Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 21 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). The SMM observed two convoys of humanitarian aid arriving from the Russian Federation (RF) to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
On 21 December as of 12:00hrs, the SMM monitored a Euro-Maidan protest of some 100 mostly young participants of mixed gender on Kharkiv’s Liberty Square. The protestors praised the volunteer battalions “Kharkiv-1” and “Slobozhanshchyna” on the occasion of “Police Day”. They voiced concerns over perceived inefficiencies of the city council. The event was monitored by the police and ended peacefully.
On 21 December, the SMM observed a Russian Federation (RF) humanitarian aid convoy travelling north on road M04 from “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Krasnodon (49km south of Luhansk) (earlier on 21 December, the Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints of Gukovo and Donetsk observed the crossing of this convoy into Ukraine and issued a Spot Report on the same day). The convoy split into two before entering Luhansk city. The SMM observed 16 white cargo trucks entering a compound at 19 Frunze Street in Luhansk city and 7 fuel trucks entering the “TNK” fuel station in Krasnodonska Street and delivering the fuel. Further on, the SMM observed 17 white cargo trucks moving from the candy factory on Lutuginska Street to 50 Rokiv Oborony Luhanska Street. The convoy entered the main compound and parked.
In the JCCC headquarters in Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed officers of the Ukrainian and the Russian Federation Armed Forces –represented by Maj-Gen Razmaznin and Maj-Gen Vyaznikov – working together with members of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “LPR”. The SMM observed that works on a joint patrolling draft plan were ongoing but no date had been set for its entry into force.
On 20 December, the JCCC RF representatives informed the SMM that the RF would supply at least four vehicles for the JCCC patrols and that these vehicles would have Ukrainian registrations. The JCCC Ukrainian representatives informed the SMM that the rotation of Ukrainian personnel at Donetsk Airport had been completed, and that the Ukrainian side was aiming to carry out two re-supply convoys per week that would not include ammunition. The “DPR” has agreed to the schedule and discussions are underway regarding the route and procedures of these convoys. The JCCC representatives handed over to the SMM a joint report listing 41 ceasefire violations, including 24 from heavy weapons (100mm or larger) on 20 December, and 25 ceasefire violations including 12 from heavy weapons on 21 December. These incidents have not been observed by the SMM.
On 20 December, the SMM monitored the JCCC office in government-controlled Krasnogorivka (44km west of Donetsk). The JCCC staff reported that the past week had been calm with a few explosions, presumed to have been caused by artillery fire, but unidentifiable due to their distance, as well as some small arms fire in Krasnogorivka, the origin of which could also not be ascertained by the JCCC.
On 20 December, the SMM visited the government-controlled towns of Vinohradne, Sartana and Talakivka (97km, 90km and 90 km south of Donetsk), located in the vicinity of Mariupol, and observed that the overall situation was calm. In Sartana, local residents said that the increased cost of food and gas had become a serious concern. On 21 December, the SMM visited the government-controlled towns of Volodarske, Yalta and Mangush (92km, 100km and 107km south-west of Donetsk), located in the vicinity of Mariupol. In each location residents expressed strong concerns over the quality of water and the sharp increase in food prices.
On 20 December, the SMM visited government-controlled Mykolaivka (120km north of Donetsk) where local residents voiced concerns about the local authorities’ lack of assistance in repairing their homes and businesses.
On 21 December, the SMM monitored a RF humanitarian convoy consisting of 40 trucks coming from the direction of “DPR”-controlled Amvrosiivka (57km south-east of Donetsk) and moving towards Donetsk city. Drivers of the convoy, which also included a medical and communications truck, wore the uniform of the RF Ministry of Emergency Situation. In Makiivka (10km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed volunteers unloading boxes off 10 of the 15 trucks designated for this particular distribution centre in Makiivka. The SMM did not observe the content of the boxes but the labels on the boxes indicated sweets, Christmas cards, biscuits and washing powder.
On 21 December, the SMM monitored a co-ordination meeting between the police, representatives of “Kryvbas” and “Donbas” volunteer battalions and the “Dnipro-1” regiment, and church leaders in Dnipropetrovsk, aimed at clarifying procedures related to humanitarian aid directed to “DPR”-controlled territory via the Dnipropetrovsk region. In addition to the administrative requirements under the law on humanitarian aid, the battalion representatives also pointed out their preconditions for allowing humanitarian aid through the checkpoints they control. These include monitoring by various organizations during loading and unloading, visible marking of trucks, the provision of information on convoy routes to battalions and aid recipients, as well as the release of detained battalion members.
The situation in Kherson was calm.
On 21 December, the SMM attended the weekly rally on Kulikovo Pole Square in Odesa. At 14:05hrs, the SMM observed a group of approximately 60 anti-Maidan activists of mixed gender, mostly aged 40-60, surrounded by a cordon of 80-90 riot police officers, which were separating them from a dozen Euromaidan self-defence activists. In addition, the SMM observed 8 backup police buses. The activists’ speeches focused mainly on power cuts and increasing utilities prices. The event ended peacefully.
On 20 December, the SMM monitored a debate in Ivano-Frankivsk titled “Lustration of Authorities in Ukraine: Challenges and Opportunities”, in the framework of the “Kyiv Dialogue” project by the “Renaissance Foundation”. During the debate, the deputy head of the Ivano-Frankivsk Justice Department said that 3,072 civil servants and 2,659 candidates for official positions had agreed to be lustrated.
The situation in Lviv and Chernivtsi was calm.
On 20 December, the SMM monitored a ceremony on Kyiv’s Maidan (Independence) Square commemorating the death of two soldiers from the Aidar Battalion, one of them a Georgian citizen, who were killed in the east of Ukraine last week. Some 400 men and women of different ages, a third of which were uniformed soldiers, attended the ceremony. Former Georgian President Saakashvili was also present at the ceremony which was monitored by the police and ended peacefully.