Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 7 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).Continued ceasefire violations were recorded by the JCCC in Donetsk, many in the area of the airport.
The Ukrainian Major General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the Headquarters of the JCCC in government-controlled Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk), informed the SMM that in the preceding 24 hours, “DPR”-controlled areas had seen continued ceasefire violations, principally in the area of Donetsk airport. The Russian Federation Armed Forces’ senior representative, and members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) were also present. 42 violations were recorded by the JCCC during the 24 hour period from 08:00 hours on 6 January to 08:00 hours on 7 January: 19 were attributed to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the “DPR”; the Ukrainian Armed Forces attributed 23 to the “DPR”. This information was recorded in one joint logbook. The majority of the incidents were recorded at Donetsk airport and at Pisky (seven kilometres north-west of Donetsk, government-controlled). Of the remaining incidents, 19 were recorded at Nikishina (12 km south east of Debaltseve, partly “DPR”-controlled and partly government-controlled), and four incidents in Horlivka (35 km north-east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled). No casualties were reported. The Ukrainian Major General told the SMM that the 6 January rotation of Ukrainian forces at Donetsk airport was completed without major incident, and furthermore, that the presence of both the Ukrainian and Russian Federation Major Generals was a principal factor in this.
At the JCCC Co-ordination Group in Donetsk city, the SMM met with the Ukrainian and Russian Federation Colonels, their respective teams, and a “DPR” member. They discussed potential SMM involvement in monitoring Ukrainian troop rotations at Donetsk airport. The Ukrainian Colonel and “DPR” member expressed their disappointment that the SMM did not attend recent troop rotations. The SMM explained that security guarantees from all sides had not been given in time to monitor the 6 January rotation. A more comprehensive approach to the planning of the next rotation was suggested by the SMM, where the sides would agree upon certain procedures and methods that in turn could prevent misunderstandings in the future.
On 7 January, the SMM held a phone conversation with the Russian Federation Colonel at the JCCC in Luhansk. The interlocutor informed the SMM that the intensity of shelling from both sides had declined in the past two-three days and that the ceasefire had “been largely respected by both parties.”
On 6 January, an SMM patrol in Stanytsia Luhanska (19 km north of Luhansk, government-controlled), heard outgoing artillery, mortar and small arms fire from a direction south-west of their location at a distance of 4-5km lasting for about 25 minutes. The SMM visited Stanytsia Luhanska to obtain information about allegations of persons being detained by members of a Ukrainian volunteer battalion called “Tornado”. The SMM was informed on 1 January that 18 people from the town were detained and that five were still being held at the battalion “headquarters”. The SMM visited the headquarters and spoke with the person in charge. The interlocutor confirmed the detentions without giving exact numbers and gave varying reasons for these detentions. He claimed that all detained persons were released on 2 January and that no one was currently being held on their premises. The SMM was denied access to the detention facilities. The interlocutor stated that the “Tornado” battalion is subordinate to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs and that it follows the relevant laws when deciding upon individual cases of detention.
On 7 January, the SMM visited Trokhizbenka (40km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled) and spoke with members of the public in the village and Ukrainian Armed Forces at a checkpoint on the outskirts. Members of the public and checkpoint personnel reported mortar shelling, in the vicinity of the village on 2 January. The SMM could not independently verify the information. The SMM were also told that electricity and water supplies have been restored to the village, following damage to the supply system caused by fighting in the area (see SMM Daily Report, 16 December).
The situation in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk remained calm. The situation in Odesa remained generally calm.
On 7 January the SMM in Kherson spoke with the dispatcher at Novotroitske bus station, who stated that the bus service from this station to Crimea had been interrupted. The same information was reported by the dispatcher at Heniches’k bus station. According to the Heniches’k bus station dispatcher, since the service was interrupted, people were using taxi services to reach the administrative boundary line (ABL) and then crossing by foot. Once on the Crimean side, buses picked up travellers wishing to continue their journey.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv remained calm.