Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine based on information received until 22 June 2014, 18:00 (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public.
The situation across the country was calm, except in parts of Donbas, where tensions remained. Sloviansk’s ‘mayor’ warned about the risk of an ecological catastrophe affecting Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Four SMM monitors from the Donetsk team have been missing for 28 days and four SMM monitors from the Luhansk team for 25 days.
On 22 June in Kharkiv the SMM monitored a rally of opponents of a united Ukraine on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Approximately 800-900 participants, in the beginning, and 200-300 later, called for an end to the military operation in Donbas. The demonstrators demanded that ‘war criminals’ be brought to justice and that ‘political prisoners’ be released. They were escorted by police, members of the Communist Party, the ‘South-East Movement’ and the ‘Pan-Ukrainian movement of Soviet Officers’.
The situation in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense and mainly unchanged compared to the previous reports.
On the evening of 20 June, the SMM held a meeting with Volodymyr Pavlenko, Sloviansk’s ‘mayor’. He informed the SMM of a possible ecological catastrophe caused by the collapse of the sewage system in Sloviansk. According to the ‘mayor’, the collapse has resulted in 10,000 litres of untreated sewage pouring daily into the Sukhyi Torets river, which flows into the Siverskyi Donetsk and then the Don rivers. Pavlenko added that the risk potentially affects both Ukraine and Russia, and the sewage treatment pumps are not operational because the electrical transmission lines to both Sloviansk and the sewage treatment plant have been damaged.
The local ceasefire to repair the pump stations’ water inlets for the Siverskyi Donetsk –Donbas Channel has not been respected, according to the ‘mayor’, Pavlenko. He also stated that there is an acute shortage of surgeons, trauma personnel and operating nurses.
On 21 June the SMM met Sergey Kavtaradze, aide to the ‘prime minister’ of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DPR), who said the DPR would reject the ceasefire as proposed by the President. The SMM interlocutors said that the main demands of the DPR are withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Donbas and recognition of the DPR. The SMM observed an ‘anti-war and anti-fascism’ rally, organized by the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers in Donetsk’s main square. Some of the demonstrators condemned the UN, PACE and the OSCE for ‘a lack of help’ to the DPR.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Odessa was calm.
In Kherson the SMM visited a checkpoint in Henichesk at the administrative boundary line (ABL) between the Kherson region and Crimea. The local deputy head of the Ukrainian border guard informed the SMM that there are 10-12 trains daily with full passenger carriages in both directions. They are making intense checks of males between the ages of 16-60.
The SMM visited the checkpoint at Chonhar, on the administrative boundary line between Crimea and the Kherson region. SMM was informed that traffic in both directions is presently about 1,500 vehicles with up to 5,000 to 6,000 persons per day. The SMM observed work to create permanent facilities for the Russian Federation’s border guard service, opposite the Ukrainian checkpoint. The Ukrainian commander of the checkpoint in Chonhar informed the SMM about unmanned aerial vehicles occasionally flying across the ABL.
In Chernivtsi the SMM observed on 21 and 22 June altogether six peaceful road protests in the vicinity of Chernivtsi and Khotyn – where locals erected makeshift barricades or walked on pedestrian crossings; they demonstrated against the conscription of soldiers into the Ukrainian army, which they claimed to have been forced. They demanded a rotation scheme for the deployed soldiers, better conditions in the army (the soldiers’ relatives informed that they did not always have access to drinking water), and more transparency and accuracy in information sharing about the recruitment. In Khotyn district the protests were observed by two to five police officers without interference.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv was calm.
In Kyiv the SMM monitored two rallies on 22 June. Approximately 30 opponents of Ukraine’s unity gathered at around 11.00 am near Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The demonstrators held anti-war posters and called for peace. The SMM observed another demonstration in front of the Lavra, with approximately 300 people, some of whom were affiliated to the ‘Right Sector’. There were approximately 200 anti-riot police officers, some of them on horseback. No incidents were reported. Later in the afternoon, the SMM was informed about disturbances in the same neighbourhood, when some participants of the second demonstration, after the protestors had dispersed, damaged a branch of the Russian-owned Sberbank.