Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 9 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 reported an increased number of ceasefire violations, the majority occurring in and around the Donetsk airport.
The SMM visited the three main hospitals in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk. The directors of the hospitals reported severe shortages of various drugs and fuel, although some supplies had been received from the Russian Federation. Staff, they said, had not been paid since November. At one of the hospitals, the director said 98 patients on dialysis machines were in danger of dying if the machines were not immediately maintained. He also said that a 74 year-old man had been admitted that day, suffering from head injuries, having been hit by shrapnel outside his home on the south-western outskirts of the city in the early hours of the morning.
At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) headquarters 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, said that the security situation in “DPR”-controlled areas had markedly deteriorated in the previous 24 hours, to an extent not seen since 15 December. In the 24 hours preceding 08:00hrs, 9 January, they said they had recorded 91 ceasefire violations, 50 of them at the Donetsk airport. Among the recorded incidents during this period, they said that the use of heavy weapons was particularly pronounced, with 12 cases involving the use of BM-21 Grad rockets, 19 artillery shelling incidents, and 44 uses of mortars. Four Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and nine wounded, and two “DPR” and two “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) members killed in the violence, they said. Six civilians had also been injured on the south-western outskirts of Donetsk, they added.
In the 24 hours JCCC reporting period – the SMM heard sporadic volleys – every three to four hours – of incoming and outgoing shelling, usually 10 to 15 rounds at a time, in and around the Donetsk airport. The SMM also independently verified that a number of shells had struck a residential area in the south-western suburbs of the city.
The commander of a Ukrainian military checkpoint near government-controlled Artemove (40km north of Donetsk) told the SMM that the checkpoint had come under night-time mortar and artillery fire over the two previous days. The SMM observed two craters nearby. The mayor of the town told the SMM that although the town had not come under fire, he had heard shelling in the vicinity.
In government-controlled Makarove (26km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed heavy outgoing and incoming artillery and mortar shelling, and small arms fire. A Médecins Sans Frontières aid convoy attempting to reach “LPR”-controlled Luhansk was forced to turn back as a result of the shelling. On leaving the town, the SMM saw approximately 100 Ukrainian troops with a Howitzer artillery piece moving in the direction of the town.
A representative of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation told the SMM in Dnepropetrovsk that they dispatched a humanitarian convoy of fourteen trucks to Dnepropetrovsk that morning, destined for government-controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. He said the convoy had been co-ordinated with the regional police in Dnepropetrovsk and the Dnepro-1 volunteer regiment. The commander of the regiment told the SMM that his regiment had checked the documents and content of the trucks before allowing them to proceed.
Traffic and special police officers at a checkpoint near Synelnykove (35km south-east of Dnepropetrovsk) told the SMM that there were frequent seizures of firearms, munitions and explosives at the checkpoint. They said there had been three cases in the previous three weeks, one involving a self-made firearm, another, four hand grenades, and finally, a hand grenade and 100 5.45mm Kalashnikov rounds. In the latter case, a member of a Ukrainian volunteer military battalion had been arrested, they said.
The situation remained calm in Kharkiv, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.