Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 11 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). Very few incidents involving the use of weapons were reported to or witnessed by the SMM.
In Pavlopil (80 km south of Donetsk), local people told the SMM that there had been no fighting in the area for the previous two days. The SMM was forced to leave the town, having been ordered to do so by two armed men affiliated with the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”).
At the headquarters of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in government-controlled Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk) officers of the General Staffs of Ukraine and Russia told the SMM that they had not received reports of any major incidents in the 24 hours up to 10:00 hrs on 11 December. They said, however, that 15 incidents involving small arms and light weapons in or near Sokilniky (44 km north-west of Luhansk), Shchastya (23 km north of Luhansk), Smile (45 km north-west of Luhansk) and Veselaya Hora (20 km north of Luhansk) had been reported by Ukrainian Armed Forces, the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) and the “DPR”. The SMM did not witness firing of any kind during its visit. The chief of staff of the Ukrainian side of the JCCC said that, on 11 December, Ukrainian officers had deployed to the JCCC’s new co-ordination groups in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk and “LPR”-controlled Luhansk, which he said were now fully operational.
In government-controlled Starobilsk (90 km north of Luhansk), Ukrainian and Russian officers of the JCCC told the SMM that they would start patrolling as soon as they received armoured vehicles. They said that they understood the role of the SMM to be one that included monitoring the activities of the JCCC. Ukrainian and Russian officers told the SMM that they were in possession of passes allowing them to pass through Ukrainian military checkpoints; the Ukrainian officers had been issued with weapons for their personal security but the Russian officers have still not received personal protective equipment.
A group of 15 local people, mostly women, told the SMM in Debaltseve that heating their homes was a major problem, given that they relied on limited coal supplies, in the absence of gas, and that many window panes had been shattered due to repeated shelling. They also said food shortages and high food prices – exacerbated by corruption at unspecified checkpoints – were a problem. They also cited unemployment, saying the railway company – once a major employer in the city – had ceased operations at the onset of the conflict.
In the north-west of “DPR”-controlled Donetsk – some 300 metres from the Ukrainian military positions at the airport – a “DPR” checkpoint commander told the SMM that fighting had greatly subsided over the previous 48 hours, with only small arms fire in the mornings and evenings. At 13:15 hrs, the SMM heard four separate bursts of high calibre small arms fire, assessed to have originated from around the airport.
Eight kilometres east of Donetsk, the SMM observed 11 unmarked Kamaz trucks covered with canvas, towing three 120 mm mortars, moving west.
Two residents separately told the SMM in government-controlled Shchastya (23 km north of Luhansk) that there had been some shelling directed at the town on 10 December.
In government-controlled Muratove (66 km north-west of Luhansk), a Ukrainian military checkpoint commander told the SMM that two Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, and one injured, by a sniper on 10 December in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (40 km north-west of Luhansk).
A Ukrainian military checkpoint commander near government-controlled Lysychansk (90 km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that there had been no incidents in the previous 24 hours.
In government-controlled Toshkivka (70 km north-west of Luhansk), eight women and a man told the SMM that there had been no fighting since 9 December, although they described the two days prior to then as a period of intense fighting.
The SMM noted a stable situation in “LPR”-controlled Krasnodon (49 km south-east of Luhansk). The SMM did, however, on the way there observe eight military trucks, some without number plates, travelling towards Luhansk.
The SMM observed “patriotic classes’ – covering topics such as First Aid, weapons safety, and the assembly and disassembly of weapons – being given to 100 male students of the 10th and 11th grades in Dnipropetrovsk.
In Gulyanka (170 km north-west of Odesa), close to the Transdniestrian segment of the Ukrainian/Moldovan border, residents – many of them of Moldovan ethnic origin and with relatives in Moldova – told the SMM on 10 December that the situation remained calm on both sides of the border. A teacher in the town, however, said power cuts, which began earlier this month, and steep price hikes posed problems.
The situation remained calm in Kharkiv, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.