Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 19 December
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 JCCC recorded a number of alleged ceasefire violations. The SMM observed some military hardware moving in the direction of Donetsk city.
On 19 December the SMM visited the HQ of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), where officers from the General Staffs of Ukraine (GSU) and the Russian Federation (GSRF) were working with members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) in a good atmosphere. Major General Razmaznin (GSU) and Major General Vyaznikov (GSRF) said that joint JCCC patrols were still planned but no start date had been set due to lack of sufficient compliance with ceasefire provisions. Major General Razmaznin had stated on the previous day that joint patrols across all “DPR” and “LPR”-controlled territories would commence by 28 December. (See Daily Report 222/2014, 19 December). The JCCC provided the SMM with a report, agreed by all parties, of 12 alleged ceasefire violations in the 24 hours to 10:00hrs, 19 December. In three cases, the JCCC had been unable to determine the locations. No casualties were reported, and no responsibility for the reported violations was assigned.
At the JCCC office in “DPR”-controlled Shakhtarsk (57km east of Donetsk) the SMM met the two new commanders, Lt Col Shkut (GSU) and Major Tursky (GSRF). They said that they were unaware of any recent violations of the Minsk Memorandum in their area of responsibility. The Russian officer said that since their arrival a week ago it had been very quiet.
On 19 December, at three locations under “DPR” control, the SMM observed the following trucks and weapons moving in the direction of Donetsk city: 21km east of Donetsk, 16 green, unmarked trucks, all except one covered; 28km east of Donetsk, four armoured tracked vehicles with no visible markings; and, 10km east of Donetsk, 12 green, unmarked fuel trucks. Thirty four kilometres east of Donetsk, in “DPR”-controlled territory, the SMM also observed a stationary, self-propelled howitzer, facing Donetsk.
On 19 December, just outside government-controlled Kominternove (24km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed a convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). One of the drivers told the SMM that the vehicles contained food supplies, destined for “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (44km east of Mariupol).
On 19 December the deputy prosecutor of government-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (110km north of Donetsk) told the SMM that eight people from the town were being sought for what he described as ‘separatist activities’.
At the JCCC office in “LPR”-controlled Velykyi Sukhodil (43km south of Luhansk) GSU and GSRF officers said that the rotation of GSRF officers had been completed on 15 December and that rotation of GSU officers was planned for 27 December. They said that they were waiting for armoured vehicles from the Russian Federation and so had not carried out any patrolling to date.
On 19 December, at a checkpoint (CP) close to government-controlled Myrna Dolyna (75 km east of Luhansk) manned by Donbas Battalion volunteers, the chief of staff told the SMM that commercial vehicles coming from “LPR”-controlled territory were not allowed to pass the CP. He connected this with demands for the release of 96 Donbas Battalion prisoners held by the “LPR”.
On 19 December, in “LPR”-controlled Krasnodon (48km south of Luhansk), the head of the city’s so-called Education Department told the SMM that the city’s kindergartens and schools had been operating normally since September. She said the children received lunch every day but that there was a shortage of vegetables, cereals and fresh fruits. She said some children were malnourished. Many of them also displayed symptoms of psycho-social trauma, she said. She added that teachers had not received salaries for six months.
On 18 December, in Kharkiv, representatives of the Luhansk National Agricultural University informed the SMM that on 18 October the Ministry of Education had instructed the university to relocate there from “LPR”-controlled Luhansk. Already 450 students with their families, 80 administrative workers and 20 teaching staff had relocated. Regional authorities provided them with a dormitory, which they said was inadequate in terms of sanitation, winterisation and furniture.
The situation remained calm in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Odesa, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.