Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 19 January 2015
This report is for the 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 SMM observed in Donetsk city and surroundings damage caused by recent shelling.
The SMM together with the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) Co-ordination Group and “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) leadership observed a temporary ceasefire due to begin at midnight in the night from 18 to 19 January. Although the night was assessed as calm compared to previous days, the SMM observed and verified a total of 81 ceasefire violations during the whole night by both sides.
On its way to Kyivski district (8 km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM was denied passage at one checkpoint held by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) even though it was accompanied by a “DPR” escort. One of the “DPR” checkpoint members placed a spike belt (wooden board with nails) across the roadway and the SMM was asked to leave the area. The SMM reached the Kyivski district through an alternative “DPR” checkpoint.
The SMM observed substantial damage of civilian infrastructure in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city and surroundings as a result of recent intensified shelling over the last 48 hours. In the DPR-controlled districts of Kyivski (8 km north-west of Donetsk), Kirovskyi (7 km south-west of Donetsk), Petroveski (9 km south-west of Donetsk) and Voroshilovski (1 km north of Donetsk) the SMM observed damage to civilian buildings caused by recent shelling. The SMM also observed a crater with remnants of what appeared to be a (Uragan) multiple launch rocket system that had resulted in damage to a number of buildings. The SMM could not ascertain the direction from which the missile was fired. The SMM observed at Universitetska Street 95 what appeared to be a military-type Ural truck with a 30 mm cannon mounted on its rear. The truck with a “DPR” emblem on its left door had a license plate black in colour with white lettering (as previously observed by the SMM). Damage to civilian infrastructure due to what appeared to be Smerch multiple rocket launchers (300mm) and Grad (122mm) rocket strikes was observed by the SMM. Most of the damage consisted of broken windows, felled trees and downed power lines.
Whilst on Novosennaya Street in Kyivski district, the SMM heard at least 19 mortar impacts, three Grad impacts and seven incidents of small arms fire in the nearby Donetsk airport. While in the area of Kirovskyi district, the SMM heard outgoing shelling 200-300 metres from its location and for security reasons withdrew from the area. The SMM could not ascertain the direction or type of weapons.
According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces representation at the JCCC headquarter in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), on 19 January at 07:40hrs, at least 30 Grad rockets impacted in and around the centre of Debaltseve killing three civilians and wounding twelve. The SMM observed that the rockets had caused significant damage to buildings and covered an area of approximately one square kilometre. The SMM saw at least seven unexploded rockets (UXOs). A crater analysis performed by the SMM showed that the Grad rockets came from a western direction, the direction of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka.
The head of the village administration in government-controlled Kodema (55km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that local residents are concerned about restrictions of movement, as announced by the Ukrainian authorities, from and to the “DPR”- and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (”LPR”)-controlled areas. She said that neither the military nor civil authorities were able to clarify what procedures were in place to issue the new “permits” required for entering the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (“ATO”) zone. The SMM could not ascertain yet the exact requirements for individuals to obtain relevant documents, as the expected temporary order regulating the movement of individuals has not yet been officially published. The interlocutor expressed her particular concern regarding schoolchildren who travel from Kodema to Artemivsk (66 km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled) on a daily basis. Similar concerns were expressed subsequently by the mayor of government-controlled Novoluhanske (52km north-east of Donetsk).
Between Kyrylivka (73km south of Donetsk, government-controlled) and Chermalyk (72km south of Donetsk, government-controlled) the SMM heard continuous firing from both government-controlled and “DPR”-controlled areas, which lasted for two hours. The SMM heard distant shelling from a northerly direction and later on from a southerly direction. In a two-hour period SMM estimated about 100 rounds had been fired. A T-80 tank was observed in the area.
According to the JCCC in Luhansk, in the period from 09:00hrs 18 January to 05:00hrs 19 January, there were 33 ceasefire violations recorded: 23 outgoing shellings from positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and 10 outgoing shellings from “LPR” positions. Heavy artillery, mortars, BM-21 and tanks were in use largely by the Ukrainian Armed Forces side.
The head of the Novoselytsya (30km east of Chernivtsi) district council informed the SMM that he does not expect a repeat of the protests against mobilization previously seen during summer 2014, which in his opinion were actually caused by a lack of information about the whole process. He referred to an information meeting that was organized by the district administration and the military recruitment centre for heads of towns and village councils on 15 January.
The situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv was calm.