Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 12 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). According to the JCCC a significant increase of ceasefire violations was witnessed.
The SMM, while monitoring the JCCC first joint patrol of Ukrainian and Russian Federation officers and members of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) in Donetsk and in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (10km east of Donetsk), observed significant damage to buildings in these areas. In Donetsk the SMM saw a house that was damaged by shelling, reportedly on 11 January. In Pankratova Street the roof of a house was blown off due to shelling. In Makiivka, the SMM saw the courtyard of a house that had been reportedly shelled from a north-westerly direction. The projectile had exploded 3 meters away from the house. While at the scene, the SMM directly observed both incoming and outgoing Grad rockets. According to the SMM’s observation, incoming shelling came from the direction of Donetsk, whereas outgoing shelling was from a northern-westerly direction in Makiivka.
In government-controlled Avdiivka (13km north of Donetsk) the SMM met with the chief engineer and the security officer of a chemical factory. Both told the SMM that shelling of the factory had taken place on 11 January and had lasted for two hours. They stated that a total of 15 rockets had impacted on the factory’s premises. The SMM saw four shell impacts at the factory’s main office. Damage was also visible to the front of the main building, to another building in close proximity, and to the parking area. The security officer reported that an additional rocket damaged a sulphur tank. He also said five rockets hit the area surrounding the factory. Due to continuous shelling heard in and around Avdiivka from unidentified directions, the SMM had to leave the place. The chief engineer told the SMM that when the shelling started the workers emptied the tanks filled with dangerous chemical components leaving only indispensable compounds inside.
In government-controlled Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk) at approximately 11:42hrs the SMM heard more than 10 Grad rockets being launched from a “DPR”-controlled area. About seven seconds later, impact blasts were heard at a distance of approximately 7km north-west of Novoluhanske. Two minutes later, a second volley of Grad rockets followed. The rockets seemed to be launched from an area controlled by “DPR” in the vicinity of Holmivskyi.
On its way to a “DPR” checkpoint near Oktyabr (85km south of Donetsk), the SMM observed nearby shelling, both incoming and outgoing.
At the JCCC in “DPR”-controlled Shakhtarsk (58km east of Donetsk) the SMM was told by Ukrainian and Russian Federation representatives that they have obtained IDs as well as a standard operating procedure (SOP) provided by their respective superiors. According to them no ceasefire violations within their area of responsibility had been reported since 4 January.
At the JCCC headquarters in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk) 71 ceasefire violations have been reported by Ukrainian representatives; and 59 by “DPR” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (”LPR”) in the 24 hrs preceding 8:00hrs on 11 January. According to Ukrainian and Russian Federation representatives at the JCCC, a total of 66 incidents occurred at or in the environs of the Donetsk airport. These violations included ten which were recorded in the vicinity of Debaltseve, and nine violations which were recorded in the vicinity of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (35km north-east of Donetsk). Seven violations were recorded within the city limits of Donetsk. The Ukrainian officer at the JCCC told the SMM that on 11 January the Ukrainian armed forces managed to repatriate its dead and wounded personnel at Donetsk airport, without the assistance of “DPR”.
On 10 January 179 people of Polish descent reportedly travelled to government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (95km north-west of Luhansk) from Luhansk and from Donetsk to government-controlled Volnovakha (47km south-west of Donetsk), where they were met by representatives of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Four special buses, which were guarded by the Ukrainian military and police, were prepared for them. This group of ethnic Poles were taken to Kharkiv and are scheduled to be transferred to Poland via military aircraft. The evacuation of ethnic Poles from the conflict zone follows numerous announcements by the Polish government to this effect, most recently on 10 January. The SMM will follow up on this matter.
In the vicinity of government-controlled Makarove (26km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM heard numerous heavy shelling from an eastern direction starting from 12:45hrs but could not ascertain whether it was outgoing or incoming. In the vicinity of an abandoned Ukrainian checkpoint at Shchastya (23km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard Multi-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) fire at 14:10hrs.
In Kharkiv the SMM monitored a protest in front of the Moskovska city district court where about 30 mainly young men, including 20 members of “Pravyi Sektor” (Right Sector) and around 10 members of the Azov Battalion, protested against the trial of a soldier accused of carrying a gun and a hand grenade. At this moment the SMM has no further information regarding the nature of the charges against the soldier. The soldier in question is known for his activities during the Maidan protest in Kyiv and has recently returned from the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (“ATO”). The SMM saw 20 police officers present at the protest.
A representative of state customs in Kherson told the SMM that the Chonhar administrative boundary line (ABL) crossing point to Crimea has remained open over the past weeks. This information was not confirmed by SMM. He said that there was no communication between the Ukrainian customs officers and Russian customs on the other side of the ABL. According to the interlocutor movement of goods across the ABL was not being conducted by train anymore, thus cargo transports had been switched over to the road network by trucks.
In Chernivtsi the SMM observed a protest in front of the regional administration building. Representatives of the student’s branch of "Svoboda" party staged a theatre play, criticizing the selling of additional 25% of shares of the Chernivtsi energy supply company "Chernivtsioblenergo" to an enterprise controlled by a Russian oligarch. The SMM observed about 50 men and women present including activists and representatives of local media.
On 11 January the SMM observed "Donbas" battalion members marching through the centre of Kyiv city headed by a Member of Parliament, towards the Ministry of Interior. Approximately 200 male “Donbas” battalion members in uniforms carrying various flags took part in the march, demanding rotation of soldiers to the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” zone. The demonstration was peaceful. During the march the SMM observed sporadic presence of police forces.
The situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Odesa, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk was calm.