Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 9 December 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 work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions the SMM witnessed only one incident involving the use of weapons.
The SMM visited the site of an explosion at 52 Artyem Street in Kharkiv. An explosive device was used against the pedestal that formerly held a statue honouring the Ukrainian Insurgent Army of World War II. The SMM observed that the pedestal was fully destroyed.
The SMM did not witness any use of weapons in Luhansk region. In Luhansk city, a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate explained to the SMM that the congregation comprised approximately 175 people and that, while the freedom of worship was not restricted, services were not conducted publicly due to security concerns.
The SMM continued to monitor the activity of the JCCC. In the headquarters in Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk), the head of the Ukrainian side of the JCCC, Lt Gen Volodymyr Askarov, and the head of the Russian Representation to south-east Ukraine, Lt Gen Aleksandr Lentsov, were overseeing the work of officers of the Ukrainian and Russian General Staffs, and members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”), instructing them to follow up on reported ceasefire violations. Ukrainian and Russian officers received eight reports of ceasefire violations between 9:00 hrs and 11:00 hrs.
The Ukrainian and Russian chiefs of staff said that the new JCCC offices in Luhansk and Donetsk cities were fully operational and that, following oral assurances of their security from members of the “LPR” and “DPR”, Ukrainian officers had joined Russian officers there.
In Svitlodarsk (55km north-east of Donetsk) and Soledar (77 km north of Donetsk), Ukrainian and Russian officers spoke to the SMM about the prospects for a sustainable ceasefire. The officers said they hoped that a 48-hour ceasefire would be achieved.
The SMM did not hear or witness any instances of shelling in Donetsk city on 9 December. It patrolled Donetsk city to follow up reports of shelling on 8 December, and observed substantial material damage consistent with the reports. The SMM assessed that a civilian apartment complex located at 209 Kuybishev Street was hit by two Grad rockets and sustained extensive structural damage. At 51-53 Slovatskaya Street another apartment complex sustained heavy damage and most of its windows were shattered. There were craters on both sides of the building, including one in the playground. Further down the street, a rocket’s remnants lay in the middle of the road near the Children’s Infectious Disease Clinic. The clinic itself suffered extensive damage from a Grad rocket that detonated four meters from its walls, shattering all windows on that side of the building as well as cracking walls inside the building. A nearby shop at 213 Kuybisheva Street was also destroyed. No injuries were reported. In all cases the residents informed the SMM that the shelling occurred on 8 December from 18:00 to 18:30.
The SMM also inspected the site of School 51 on Slovatskaya Street in Donetsk and observed two impacts craters of 1.8 and 1.7 metres, consistent with information from residents, according to whom the damage occurred on 30 November.
While in “DPR”-controlled Snezhne (70 km east of Donetsk), the SMM heard outgoing artillery fire from the west at 12:04 hrs and 12:25 hrs.
While on its way to Uspenka (98 km east of Donestk), the SMM observed 26 unmarked green military trucks 30 km south-east of Donetsk moving towards the north-west, in the direction of the city of Donetsk. The convoy comprised 23 Ural trucks, one Kamaz-style truck; one Zil-style vehicle; one green Toyota Land Cruiser and one fuel tanker.
At 09:15 hrs, a Ukrainian serviceman, part of a Ukrainian motorized convoy of civilian and military vehicles, fired shots into the air when a SMM vehicle - part of a two-vehicle patrol - simultaneously with other civilian vehicles attempted to overtake the convoy. The SMM reduced speed and kept a safe distance. The incident happened en route to Debaltseve, approximately 10 km north of Artemivsk.
With the assistance of Explosive Ordnance Unit (EOD) experts from Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk, more than 16,000 units of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) have been disposed of over the last five months in the government-controlled northern part of the Donetsk region, according to a commander of the EOD Unit based in Slovyansk (100 km north of Donetsk).
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Odesa was calm.
The SMM met the head of the district administration of Rohatyn (56 km north of Ivano-Frankivsk) who said that a glass factory with 112 employees had had to lay off 55 employees in August as it could no longer sell to Russia, which had been its main market. The company was not able to develop alternative markets. Production was at a halt and the 57 remaining employees oversaw the facility and assets.
The SMM observed a protest of Svoboda party activists against Ekspres newspaper in Lviv. Some 30 protestors, mostly men of mixed age, protested against the publication of material highlighting alleged ties between their party leader and criminal elements. They demanded that the court order a retraction. The police monitored the event which ended peacefully.
The regional prosecutor for Vinnytsya (300 km north of Chernivtsi) informed the SMM that there is an ongoing investigation into the events of 6 December, when a crowd of 600 protestors stormed the regional administration to stop an extraordinary council meeting, which was scheduled to vote on the dismissal of the head of the regional council (see SMM Daily Report 8 December). On 8 December, a planned news conference by the head of the regional council was cut short due to a bomb threat on its premises. No explosives were found.
In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a press conference on the establishment by the Ministry of Defence of a Joint Co-ordination Centre on issues related to hostages. As of 8 December, according to the Ministry of Defence, 684 Ukrainian service personnel and volunteers are being detained in the east.