Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 18 December 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
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). The SMM observed no shelling or use of fire-arms, although the JCCC did report on a number of such occurrences.
On 18 December in Kharkiv, the SMM noticed a newly deployed checkpoint (CP) located at the north-east exit of the city. The SMM could not establish when the position was set-up. The SMM spoke with two young male individuals guarding the CP. The interlocutors said that they were members of the Ukrainian Special Purpose Volunteer Battalion “Azov”. They explained that the “Azov” Battalion deployed the CP in order to reinforce the overall level of security in Kharkiv. They added that they were planning to deploy a similar position in Alekseevka District (90km South of Kharkiv).
In government-controlled Debaltseve (55km North East of Donetsk) at the JCCC Headquarters (HQ), the SMM met officers of the Ukrainian and the Russian Federation Armed Forces – respectively represented by Major-General Razmaznin and Major-General Vyaznikov – together with ‘’Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) members. Ukrainian Major-General Razmaznin stated that all the JCCC members would be fully ready to launch joint patrols across all “DPR” and “LPR”-controlled territories by 28 December. He said that the JCCC is now fully equipped to conduct joint patrols, and was only waiting for the finalisation of the current ceasefire agreement.
The JCCC HQ representatives handed over to the SMM a joint report listing 16 ceasefire violations during the last 24hours. The SMM could not verify the reported incidents.
At the newly established JCCC office in Donetsk, the SMM met officers from the Ukrainian and Russian Armed Forces and a “DPR” member. They stated that the JCCC HQ had jointly decided to turn the Donetsk JCCC office into a sector HQ that will be in charge of running joint verification of ceasefire violations in the so-called “M” sector controlled by the “DPR”. The interlocutors stated that they were planning to conduct joint patrolling along the line of contact next week.
In government-controlled Artemove (40km North of Donetsk), the SMM met the local Ukrainian Armed Forces commander. The interlocutor said that there had been no shelling in Artemove since 8 December. However, he reported that the Ukrainian forces present in Artemove could hear sporadic bursts of small arms/light weapons fire at night. The SMM has not observed or heard shelling in the area since 9 December.
On 17 December, the deputy chief of police in government-controlled Dzerzhynsk (42km North of Donetsk) informed the SMM of an on-going process to identify and detain those who actively supported the “DPR” when the town was under its control, before being re-taken by government military forces in July.
On 17 December 2014, the SMM monitored the distribution of humanitarian aid in government-controlled Novoaidar (58km North of Luhansk). The local head of the Ukrainian Red Cross (ICRC) stated that the Ukrainian “Rinat Akhmetov Foundation” had donated and delivered the aid on 16 December. The interlocutor said that the aid consisted of food and basic supplies for internally displaced children living in and around the village.
The interlocutor added that 4,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs), coming mainly from neighbouring villages and Luhansk city, are currently living in the Novoaidar area. The district’s deputy head of administration co-ordinated the distribution of the aid.
On 16 December near Strilkove (240km South East of Kherson), the SMM went to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service CP located along the Crimean Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) on the Arabat Spit. The Ukrainian Border Guard Commander at the CP confirmed that the Russian Federation Armed Forces had withdrawn from the northern sector of the Arabat Spit a week ago, before regrouping on the southern sector of the Spit.
The interlocutor stated that the Ukrainian Border Guards now fully control the northern sectors of the Arabat Spit. The SMM was able to monitor the area and confirm the statements of the Ukrainian Border Guard Commander. On 17 December, the SMM met the commander of the Ukrainian Border Guard station in Heniches’k (205km South East of Kherson) who is responsible for the sectors around the Arabat Spit. The commander confirmed the aforementioned reports. He explained that the withdrawal of the Russian Forces had followed a joint meeting held on the Arabat Spit a week ago between high ranking officers from the Ukrainian and Russian Border Guard Services, which he had personally attended.
On 18 December in Kyiv, the SMM attended a presentation titled “Female Anticorruption Movement” organized by various local Ukrainian civic NGOs. The representatives of the NGOs present at the conference stated that the “Female Anticorruption Movement” project consists in providing training in public anticorruption programmes to female participants from the Kyiv, Vinnytsa and Khmelnytsky regions. The project should help the participants monitor and report evidence of corruption schemes at their respective local administration level.
The situation remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv.