Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 2 October 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
In the city of Donetsk and its surroundings, the overall security situation is deteriorating. An ICRC staff member was killed as a result of heavy shelling.
In Kharkiv the SMM observed the Regional Council session, which was opened to the public and included four members of Parliament. The Council reversed its decision of 25 September rejecting border defence and facility improvement projects and has now committed financial support for these projects.
The SMM met Kharkiv Roma NGO “Chachimo”, which stated there had been influx of Roma IDPs in the region since the start of the fighting in the east. To date, the organization has assisted 286 such IDPs from 106 families who fled Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, Donetsk and Luhansk.
In Luhansk the SMM visited the villages of Bilokurakina, Popasna (80km west of Luhansk), Shchastie (24km north of Luhansk), Stanichno Luhansk (26km north-east of Luhansk), Novoaidar (58km north-west of Luhansk), and Trokhizbenka (41km north-west of Luhansk).
At 10:45hrs the SMM heard incoming sniper shots from the area on the ridge above Shchastya (25km north of Luhansk) which lasted for two minutes. At 15:00hrs the SMM heard outgoing heavy machine gun fire from the direction of Shchastya which lasted for two minutes.
The SMM met local officials and residents in Popasna, who reported that the town had been shelled on 30 September at about 10:00hrs, leaving one person dead and three injured. They said that there had been 18-19 impacts of what they believed were GRAD rockets, originating from south-east of Popasna. The SMM observed several buildings including a kindergarten and the local ambulance station affected by the shelling.
In Donetsk heavy shelling occurred intermittently during the day and until dusk in the northern part of the city. At approximately 18:00hrs, the SMM heard a quick succession of five incoming rounds, which caused unusually powerful explosions. An international staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) died during the shelling (see SMM Spot Report 3 October). The SMM facilitated the evacuation of the deceased by ambulance.
The SMM observed an unusually high level of military activity in Kurahovo (50km west of Donetsk).
While returning from patrol at the Marynskiy district in Krasnogorivka (25km west of Donetsk), the SMM was refused access to the city by the Ukrainian Army checkpoint personnel at the entrance of Marinka (35km south-west of Donetsk); the SMM had to take an alternative route.
In the city of Mariupol, the overall situation was generally calm during the day, but most CPs were closed for civilian traffic.
Upon arriving at the “Joint Coordination Center for Ceasefire Monitoring” in Soledar, the SMM noticed that one military officer from the Russian Federation was wearing an OSCE patch on his uniform as well as carrying an ID card with the OSCE logo. The SMM made the necessary demarches in response to this unauthorized use of OSCE insignia.
At Maiorsk (53km south-east of Kramatorsk) the SMM observed a civilian car bearing a Ukrainian and a Right Sector flag and carrying two uniformed men. The vehicle bore fresh bullet holes and the occupants informed the SMM that they had sustained sniper fire after passing the previous checkpoint on the road from Maiorsk to Dzerzhinsk (40km south-west of Kramatorsk). In Dzerzhinsk the SMM observed long queues outside the banks of the town; reportedly, pension payments for the residents of Gorlivka have recently been transferred to Dzerzhinsk.
In Dnipropetrovsk the situation was calm.
In Kherson the SMM was pulled over by the traffic police on Highway M14/E18 after passing the last block post before entering the city of Mykolaiev (3km south of Mykolaiev). The commander of the nearby block post approached the vehicle and asked the SMM team to exit the vehicle and put their hands on the hood. A traffic police officer then took charge of the situation and the SMM team was allowed to leave.
The SMM visited the Military Hospital in Mykolaiev, which is reportedly having difficulties accommodating the rising number of wounded soldiers in fighting in the east. As of 1 November 2014, the hospital will increase its capacity from 100 to 200 beds and its staff from 103 to 270.
In Odessa, the SMM attended a press conference by Euromaidan activists where the participants read and signed a “Declaration on Events in Odessa of 30 October” (see SMM Daily Reports 1 and 2 October) which reiterates the Maidan objectives but calls for the non-use of violence. The press conference was a response by the more moderate wing of Euromaidan activists to the beating up of the former minister of emergency and member of Parliament.
The SMM visited Trostyanets (90km north-west of Odessa), where on 9 September it had observed an Infantry Trench System between the villages of Maloploske and Orel. Local interlocutors explained that this had previously raised concerns in the population who feared it was a sign of a potential conflict with Transdniestria. However, it was later clarified that these were part of a training exercise by the territorial defence battalion.
In Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk the situation was calm.
In Lviv the SMM was informed by the city police that they had received an anonymous call at 16:50hrs about a bomb in the Magnus shopping centre which turned out to be false.
The SMM in Kyiv monitored a picket of approximately 120 people in front of the Council of Ministers’ building, which was organized by the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine. The attendees, mostly elder men, were expressing their dissatisfaction with the current developments in the country and in particular unpaid salaries of miners. The police was present and the protest ended peacefully.