoing fighting at Donetsk International airport and heard sporadic shelling in Donetsk northern sectors (Avdiivka). The SMM also heard artillery and mortar fire in the north-eastern sectors of Mariupol (Sartana and Oktaybr). The SMM monitored a simultaneous release of prisoners between the Ukrainian forces and representatives of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). In Kharkiv the situation remained calm in the hours which followed the toppling of the local Lenin statue.
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