Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 16 October 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM met with Ukrainian and Russian heads of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination in Debaltseve to discuss implementation of the Minsk Memorandum. The situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense, whereas the western part of the country remained calm.
On 16 October the SMM visited Shchastya (24km north of Luhansk) and heard outgoing mortar fire from an unknown location west of the town. Ukrainian soldiers at a checkpoint west of Shchastya town informed the SMM that this mortar fire had been heard constantly on 15 and 16 October.
The SMM spoke with members of the “Aidar” volunteer battalion, based in the power plant in Shchastya (see Daily Report of 4 September). They told the SMM that a power outage in the region on 15 October had nothing to do with military activity, but was due to a technical failure. Members of the 24 battalion told the SMM that the shelling from “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) usually takes place during shift changes and that four civilian workers had been wounded during the time the battalion was deployed in the plant.
The mayor of Popasna (85km north-west of Luhansk), which is controlled by Ukrainian forces, informed the SMM that the town has undertaken repair work in preparation for winter. According to the interlocutor the gas and water supply in the town has been re-established and a commission has been formed to assess damage caused to housing due to shelling. The town only has funds (mainly from charitable donations) to repair windows and roofs. Of the 200 houses and 30 apartments damaged in Popasna, about half have been repaired, the interlocutor said.
On 14 October, in Debaltseve (72km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM met Lieutenants General Yuryi Dumanskyi and Aleksandr Lentsov, the Ukrainian and Russian heads of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The generals said that their contingents had been deployed under Article 8 of the Minsk Memorandum, which had referred to deployment of an OSCE mission. The SMM explained that only the OSCE PC could deploy field missions, as it had done in the case of the SMM. The SMM’s presence in the Security Zone had been further increased following signature of the Minsk Memorandum, and its monitors were present there and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine. The SMM also explained that monitors could not be integrated into the JCCC itself, which was a bilateral initiative, but assured the sides that the SMM would continue to assign personnel to the JCCC HQ in Debaltseve and to its teams in each of the JCCC’s four sectors. These personnel would monitor and report on the work of the JCCC, and on compliance with the Minsk Memorandum; and facilitate dialogue between members of the JCCC at HQ and sector level, as necessary.
In the city of Donetsk and its surroundings, the overall security situation was volatile. On 16 October at 13:40 the SMM heard loud explosions consistent with artillery or mortar rounds from an unspecified close distance to the west of the SMM location. At 16:23 the SMM heard a series of loud explosions (more than 10), consistent with incoming artillery or mortar rounds in the northern outskirts of the city. At 17:00hrs the SMM heard a series of loud explosions consistent with outgoing artillery or mortar rounds at an unspecified close distance to the west of the SMM location.
In Mariupol the security situation remained tense. The SMM did a follow-up visit to the site of the shelling in the village of Sartana on 14 October (see Spot Report 15 October). The site was covered with flowers and tributes. On 15 October 2014 in the evening, the SMM observed a public rally in Mariupol to support the people of Sartana following the shelling incident. The rally in Mariupol was called by the mayor in order to show solidarity with the people of Sartana. Opening the meeting with a speech, the mayor promised support to the people of Sartana, including the transfer of some casualties to Kyiv for further treatment. The crowd was observed by approximately 20 police officers. No incidents were reported.
The situation in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson remained calm.
In Odesa the SMM monitored a rally of activists of Ukraine’s unity in support of Vyacheslav Babeyko, accused of hooliganism in connection with beating up a member of parliament in front of the Odesa Regional Administration building on 30 September. The SMM saw at the Regional Investigation Department building about 40 police officers and about 15 activists. At the District Court, when the hearing of Babeyko started, a crowd of about 30 Maidan and “Right Sector” activists were present –both women and men. No security incidents were reported.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv remained calm.