Spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), 4 September 2014: The Situation in Mariupol
This report is for media and the general public.
The situation in Mariupol and the surrounding area raises concern due to increased military activity, primarily to the east of Mariupol city. Reportedly, heavy fighting in the area of Shyrokyne (24km east of Mariupol city) and Bezimenne (34km east of Mariupol city) is taking place. Local residents are nervous and fear that Mariupol may be attacked soon.
Ukrainian authorities informed the SMM early on 4 September that the situation in Mariupol was worsening by the hour and that there was a danger that irregular armed groups could move into the city tonight.
On 4 September the SMM visited the checkpoint (CP) in the eastern part of Mariupol city on the E58 road towards Novoazovsk. The SMM noticed approximately 16 units of military hardware there (eight trucks and eight armoured personnel carriers) leaving the CP and moving in the direction of the city. The SMM observed 100-150 Ukrainian forces, possibly from the National Guard. The governor of Donetsk, Serhiy Taruta, was also present at the CP and gave a press conference.
Shelling began at 12:40 on 4 September in the area of Shyrokyne and Bezimenne. The SMM was informed by local inhabitants that they heard 50-60 explosions and that at 17:15 four explosions were heard from the direction of Shyrokyne. In Berdyansk village the SMM was told by local inhabitants that Shyrokyne was shelled and that there had been casualties. In Shyrokyne the SMM saw at the entrance of the village burning fields on both sides of the road. Local inhabitants told the SMM that fighting between Ukrainian army and irregular armed groups had been ongoing during the entire day. The electric power station in Shyrokyne was destroyed and subsequently the village was left without electricity. It appeared that neither Ukrainian army nor irregular armed groups were in control of the village. On the way out of Shyrokyne the SMM could hear five to six artillery shelling from the direction of Bezimenne towards Mariupol.
The SMM continues operating in Mariupol city.