Latest news from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 9 June (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public
The situation in Ukraine was calm, except in parts of Donbas where tensions remained with no substantial changes since the previous reports. The SMM has not reestablished communication with the four monitors from the Donetsk team and four monitors from the Luhansk team with whom it lost contact on 26 May and 29 May respectively.
In Kharkiv the SMM monitored a Euro-Maidan gathering which was held in the city centre. The rally was held in front of the Shevchenko monument with around 500 participants. The ‘Right Sector’ was present as well. No police presence was observed. Participants demanded reforms in the local and national administration, particularly in the security structures, and called for early parliamentary elections. The protestors moved to the city’s military hospital to express their sympathy with wounded soldiers. The activists also donated 130,000 UAH (approximately 8,200 EUR) to support the Government’s actions against armed separatists in Donbas. The next meeting supporting Ukraine’s unity was announced for 28 June, Constitution Day, at the Shevchenko Monument.
In Luhansk the situation remained tense. Due to security measures the SMM did not monitor its area of responsibility.
There was no substantive change to the security situation in Donetsk city. The SMM gathered further information on the situation in Sloviansk through telephone calls with regular interlocutors in the town, interviews with returning journalists and an examination of their recent photographs.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Odesa remained calm.
In Odesa, the SMM went to the checkpoints in Zatoka, Kotokva, Illichivka (E58), Yuzhne (E58) and Kyiv highway (M5). The SMM observed that the police presence had doubled with all police personnel wearing stab vests. Compared to previous weeks when two police officers were present, the SMM saw four to five police officers at the checkpoints. An explanation for the increased police presence could be the fact that 40 days were due to pass since the 2 May incidents in the Trade Union building. (According to widespread belief among Orthodox believers the soul after 40 days stands before God for Particular Judgement. This specific day is commemorated by mourners). Different groups and individuals announced via social media their intention to mark this event. Two of the police officers were carrying sub-machine guns at each checkpoint (Kotokva, Illichivka, Yuzhne and Kyiv highway). On the Kyiv highway checkpoint, the military was wearing flak jackets and helmets. When the SMM arrived at other checkpoints, the military commander ordered the soldiers to put on flak jackets and helmets.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv was calm.
In Kyiv the SMM observed a group of men in camouflage on Maidan from the ‘Donbas Battalion’ who talked to civilians and answered questions about the situation in the east of the country. Members of the ‘Donbas Battalion’ mentioned that they were an independent unit but they intended to contact the official Ukrainian army, adding they would fight on a patriotic basis without receiving any sort of payment. They stated that the ‘Donbas Battalion’ did not need support from Maidan anymore, but expected Maidan to join their ranks. They stated that the ‘Donbas Battalion’ was 462-men strong and with newly-recruited members it will soon reach 700. As soon as that happens, the ‘Donbas Battalion’ will start forming a second battalion. Young men present at the spot were willing to join the ‘Donbas Battalion’, giving them their contact details.