Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 5 January 2015
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 JCCC noted that the situation in “Donetsk People’s Republic”-controlled areas had deteriorated considerably in the past 24 hours, with 69 ceasefire violations reported. Two explosions in Odesa caused damage.
At the headquarters of the JCCC in government-controlled Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk) officers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces were present, along with members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The senior Ukrainian Armed Forces representative and the Russian Federation Army Chief of Staff both agreed the situation in “DPR”-controlled areas had deteriorated considerably in the previous 24 hours. During the 24-hour period from 08:00 on 4 January to 08:00 on 5 January, 69 ceasefire violations were noted: 32 from the Ukrainian Armed Forces; 37 from the “DPR” side. Forty incidents were recorded at Donetsk airport, the area around the Donetsk Volvo Centre located at the southern entrance to Pisky ("DPR"-controlled), and Pisky (seven kilometres north-west of Donetsk, government-controlled). Other incidents were recorded at Nikishna (12 km south-east of Debaltseve, control contested by both “DPR” and Ukrainian Armed Forces), and Chornukhyne (six kilometres east of Debaltseve, “LPR”-controlled). There were also incidents recorded in the Debaltseve region, in the government-controlled villages of Redkdub (15 km south-east of Debaltseve), Kamenka (10 km south-south-east of Debaltseve) and Gorodeshe (15 km east of Debaltseve). The SMM were informed that these allegations of ceasefire violations were agreed by both sides:
- 2 January 2015: 21 in total – with “DPR” reported nine violations by the Ukrainian side; Ukrainian Armed Forces reported 10 violations by “DPR”, two unknown;
- 3 January 2015: 20 in total – “DPR” reported 12 violations by Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukrainian Armed Forces reported eight violations by “DPR”;
- 4 January 2015: 49 in total – “DPR” reported 24 violations by Ukrainian Armed Forces; Ukrainian Armed Forces reported 25 violations by “DPR”.
The Russian Chief of Staff said that the Russian Major General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, was in Donetsk to facilitate the next rotation of Ukrainian Armed Forces at Donetsk airport (planned for 6 January). Both Chiefs of Staff (Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Army) from JCCC Debaltseve will be present at Donetsk airport to observe the rotation. Both sides invited the SMM to monitor the rotation.
On 5 January, the SMM visited Schastya (17 km north of Luhansk, government-controlled). Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at the bus station informed the SMM that the situation was calm. The SMM spoke to a local resident who stated that during the last 2-3 weeks, the situation in Schastya has significantly improved from before with no shelling during this period. The SMM observed few people and light traffic in Schastya.
The situation in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk remained calm.
On 4 January 2015, at approximately 22:35hrs an explosion at the location of the Maidan Coordination Council, (an umbrella group of several non-governmental organizations) in Odesa caused damage to the building. Police confirmed no one was injured. The building houses several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and has been used in recent weeks as a collection point for donating aid to soldiers in the east. The SMM verified the damage to the building and to nearby property. A Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson at the location gave a press statement confirming the use of an explosive device. The police are investigating it as an act of terrorism (as defined in Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
Following up on reports of an explosion at Odessa-Peresyp train station (see SMM Daily Report of 5 January 2015) the SMM spoke with the acting deputy chief of the Regional Transport Police, who confirmed a hole in a container wagon resulting in a large amount of “gas-oil” escaping. He confirmed that evidence collected during the investigation would be given to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in the following days. The interlocutor claimed police experts had concluded that an explosive was used, possibly with the aim of trying to destabilise the situation.
On 5 January the SMM in Kherson met with the First Deputy Head of the Black Sea and Azov Regional Administration of the Border Guard Service of Ukraine who stated that the Chongar crossing point (180 km south-east of Kherson) was open.
The SMM gathered information on the situation concerning public transport across the administrative boundary line (ABL). The SMM spoke with the dispatcher at Novotroitske bus station on 5 January, who confirmed that most buses travelling to Crimea on 4 January (and one on 5 January) were delayed at the ABL before crossing. The dispatcher stated that a bus from Novotroitske to Crimea was prevented from crossing the ABL. He did not know the reason.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv remained calm.