Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 10 November 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, focusing on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. In Kharkiv the SMM followed up on reports of an explosion at a pub in the city centre.
In Kharkiv the SMM followed up on an incident at the “Stena Rock Club” in the city centre where on 9 November an explosion occurred at 22.25 hrs. Whilst visiting the scene the SMM spoke to representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who stated that a device disguised in a small box was used. The device had been placed in the back of the bar by the owner of the premises, who thought that a customer had left it accidentally. Representatives of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry told the SMM that the incident had been classified as a “terrorist act” and that an investigation was ongoing. The SMM observed explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officers at the scene collecting evidence. The explosion resulted in a number of injured people, though the official figure had not been announced by the close of this reporting period.
The SMM met the “acting mayor” of Luhansk City who stated that currently approximately 400 multi-storey buildings and 2,000 private houses need to be repaired in the city. The interlocutor informed the SMM that at present only social enterprises are entitled to free construction materials for repairs, which is part of the humanitarian aid delivered by the Russian Federation. The interlocutor added that the next convoy with construction material from the Russian Federation is scheduled to arrive next week.
On 9 November the SMM visited the village of Nyzhnya Vil'khova (33 km north-east of Luhansk), controlled by Ukrainian forces, and talked to local residents about the situation in the Stanytsia Luhanska area. A female shop employee stated that prior to the conflict the village shop had been supplied from Luhansk. Due to the presence of checkpoints on the way to Luhansk city, the shop owner now mostly purchased goods from the Kharkiv region and the additional transport cost had to be included into the selling price. However, the interlocutor added that residents themselves continued to travel to Luhansk for their personal shopping as everyday goods were less expensive in the so-called “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled territory. One female pensioner complained that broadcasts of her favourite Ukrainian radio station were no longer available. Instead, they could now only receive broadcasts from the Russian Federation and the “LPR”. Another local inhabitant told the SMM that, after a 3-month disruption, the tap water supply had been restored, which was a result of the restoration of the electricity grid in Stanytsia Luhanska.
The SMM visited the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) HQ in Debaltseve, (55 km north-east of Donetsk) where four Ukrainian and four Russian Federation officers were working with members of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “LPR”. The SMM discussed with them how to improve implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Memorandum.
When entering the “DPR”-controlled village of Kumachovo (77 km south-east of the city of Donetsk), the SMM observed that armed personnel were no longer present at the improvised checkpoints. In addition, the “Cossacks’ Union Unit”, affiliated to the “DPR”, and which was previously deployed in Kumachovo, was also no longer present there. No other illegally armed group has replaced the “Cossacks’ Union Unit”, the SMM observed. The SMM met with the “DPR”-appointed “mayor” of the village. When asked about the absence of armed groups in the village, the “mayor” declared that they had left 2 weeks ago, before the so-called “DPR elections” held on 2 November. Since then, only the “DPR police” patrolled the area once in a while.
The SMM met with a representative of the local administration and the head of the social protection department of Slovianka (123 km east of Dnipropetrovsk), who said that the transit points for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Slovianka and Novopidhorodne (139 km south-east of Dnipropetrovsk) had been closed. Their functions were taken over by the IDP transit point in Krasnoarmiisk, located in the Donetsk Region.
In Kherson and Odesa the situation remained calm.
The head of the Chernivtsi Regional Association of Polish Culture informed the SMM that the organization supports soldiers in the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (“ATO”) zone by collecting money for clothes, shoes, and military uniforms. The interlocutor said the association is planning to focus on the IDP situation and plans to provide support to them.
In Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv the situation remained calm.
In Kyiv the SMM visited the Ministry of Internal Affairs hospital where wounded and sick soldiers from the “ATO” are treated. At the time of reporting,, there were 13 “ATO” patients with injuries as well as patients that had become sick during the military operation. The director of the hospital stated that cases of serious injuries are transferred to the Central Military hospital. According to the interlocutor, wounded “ATO” personnel are initially treated at the field hospitals in the “ATO” zone, and they are then taken to hospitals in Dnipropetrovsk or Kharkiv, before being transferred to Kyiv.