Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 21 November 2014
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 (JCCC). Events marking the first anniversary of Maidan were held across the country and were still ongoing at the time of reporting.
Following the explosion in Trinkler Street in Kharkiv city on 20 November (see Daily Report 21 November) the SMM spoke to a local police officer who stated that this is the second incident to take place in the same area of the city (see Daily Report 11 November) and that, in his assessment, these events aim at destabilizing the situation in the city. The interlocutor added that an investigation has started on charges of “destruction of property”, and that suspects connected to these incidents have already been identified.
On 21 November in Luhansk the SMM met the Director of the Department of State Penitentiary Service of the Luhansk region. The interlocutor stated that he will try to evacuate all prisoners (approximately 7000) and correctional service staff (around 2000 including 1000 small arms) to Government-controlled territory by 1 December 2014. The interlocutor asked the SMM to facilitate dialogue with “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The “LPR” Deputy “Minister of Interior” informed the SMM that “LPR” is not in favour of a transfer. In a meeting in Kyiv on 22 November the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine informed the SMM about their preparations to relocate correctional facilities from territories not under Government control to other regions. The State Penitentiary Service representatives brought up that the main reasons for relocation are humanitarian: problems with electricity and heating, increasing difficulties of food supply as well as shelling in the vicinity of some correctional facilities.
Whilst stationary in the proximity of Mykhailivka (45km east of Luhansk) the SMM heard continuous mortar shelling, concentrated in an area in the direction of Stanytsia Luhanska (20km north of Luhansk). The SMM could not determine whether they were outgoing or impacting shells. The SMM observed 4 ambulances driving at high speed from the direction of Petrivka (32km north of Luhansk) towards Novoaidar (60km north of Luhansk).
The SMM visited the JCCC HQ in Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk) where officers of the General Staffs of Ukraine (GSU) and Russia were working with members of the “DPR” and “LPR”. The ranking officers of the General Staffs said that they were working on a revised version of the plan on which they had agreed on 13 November. (See Daily Report 14 November.) The ranking officer of the GSU said that he could not sign the revised version due to a lack of mutual understanding regarding the eventual line of contact, which needed to be resolved at the political level.
The SMM Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, visited the town of Kramatorsk (80km north of Donetsk) where he met the deputy Governor, and discussed the current situation in the Donetsk region.
In Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa the situation remained calm.
In Kherson the SMM observed a rally in commemoration of the Maidan anniversary. Around 500 people, mostly young men, gathered on Freedom square, where around 100 police officers were also visible. The event started with a theatre performance involving traditional folklore accompanied by patriotic symbols. The event ended peacefully.
In Chernivtsi the SMM met with the commander of the Chernivtsi volunteer battalion, who said after having served in the “ATO” with the “Luhansk” volunteer battalion, he returned to Chernivtsi, to command a volunteer battalion that would represent the Bukovyna region. He said that approximately 38 persons, including three women, have chosen to join the battalion and would be deployed to the east within a few days.
On 21 November the SMM observed a student march, which gathered around 200 persons, both men and women, moving from Chernivtsi University to the city’s central square. There, in the afternoon, about 400 persons gathered to commemorate the anniversary of Maidan.
In Ivano-Frankivsk on 20 November the SMM observed a memorial ceremony in remembrance to those who died during the Famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933 (Golodomor), organized by the NGO “Patriots of Ukraine”. Approximately 100 participants, mostly young men and women, gathered for the event in the city centre. Participants carried – as a symbol of the food – bread, two men carried the flags of the Azov-battalion. The ceremony lasted for approximately 1 hour and ended peacefully.
On 21 November the SMM observed an event marking the beginning of the Maidan Anniversary celebration, which attracted around 1.500 participants in Ivano-Frankivsk city centre.
Representatives of the Regional Department for Social Protection in Lviv informed the SMM that the total number of registered IDPs in the Lviv region was 8803 (5928 adults and 2875 children). Between 14-20 November the office registered 221 IDPs, out of which 190 came from the east of Ukraine and 31 from Crimea.
Near the Taras Shevchenko monument in Lviv the SMM observed the opening ceremony of the Maidan Anniversary celebration.
In Kyiv the SMM monitored Saint-Michael and Maidan Squares where activists gathered to mark the anniversary of Maidan. On Saint-Michael Square the SMM observed around 200 individuals wearing various military fatigues. Within a few hours, the number reached 400 to 500 individuals, mainly men. The SMM noticed that the uniformed individuals were wearing various badges and flags belonging to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs volunteer battalions, Maidan independent group “Sotnias”, political parties and NGOs. Some 100 personnel from Kyiv-1 volunteer battalion (two separate groups of 50 officers), in charge of maintaining security during the event, were observed standing around the square. At around 15:00hrs the crowd moved towards Kyiv city centre and Maidan Square which, by 17:00hrs, had gathered up to 800 participants, both men and women.