Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 3 November 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 the activities of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination. An SMM UAV was subject to military-grade GPS jamming.
The SMM visited Valki (56km W of Kharkiv) where the chief of police of Valkivskyi and Kolomasky districts stated that in Hontiv Yar (51km W of Kharkiv) a statue of Lenin had been destroyed and removed on 30 October. The case was initially treated as hooliganism but later registered as damage to public property.
The SMM witnessed heavy artillery shelling between 10:15hrs and 10:45hrs incoming in the area of the Ukrainian Army (UA) checkpoints (CPs) 29 and 31 near Nyzhnie (61km W of Luhansk). Approximately 5km from the impact zone, the SMM assessed the type of artillery as 122mm and 152mm with approximately 50 rounds observed. The SMM spoke to the commander of CP 29 who reported that his CP had come under attack reportedly from a “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) position; no casualties were reported. The SMM was unable to contact CP 31 located close to Frunze (46km W of Luhansk). At 11:10hrs the SMM left the spot towards Muratove (13km E of Nyzhnie) where it observed a Ukrainian Army GRAD system (BM21) returning fire against “LPR” positions.
The SMM visited the headquarters of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in Debaltseve (73km NE of Donetsk). The Ukrainian JCCC representative and the Russian Federation JCCC representative presented different numbers of alleged violations of the Minsk Memorandum. The SMM visited the JCCC in Olenivka (25km SW of Donetsk) where the staff stated that they were not fully operational due to the lack of equipment and that they had not registered any new incidents in the previous 48 hours. As the SMM was leaving, it heard six rounds of outgoing small-arms shots about 250m SW of its position. The SMM met the JCCC representatives in Shakhtarsk (77km E of Donetsk) who also reported that the lack of necessary equipment prevented the JCCC from becoming fully operational.
The SMM visited the Ukrainian checkpoint at Maiorsk (50km SE of Kramatorsk), where the commander informed the SMM that there had been 82mm mortar and tank fire on 1 November at 02:00hrs from an unknown distance to the south of the CP. He stated that the shells exploded in the CP’s yard injuring two soldiers, one of whom died later in hospital. The SMM could not verify this. He also informed that an unspecified number of tanks shooting from approximately 8km distance to the south reportedly destroyed water infrastructure in Maiorsk town. Towards the end of the meeting the SMM heard several explosions, according to the CP commander 400-500 meters west of the CP, followed by small arms fire. The Ukrainian Army responded with small arms fire and grenade launcher.
In Mariupol, the SMM visited the villages of Vynohradne, Sartana and Talakivka to the east and northeast of the city. All villages were observed as calm. In Talakivka, the head of the council informed the SMM that the village had sustained damages to private residences and public infrastructure as a result of the recent shelling of the nearby Ukrainian Army position. In Yalta the municipal council chairman informed the SMM that the council had suspended school classes for two weeks due to lack of funding for heating and that substantial problems were expected in the winter.
At 13.01hrs and again at 13.19hrs the SMM UAV was subjected to serious electronic jamming while flying over “DPR”-controlled Chermalyk (40km NE of Mariupol). Initial analysis of the SMM UAV flight log data indicated that the SMM UAV was subjected to military-grade GPS jamming. The Ukrainian Air Operations Liaison Officer to the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (“ATO”) headquarters in Sector 'M', who was immediately contacted by the SMM UAV Team, told the SMM at 13.24hrs that there was no jamming by the Ukrainian forces. The SMM UAV left the area and landed safely. This is the third serious interference with the movement of the SMM UAV and is an impediment to the fulfilment of the Mission's mandate.
The SMM met the chief of police of Tomakivka (90 km SE of Dnipropetrovsk), who stated to the SMM that since the onset of the conflict in the east the town has been quiet, no serious incidents have been recorded and there have been no checkpoints. The police representatives informed the SMM that there were approximately 50 IDPs from Donetsk in Tomakivka who were all accommodated privately, including with relatives.
The situation in Kherson was calm.
The SMM visited the statue of Catherine the Great in Odesa, which had been vandalised with green paint. The timing of the vandalism is particularly significant because of a planned march from Cathedral Square to the statue on 4 November and the political significance that the statue has come to convey within the city.
The SMM conducted patrols west and northeast of Odesa city. The CPs in Mirne (20km W of Odesa) and Mayaki (40km W of Odesa) have been dismantled. The CP at Dachne (20 km N of Odesa) was still operational and the overall situation in the vicinity of the CP has returned to normal following the 25 September grenade attack on the CP.
The SMM met the acting commander of the Chernivtsi border guard unit who said that two-thirds of the guards have returned from the military operations in the east, and that only one unit was still operating there. Additionally, the Chernivtsi border guards have recruited about 400 persons including female staff between August and September, but they were still in need of additional staff in order to maintain operational effectiveness due to continuous rotation to the east.
The Ivano-Frankivsk branch of the “Right Sector” staged a protest of around forty mostly male participants in front of the regional prosecutor’s office. The protestors demanded the resignation of the prosecutor of Horodenka district whom they accused of bribery and abuse of power under the presidency of former President Yanukovich. A representative of the “Right Sector” stated to the SMM that the protest had initially been planned to be held by the Horodenka branch but that their representatives had been threatened and a decision was made to move the protest to the regional level. Police was present and the protest ended peacefully.
The situation in Lviv and Kyiv was calm.