Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 13 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. The Ukrainian and Russian heads of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) informed the SMM of an agreed draft schedule for gradual disengagement of forces along the line of contact.
In Kharkiv the SMM met with Dzerjinskiy district police officers to follow up on the explosion at the “Stena Rock Club” (see Daily Report 11 November). The interlocutors stated that the explosive substance is still to be determined but is reported to be the equivalent of 1 kilogram of TNT and that the investigation had been taken over by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
The SMM met the deputy commander of the Border Service in Goptivka border crossing point (BCP) at the state border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation (45km N of Kharkiv) who assessed the general situation at the border as calm. The interlocutor stated that around 3,000-3,500 people cross the border on a daily basis from Ukraine to the Russian Federation and roughly half that number passes in the other direction. The interlocutor also said that Ukrainian border guards meet their Russian colleagues at the border and make contact with them twice a day, however, since May, there are no joint Ukrainian/Russian border guard patrols, as was the practice in the past.
On 13 November in Luhansk city the SMM observed five unarmed men in camouflage, with Russian Federation flag patches and other badges on their uniforms. The SMM was unable to ascertain the affiliation of these men. The SMM also observed one stationary BTR-80 and two military trucks without number plates.
On 13 November the SMM met with the deputy commander of the “Batman” battalion, affiliated to the “Luhansk People's Republic (LPR)” and located in the “East Ukrainian National University” in Luhansk city. The campus is controlled by the “Batman” battalion and heavily fortified. The female deputy commander informed the SMM that currently members of the battalion are engaged in the reconstruction of the city together with the “LPR”. The interlocutor also said that the battalion had established its own divisional hospital, which at first treated mainly wounded soldiers, underlining that it would provide their services to anyone seeking assistance.
On 13 November the SMM visited the military hospital, which is Luhansk’s only military hospital, established on the ground floor of the former University’s science library. The SMM spoke to a female doctor who stated that she had set up the medical facilities herself, which included a triage room, a sterilizing room, a combination of a bomb shelter and escape route, an operating room and three recovery rooms, one of which is secured for the treatment of soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces.
At a number of checkpoints (CPs) around Mariupol, the SMM observed that traffic was flowing normally, and the CP commanders reported the situation as calm. The SMM observed that the outer barriers of several CPs had been moved forward approximately 50 meters on both sides of the CPs. The CP commanders informed the SMM that the ‘safety zone’ around the CPs had been expanded, after a car-bomb incident on 2 November at CP 14.
The SMM met the Ukrainian and Russian heads of the JCCC, who said that the two of them had agreed a draft schedule for gradual disengagement. The draft document, which they signed at the end of the meeting, proposed three phases: a ceasefire (two days); withdrawal of heavy weapons (five days); and disengagement of forces to the line of contact referred to in the Minsk Memorandum (21 days). Earlier that day they had started to discuss the plan with members of the “Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)”. The SMM encouraged the heads of the JCCC to jointly communicate their activities, plans and achievements to the general public.
The SMM accompanied a Dutch MH17 recovery team convoy from Donetsk westwards, towards territory under control of Ukrainian forces, passing through several “DPR”-controlled CPs. When stopping at the first Ukrainian CP, on the road leading to Kurakhove (50km W of Donetsk), three artillery shells impacted 400 meters north of the SMM position. The SMM could not ascertain the origin of the shelling.
The SMM visited the internally displaced person (IDP) co-ordinator in Orly (110km SE of Dnipropetrovsk), who stated that the local IDP transit point was not closed but became inactive in mid-October. The interlocutor stated that lack of jobs had caused many IDPs to return home, whilst another 57 IDPs managed to find private accommodation to live in. Consequently, the emergency services had removed beds from the transit point. The interlocutor said that the IDPs receive medical assistance free of charge at the regional hospital.
The SMM visited the CP Kalanchak (85km S of Kherson) and observed that the CP was moved 1km towards the administrative boundary line (ABL) with Crimea. The SMM noted a long queue of 120 trucks and 5 private cars waiting to cross the CP towards Crimea. The senior Border Guard Officer informed that the current security situation was stable and that the CP Kalanchak had been moved closer to the ABL on 9 November.
In Odessa the situation remained calm.
The Public Information Officer at Chernivtsi regional police department informed the SMM that the police have conducted an amnesty programme whereby individuals hand in firearms to the police without any repercussions or liability under the law. This year, over 450 firearms ranging from military style weapons along with hunting rifles and handguns were collected, she said. One individual brought in one anti-personnel mine. The interlocutor stated that the amnesty programme has been conducted several times due to the crisis in the east.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv remained calm.