Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 9 November 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with a focus on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. The situation in Donetsk remained tense. Two of SMM members were held for 2.5 hours at a Ukrainian checkpoint.
On 7 November the SMM observed approximately 25-30, mainly elderly people, both men and women, queuing outside the regional head office of the state bank “Oshchad Bank” in Luhansk. The SMM spoke with people standing in the queue, who said they were waiting to exchange their saving books for bankcards, so to receive their Ukrainian pensions in territory controlled by Ukrainian forces.
On 7 November a doctor of the Luhansk regional hospital told the SMM that the hospital now has around 1,000 staff, including doctors, nurses and other employees. Although this represents only about half of the pre-conflict number, the interlocutor stated that this is a significant improvement from the low point of 214 staff members in late August and early September. According to the doctor the majority of the casualties treated in this hospital were civilians.
On 9 November the SMM visited the Ukrainian checkpoint at Trokhizbenka (41 kilometres north-west of Luhansk) and was shown two (sub) munitions by Ukrainian soldiers, which were fired from what appeared to be cluster carrier rockets that were found in the gardens of houses in the village. The SMM could not ascertain when and from which direction the munition had been fired.
On 8 November in the city of Donetsk and in Makeevka (25 kilometres north-east of Donetsk city), in territory controlled by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”), the SMM observed convoys of heavy weapons and tanks (see Spot Report, 8 November). The following day the SMM observed two convoys of 17 trucks each, in the area of Sverdlove (15 kilometres east of Donetsk city) controlled by “DPR”. They included artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems. The convoys were moving west (see Spot Report, 9 November).
On 8 November, returning from a patrol to Kramatorsk, two SMM members were held at a Ukrainian checkpoint in Karlivka (38 kilometres north-west of Donetsk city). All their identification documents were taken by Ukrainian servicemen. According to the servicemen, the SMM monitors were supposed to show documentation which would allow them to pass the area where the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (“ATO”) is being conducted. After 2.5 hours both SMM members were allowed to leave the checkpoint and returned to base.
On 9 November the Ukrainian and Russian Federation representatives of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in Krasnogorovka (35 kilometres west of Donetsk) said that shelling of Donetsk and its suburbs took place on 8 November. The SMM informed the JCCC members about heavy artillery and tanks observed in the area of Karlivka. The SMM will continue to follow up with the JCCC.
On 9 November the SMM heard, while approaching the village of Chermalyk (72 kilometres south of Donetsk) both incoming and outgoing howitzer shelling, with approximately one minute between them, from 11:55 hrs to 12:02 hrs. The SMM met with the head of the village council in Chermalyk, who said that the situation in the village was deteriorating. According to him the administrative location of the village within “DPR”-controlled Telmanove (70 kilometres south-east of Donetsk) district resulted in the suspension of all public funding, including salaries and social services. Local residents informed the SMM that the heavy shelling on 8 November impacted nearby residences and a kindergarten, and caused minor injuries to two civilians. The SMM observed several craters consistent with mortar shelling at the sites indicated by the residents, but were unable to determine the direction from which the shells came.
On 8 November the SMM went to the village of Hranitne (57 kilometres south of Donetsk) where it heard tank shelling close to the village. The SMM observed several houses with sustained serious damage consistent with shelling, which residents said had been ongoing in recent days.
On 9 November the SMM monitored a public rally organized by the “Svoboda” party at Lenin Square in Mariupol. Approximately 400 people, both men and women of all ages, took part in the gathering. The mayor of Mariupol delivered a speech at the end of the event, in which he called on the citizens to support the Ukrainian military in protecting the city from “DPR” forces. The SMM observed approximately 15 uniformed police officers at the event.
In Ilovaysk (85 kilometres south-east of Donetsk) the SMM met with a “DPR” armed member who announced that the “DPR” is paying salaries and pensions to local residents. He claimed that the “DPR” holds 66 members from the Ukrainian Donbas battalion hostage and has mainly tasked them with the reconstruction of buildings. He said that there was a possibility that these individuals would be released by the end of the year.
The situation in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk was calm.
The SMM met a representative of Kherson city council responsible for internally displaced persons (IDPs) who said that the public kitchen in Kherson had not been operational for almost a month. The public kitchen was previously providing approximately 490 IDPs with warm meals on a daily basis. Due to Kherson city’s debt to the service provider, which amounts to 170,000 UAH (approximately 9,500 EUR), the public kitchen could not continue providing meals. Finally, some of the companies and organizations based in Kherson, which had provided IDPs with food and accommodation during the summer months, have not received compensation.
On 9 November in Odesa, at 14:25 hrs, the SMM observed approximately 70 to 80 people gathering at Kulikovo Pole square, the majority of whom were elderly men. The police presence in front of the Trade Union building was discreet, with ten riot police officers, and approximately five regular officers. Six smaller buses, carrying riot police officers, and a prisoner transport vehicle were parked to the rear of the Trade Union building. No major incidents were reported. When the SMM left the scene at 15:40 hrs, there were 30 to 40 people, mainly elderly men, still present at the spot.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv was calm.