Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 8 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). There was an increased number of ceasefire violations recorded by the JCCC, mostly in and around Donetsk airport.
The head of the Western Water Filter Station, located in government-controlled Bilohorivka (106km north-west of Luhansk), told the SMM that the station supplies 30% of the Luhansk region’s water supply. He said he had been instructed by unspecified officials to continue supplying water to areas under the control of the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”), and so 85% of the station’s output – as was the case before the conflict – continues to be pumped to “LPR”-controlled territory. He said the station was unable to do water pipe repairs in “LPR”-controlled territory and because it was unable to collect payment from those areas, it had been unable to pay its staff for the previous six months. The SMM observed an unexploded ordnance (Smertch-type rocket) in the vicinity of the water station.
At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) HQ in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, and the Russian Federation Major-General, representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, both said the security situation, particularly in areas controlled by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) had deteriorated considerably in the preceding 24 hours. They said that in the 24 hours preceding 08.00hrs on 8 January, there had been 66 ceasefire violations reported, 29 in government-controlled territory and 37 in “DPR”- or “LPR”- controlled territory. Eighty percent of the incidents were recorded at or in the environs of the Donetsk airport. The remainder were in government-controlled Debaltseve or in “LPR”-controlled territory.
The Ukrainian Major-General stressed that the next steps – following the fact that the ceasefire had held for more than 48 hours in “LPR”- controlled territory – would be decided in Astana on 15 January. He said Government representatives and “LPR” members would discuss the withdrawal of heavy weaponry. The “LPR” member at the JCCC stated that the “LPR” leadership was ready to continue with the second phase of the Minsk Memorandum implementation plan. The Ukrainian Major-General also said that he was ready to launch JCCC joint patrols once they were agreed at the political level.
The “DPR” member presented the SMM with two letters outlining alleged violations of the ceasefire, specifically shelling of residential buildings in Donetsk city on 6 and 7 January. The SMM has not confirmed the allegations.
The Ukrainian army company commander in charge of troops deployed around “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (35km north-north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM in government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north of Donetsk) that the situation in his area of responsibility was calm and quiet. He noted, however, that there had been sniper fire directed towards a Ukrainian military checkpoint in Maiorsk on the night of 7/8 January. A single shot had also been fired from a grenade launcher in the direction of the checkpoint on the same night, he said. He added that there had been no casualties.
In government-controlled Sloviansk (95km north of Donetsk) the SMM spoke with a woman living in a neighbourhood inhabited by many Roma families. She said that local people resent the Roma community and had demanded that they leave. A member of the Roma community in the same neighbourhood said that community members had been told to leave by their non-Roma neighbours. The interlocutor told the SMM that he did not feel safe because of tension with his non-Roma neighbours.
Also in Sloviansk, the SMM spoke to members of the Meskhetian Turk community. They said that they had not experienced any kind of discrimination.
The editor of a local newspaper in Balakliya (92km south-east of Kharkiv) told the SMM that people in the district were increasingly worried about the economic situation, and specifically about steadily increasing utility prices and stagnant salaries and pensions. A number of residents in the town also complained about rising food and utility prices.
The SMM met members of the Regional Military Recruitment Department in Chernivtsi. They said that 27 people, including 23 soldiers, from the Chernivtsi region had been killed in fighting in the east since the start of hostilities. Four soldiers are also listed as missing-in-action. They also said that approximately 1,500 men from the region were expected to be called up in the planned fourth wave of mobilisation, although they could not say when this would happen, saying the presidential decree authorising it had yet to be published.
The situation remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk, Odesa, Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.