Latest news from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 8 June (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public
The situation in Ukraine was calm, except parts of Donbas where tensions remained with no substantial changes as compared to the previous reports. The SMM has not reestablished communication with the 4 monitors from the Donetsk team and 4 monitors from the Luhansk team with whom it lost contact on 26 May and 29 May respectively.
In Kharkiv, the SMM monitored two rallies of the opponents of Ukraine’s unity. The SMM observed the first event on 7 June, which was attended by approximately 70 demonstrators. A second event was observed on 8 June, which had an estimated 200 participants. Protesters, mainly elderly people, were wearing St. George’s ribbons; some of them displayed the flags of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ as well as posters with separatist or anti-government slogans.
The SMM observed the city centre of Luhansk, which appeared to be calm with people shopping and walking around. Market places and supermarkets were open. A couple of restaurants near the occupied building of the Regional Administration were closed, and queues were seen at bank branches. In the centre of Luhansk, the SMM observed a huge billboard with telephone numbers to denounce crimes or violent acts, signed by the so-called ‘South-Eastern Army’ and the Luhansk police. According to some interlocutors to whom the SMM spoke, the Luhansk police is divided on whether to co-operate with the separatists or not.
Donetsk city has remained calm in the reporting period. The self-proclaimed 'mayor' of Sloviansk Ponomariov reported an increase in the intensity of conflict in and around the town. Initial indications from the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’s’ (DPR) interlocutors are that they are unlikely to respond positively to President Petro Poroshenko's peace offer, seeing no obvious agenda items except those of detainee exchange, withdrawal of Government forces from the territory they claim, and political recognition.
SMM interlocutors said there were 23,000 inmates in state penitentiaries in the region, secured by 6,000 prison guards, a number of whom are now leaving their posts. A DPR interlocutor noted his concern about unrest and illness – there are thought to be cases of tuberculosis in the prison population.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Odesa was calm. In Odesa the SMM observed a peaceful rally at Kulykove Pole on 8 May. White doves and balloons were released to commemorate the people who died on 2 May. Up to 500 people with no clear affiliation were present, and between 50 and 60 policemen watched the assembly.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv was calm. On 6 June afternoon the SMM observed in front of the court house in the town of Kosiv (90 kilometres south of Ivano-Frankivsk) a rally of around 100 people, who protested against the newly-appointed head of the Kosiv District Court citing allegations of corruption.
On 7 June the SMM observed the official inauguration ceremony of the new Ukrainian president in the Sophia Square in Kyiv with around 3,000 people in attendance. The situation remained calm from the beginning to the end of the ceremony. On 8 June the SMM monitored a rally in the Maidan square of at least several hundred people. Its participants demanded that the Verkhovna Rada be dissolved in order to remove MPs associated with the ancien régime and to speed up reforms in Ukraine.