Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 16 January 2015
This report is for media and the general public.
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 SMM observed a large number of ceasefire violations in the Donetsk region. The SMM conducted its third visit to the site of the incident causing the deaths of civilians on a bus in Volnovakha.
The SMM concluded its third fact-finding patrol to government-controlled Volnovakha (35km south-west of Donetsk), where 12 civilian passengers of a bus had been killed and 17 injured on 13 January (see SMM Spot Report 14 January and SMM Daily Report 14 January). The SMM conducted a comprehensive inspection, focusing on five craters caused by explosions that had occurred during the incident. The investigation included comprehensive crater analysis of two specific blast craters, including the crater located 10 metres from the side of the passenger bus. In the SMM’s assessment all craters examined were caused by rockets fired from a north-north-eastern direction.
At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) headquarters in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the Chiefs of Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces told the SMM that the security situation had deteriorated considerably in the previous few days, with a significant increase in ceasefire violations by all parties. In the 24 hours preceding 08:00hrs, 16 January, they said the JCCC had registered 138 violations: 64 committed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and 74 by armed groups of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) or the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”), with the Donetsk airport and environs being the most problematic area.
The Russian Federation General at the JCCC in Donetsk suggested that the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Russian Federation representation to the JCCC, and “LPR” and “DPR” armed groups should use artillery detection radars to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire. He invited the SMM to monitor the usage of this technology. The SMM had previously monitored such technology used by the “DPR” (what seemed to be an AISTYONOK Portable Mortar Position Reconnaissance Radar) on 14 January while on patrol in the north-western suburbs of Donetsk city.
In “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (5km east of Donetsk), a senior local “DPR” member told the SMM that some areas of the city had experienced shelling in the previous 48 hours. The SMM observed structural damage to a number of houses, and saw a number of craters, most likely caused by mortars. Residents informed the SMM that on 11 January a 44-year-old man had been killed and his 14-year-old daughter seriously injured in a shelling incident in the city, and subsequently transferred to Moscow for treatment. In a 20 minute period, the SMM heard six outgoing 82mm mortar rounds emanating from a location 300 metres from its position in the city.
Whilst in government-controlled Avdiivka (15km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard and/or saw more than 150 incoming and outgoing artillery and mortar rounds in and around the city in less than an hour.
At the JCCC office in “LPR”-controlled Velykyi Sukhodil (43km south-east of Luhansk), Ukrainian and Russian Federation military officers attached to the JCCC told the SMM that there had been 25 ceasefire violations in the sector in the previous 24 hours, 10 by the Ukrainian side and 15 by the “LPR”.
The “LPR”-appointed and Cossack-approved “municipal head” in “LPR”-controlled Stakhanov (50km west of Luhansk), told the SMM on 15 January that approximately half of the municipal employees and more than half of the town’s medical personnel had left since the start of hostilities. According to him, no major enterprises were working in the city, and the “LPR” had only made one-off payments to pensioners and public-sector workers.
At a checkpoint manned by Ukrainian volunteer battalion members near government-controlled Myrna Dolyna (75km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard sustained outgoing mortar fire emanating from a location north-east of its position.
The acting regional military commissar – speaking at a press conference in Dnepropetrovsk – said the fourth wave of mobilisation, to last 210 days, would start on 20 January. The previous day, the Dnepropetrovsk regional military prosecutor – speaking to the SMM – said 50,000 men would be mobilised throughout Ukraine.
On 14 January the SMM observed the first day of a three-day training module in Zaporizhzhia (85km south of Dnepropetrovsk), organised by the Women of Maidan Non-Governmental Organisation, in which 24 female school psychologists were offered advice on how to treat children and families psychologically affected by the conflict.
The situation remained calm in Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.