Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 20 October 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and within this context the work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense.
In Kharkiv the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to the SMM that an attack with an RPG-22 grenade launcher against a Ukrainian Army (UA) infantry base located in Kharkiv city had occurred on 19 October at 18:40hrs. The SMM visited the site where the commander of the unit said that two unknown individuals had arrived on the spot in an unidentified vehicle and shot twice. No material damage or injuries were observed by the SMM.
At Kharkiv’s Liberty Square the SMM monitored the pro-unity “Open-Sky University” event titled “Defend your country”, the declared aim of which was to ‘boost the defence spirit’ of the country. The event, attended by 50 people, mostly young adults of both gender, was organized by the Kharkiv-1 volunteer battalion with the support of activists. An armoured personnel carrier and an Oplot tank were on display. Some of the organizers provided practical training to the public on weapons assembly, while the participants collected donations.
In Luhansk the SMM met commanders of two Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) sectors. They said that they were still waiting for instructions to deploy at patrol level. They had been told that they would be deployed in patrols of four, consisting of one Russian officer, one Ukrainian, one “representative” of “LPR” led by an OSCE monitor; and that they would travel in OSCE vehicles. The SMM explained that it could not transport anyone other than mission members in OSCE vehicles and that the SMM’s mandate did not foresee leadership of JCCC patrols. (See Daily Report 16 October.)
The situation was tense in Donetsk city. At 12:08hrs the SMM heard a loud explosion originating from the Kuibyshev district (7km west of Donetsk airport). The SMM was later informed by several interlocutors that this had been the explosion of a warehouse of the Donetsk state chemical plant which had allegedly been hit by artillery. At 16:30hrs, while attempting to visit the site, the SMM witnessed incoming mortar fire within 150 meters of its position and immediately returned to base.
In Novotroitskoe village (50km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM visited a kindergarten and two civilian houses which had been hit by mortar fire allegedly on 18 October. Based on the impacts, the SMM assessed that the shells were fired from south south-west of the village.
While visiting “DPR” controlled Dokuchaevsk (42km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed incoming artillery fire from approximately 1.5km from the SMM’s position at 13:00hrs, which was impacting the southern part of the village. The SMM soon after had to leave the site due to security concerns.
In Mariupol the SMM patrolled 10 checkpoints (CPs) to the north, north-east and east of Mariupol (CPs 7, 8, 9, 9A, 10, 12, 13, 13A, 14 and 15) and observed the situation as calm. The commanders of CPs 7, 8, 9A, 10, 13 and 15 reported having observed unknown UAVs flying above their positions during the night between 19 and 20 October. The SMM observed reduced traffic flows through all CPs.
The SMM met members of the JCCC in the HQ in Debaltseve (100km south-east of Kramatorsk), including representatives of Ukraine and Russia, as well as “representatives” of the “DPR” and “LPR”. JCCC members reported 75 allegations of ceasefire violations in the whole sector, 15 of which they had been able to confirm. According to all representatives present, “DPR” and “LPR” had been responsible for two of these and Ukrainian Armed Forces for 13. They said that there had been increased numbers of unmanned aerial vehicles sighted in the area around Mariupol. The SMM and JCCC members heard outgoing artillery during their meeting.
At 12:00hrs, at a Ukrainian Army checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Debaltseve, the SMM observed indirect outgoing artillery fire towards the south. The artillery battery was located approximately 50 meters from civilian buildings and a number of civilians approached the SMM to express their concerns that this positioning put them at risk of being caught incounter battery fire.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson was calm.
In Odessa the SMM monitored the response to a call by activists in social media to appear outside the Main Investigative Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and support the local head of the Right Sector, a political party standing for elections, who was reportedly summoned for questioning at 14:00hrs. There were approximately 20 supporters from the Right Sector, around half of them women, about 10 police officers and 5 journalists. At 16:00hrs the local head of the Right Sector appeared and stated to the SMM that he was called as a witness in connection with the beating of member of Parliament Nestor Shufrych on 30 September (see Daily Report 1 October).
The SMM met the transport police of Chernivtsi to follow up the false bomb threat at the railway station (see Daily Report 19 October). The police stated that the hoax call on 17 October was identified as originating from a “DPR” controlled area and was followed by a second call to Rivne (324km north of Chernivtsi) police station two minutes later which originated from the same area.
At the town hall square of Ivano-Frankivsk the SMM monitored a gathering of 22 Right Sector members dressed in camouflage uniforms, marking their departure to the east with a ceremony. Concurrently a number of volunteer doctors offered training to passers-by in first aid and emergency response.
In Lviv the situation remained calm.
In Kyiv the SMM observed a substantial Ukrainian law enforcement deployment in front of the Ukrainian Parliament from 11:30hrs to 14:00hrs with several hundred police officers and Ukrainian National Guard forming three lines of security cordon around the Parliament and a few hundred police officers in stand-by in the surrounding streets. The SMM observed around fifty Kyiv-1, Donbas and Azov volunteer battalion members peacefully standing in the park in front of the Parliament. Both police and battalion members were wearing full tactical gear. In addition, a small group of independent protesters peacefully gathered in front of the Parliament from 11:30hrs to 13:00hrs and expressed their concern regarding the policies of the presidential administration on political prisoners. The protest ended peacefully. The police stated to the SMM that the law enforcement presence was due to expected possible provocations.