Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 8 October 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol/Memorandum. In Kyiv representatives of the Central Election Commission addressed some of the challenges that IDPs could face during the upcoming elections.
At a checkpoint controlled by “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) close to Debaltseve (80km east of Luhansk) the SMM spoke with a local Cossack commander. He informed the SMM that there were three sets of armed groups operating in the area of Fashivka (10km south-west of Debaltseve): The Cossacks led by Ataman Kozitsin; the “LPR”; and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). Each has its own chain of command and their respective area around Fashivka, which they control.
The SMM went to the Donetsk city morgue and spoke to the director of the forensic expertise of corpses’ department. He said 1,498 people, including 21 children, had been killed in the entire region of Donetsk from 13 March 2014 to 8 October 2014. According to the director there are 60 bodies in the basement of the morgue, 20 of which have not been identified. The procedure in such cases is that unidentified bodies are kept for a maximum of ten days in the morgue after which authorities examine bodies, document any special marks, and bury the body in a listed location. The SMM saw several bodies waiting for examination and observed that the overall process was handled appropriately and that all data was stored in a database.
In Mariupol the SMM met with a Ukrainian representative of a Joint Center for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), who gave a briefing on the deployment and functioning of the JCCC in the area. On 8 October the SMM monitored a press conference organized by the JCCC in Mariupol. The JCCC consists of Ukrainian and Russian military officers, though at the press conference it was only represented by two Ukrainian senior officers, who informed the journalists about their duties and work.
The SMM travelled to Debaltseve via Sloviansk junction along the E40/M03 road, north-west of Debaltseve town. Intermittently, the SMM saw five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and one fuel truck of the Ukrainian army all of which were travelling in the opposite direction. Around 20km before reaching Debaltseve, the SMM overtook another three military vehicles, including one truck carrying a multiple-rocket launcher. On arrival at Debaltseve, in the north-western outskirts of the city centre, the SMM observed military equipment in a nearby field similar to a BM-21 (Grad) MRLS. Around 70km north-west of Debaltseve, on the road between Artemivsk and Konstantinovka, the SMM observed a new checkpoint of the Ukrainian Army.
In Artemivsk (approximately 50km south-east of Kramatorsk) the acting head of the local hospital informed the SMM that the hospital was running short of medical supplies. The hospital is heated through a dedicated gas supply network and the acting head did not foresee any cuts in gas supply during winter. If the gas supply is totally cut, the hospital does not have other ways to secure heating, he stated.
The situation remained calm in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv.
In Kyiv the SMM attended a press conference about Internally displaced People’s (IDPs) rights and possible problems they could face during the upcoming elections. According to the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, IDPs from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, in order to exercise their right to vote in parliamentary elections, need to register with their passport (or temporary ID) in the registration outlets of the Central Election Commission and submit an application form before 20 October. After receiving a certificate they will be placed on the voters list and able to cast their votes in the polling station at their current place of residence. According to the Head of the Parliamentarian Committee on the rights of veterans, retired and disabled persons, there are more than 6,000 people who applied so far in the framework of this special procedure.