Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) based on information received as of 12 December, 18:00 (Kyiv time)
This report is for media and the general public.
The provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum as well as the activities of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) remained at the focus of the SMM monitoring. The SMM saw damage at the Donetsk International Airport and monitored the rotation of Ukrainian army personnel based at the airport.
On 12 December at 15:00hrs, the SMM visited the remains of the Donetsk International Airport. The SMM saw a terminal which was completely destroyed. The SMM also saw many impact craters, large amounts of unexploded ordnance and the general debris of the destroyed airport infrastructure. However, due to the security situation, the SMM could not observe damage to the runway. The SMM further observed the rotation of Ukrainian army personnel deployed at Donetsk Airport. Forty-eight Ukrainian army personnel replaced 51 outgoing personnel, to whom members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) gave assurance of free and safe passage from the airport through "DPR"-controlled territory in the Kyivskyi district and over the "DPR"-controlled Zlitna Bridge (10km north-east of Donetsk).
At the border crossing point (BCP) between Ukraine and the Russian Federation near “DPR”-controlled Uspenka (70km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM saw 50 cargo-type trucks, 20 of which were fuel trucks, with the inscription “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation” accompanied by five civilian vehicles, including one medical ambulance, entering Ukraine. The SMM saw that the trucks had black registration plates with the label “RUS”. All truck drivers were wearing blue uniforms of the Ministry of Emergency of the Russian Federation. All vehicles had crossed the border by 09:00hrs. Ten trucks loaded with canned meat, canned fish and sugar stopped at a warehouse in Makiivka (10km east of Donetsk) at 10:50hrs, where the contents were unloaded in the presence of local and international media and monitored by the SMM. The SMM went on to monitor the storage of electrical supplies at another distribution centre in Makiivka (10km east of Donetsk). It saw 18 trucks with various supplies and equipment needed for repairing and restoring cables, electric wiring, and generator parts.
The SMM observed a further 56 “Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation” cargo trucks and 19 fuel trucks travelling north on highway E40 from “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Krasnodon (49km south-east of Luhansk). On the outskirts of Luhansk city the convoy stopped and divided into three separate groups. The SMM followed sixteen trucks until they reached their destination, a factory located at Lutuginskaya Street in Luhansk city.
At a checkpoint (CP) in Pyshchevyk (122km south of Donetsk, 23km north-east of Mariupol), an SMM patrol was held up by armed members of the “DPR”. Following 30 minutes of hold-up and negotiations with the “DPR” members, the SMM left (See SMM Spot Report 12 December).
In Pavlopil (80km south of Donetsk), at 12:05hrs, the SMM heard two tank shells being fired and immediately after that, eight rounds of fire from a BM-21 Grad, a Soviet truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher. The SMM could not determine the origin or the direction of the shelling.
During SMM’s visit to Government controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk) no shelling could be heard. At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) headquarters officers of the Ukrainian and Russian General Staffs said that there had been no major violations of the ceasefire reported in the 24 hours up to 10:00hrs on 12 December. However, they said that at Donetsk Airport, Pisky (15km north-west of Donetsk), Shchastya (132km north-east of Donetsk), Stanitsa-Luhanska (137km north-east of Donetsk) and Vesela Hora (15km north of Luhansk, 132km north-east of Donetsk), there had been 16 incidents reported, involving small arms and light weapons. The SMM could not confirm this information.
In Government-controlled Svitlodarska a Ukrainian officer at the JCCC said that in the last 24hrs two incidents had been reported in his unit’s area of responsibility. One had concerned sniper fire from the direction of Tsentralnyi (13km east of Debaltseve) and the other small-arms fire near Chornukhyne (8km east of Debaltseve) on Ukrainian positions near these places.
In Shchastya (23 km north of Luhansk), at 11:10hrs, the SMM heard what it believed to be incoming mortar fire from the direction of “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (15km north of Luhansk). At 11:30hrs the SMM heard a single artillery shot from the same direction.
In Ivano-Frankivsk, at 10:00hrs, the SMM saw 30 people, mostly middle-aged men and women, demonstrating at the local branch of the National Bank of Ukraine. Six police officers were present. The protest was organised by a movement named "Credit Maidan”. The protesters demanded that currency loans be recalculated according to the rate of the time when loan agreements were signed. No incidents were reported.
In Kyiv the SMM monitored a protest in front of the Ukrainian Parliament organized by the movement “Credit Maidan”. About 25 protesters of mixed gender and age gathered. The SMM saw five police officers. The protesters demanded to have currency loans recalculated according to the rate at the time when loan agreements were signed. No incidents were reported.
In Lviv the SMM followed up on media reports about damage to a local branch of the “Sberbank Rossii” bank, which reportedly occurred in the early hours of 12 December. The SMM spoke with a bank representative who said that four out of the ten windows facing the street had been covered in red paint. The SMM saw that workers were cleaning the remnants of red paint from windows. No other damage was observed. The bank was operational.
The situation in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson and Chernivtsi was calm.