Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 22 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 SMM saw the aftermath of a shelling incident in Donetsk. The SMM witnessed many instances of heavy artillery fire and military movements.
The SMM observed the aftermath of the shelling incident – involving civilian fatalities – at Kuprina Street, 4.4km south-south-west of Donetsk city-centre (for detailed observations see SMM Spot report, 22 January).
In Donetsk, the SMM heard intermittent shelling throughout the reporting period. The SMM could not ascertain whether this was incoming or outgoing due to their distance from the shelling, or where the impacts hit. The SMM saw a Grad multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) near Makiivka (16km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled). A convoy of ten unmarked T-80 tanks was seen by the SMM travelling west on highway H-21 in Zuhres (36km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled). The SMM also saw a BMP-1 armoured personnel carrier travelling west on H-21 near Shaktarsk (50km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled).
Representatives of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, the “DPR” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) were not present at the JCCC headquarters (HQ) in Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled) as they have moved (as of 21 January) to the JCCC field office in Soledar (77km north of Donetsk) citing security concerns (see SMM Daily Report, 21 January 2015). The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major General stated that the JCCC is still functioning with liaison between offices conducted by phone. This information was later confirmed to the SMM by the Russian Federation Army Major General in Soledar. Both Ukrainian and Russian Major-Generals expect all parties to return to the JCCC HQ in Debaltseve in the near future. The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major-General told the SMM that the Ukrainian Armed Forces withdrew from Donetsk airport on the evening of 21 January. The SMM were unable to travel to the airport for security reasons so cannot verify this claim.
The Ukrainian Major-General said that the JCCC field offices in areas outside of de-facto government control have either redeployed, such as Telmanove (69km south-south-east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) to Donetsk, or may redeploy, such as Horlivka (35km north of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled), possibly to Shakhtarsk (50km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled). The Russian Federation Major-General mentioned that the JCCC in Krasnohorlivka (20km west of Donetsk, government-controlled) is in need of evacuation due to security concerns.
The JCCC incident logs indicated a total of 128 ceasefire violations for the 24 hour period from 21 January 08:00hrs to 22 January 08.00hrs. The Ukrainian Maj-General stated that tension has spread from Donetsk airport to areas further north. He named areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (140km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled), Shchastia (132km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled), Vesela Hora (132km north-east of Donetsk; “LPR”-controlled) and Krymske (108km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled) as hot spots with 39 of the total 128 violations recorded over the preceding 24 hours. Fighting continued around Donetsk airport according to the interlocutor.
While at the JCCC HQ, the SMM heard 32 outgoing heavy artillery rounds of 122mm calibre at 11:57hrs. Twelve incoming artillery rounds followed at 12:12hrs. The SMM was unable to verify the origin and impact sites of the rounds. The SMM saw no damage upon leaving the JCCC.
In Dzerzhynsk (42km north of Donetsk, government-controlled) the SMM heard several heavy artillery rounds outgoing from a south-south-eastern direction and impacting in a north-north-east location at an indeterminate distance. Heavy machine gun and anti-aircraft fire was heard coming from the same direction. The SMM saw damage to a civilian house in Dzerzhynsk consistent with a medium calibre artillery shell. Furthermore, the SMM ascertained that the artillery was fired from a south-eastern direction. Heavy artillery impacts were heard by the SMM in areas to the south of the village fired from an unknown area. When leaving the location, the SMM heard seven more impacts.
The SMM talked to the director of the municipal hospital in Kostiantynivka (55km north of Donetsk, government-controlled) who stated that within the last two weeks the number of soldiers admitted has increased dramatically, with figures comparable to those in August and September 2014.
Three kilometres outside Chermalyk (72km south of Donetsk, located between government-controlled and “DPR”-controlled territories), the SMM heard artillery fired from a south-east direction, judged to be from approximately 5–8 km away. The SMM talked to the head of the village administration in Chermalyk, who claimed that there has been no water for the past 3 weeks due to a broken pump, which remains in disrepair due to continued shelling in the area. While in the village, the SMM heard twenty rounds about 5–8 km away to the east. The SMM was unable to judge whether these were incoming or outgoing.
Two kilometres outside Orlivske (79km south of Donetsk, located between government-controlled and “DPR”-controlled territories) the SMM saw fifty fresh crater impacts in open countryside. Residents the SMM spoke to said these occurred in the past two days. According to residents, Orlivske has been without fresh water for four months due to a pump that does not function. They now obtain water from streams and by melting snow.
The SMM heard the use of heavy weapons at Novoaidar (57km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled) and Shchastya (23km north of Luhansk, government-controlled) district boundaries. The SMM heard outgoing mortars (three rounds) from the vicinity of the Shchastya power plant followed by incoming shelling. The SMM also heard outgoing Grad rockets from around Trokhizbenka (40km west of Luhansk, government-controlled) fired in an unknown direction, followed by an exchange of heavy artillery. This was followed by incoming heavy artillery shelling from an unknown location.
The SMM monitored a “Day of Unity of Ukraine” ceremony in Kharkiv. Around 80 participants, both men and women of all ages attended. The national flag of Ukraine and flags of the Svoboda party, Falcon and Azov volunteer battalions and “Pravyi Sektor” (Right Sector) were observed. Approximately 40-50 police were present. The rally ended peacefully.
Approximately 500 people attended the “Day of Unity of Ukraine” ceremony in Odesa. Local dignitaries were present. 50 uniformed police were at the location. Around 30 members (approximately equal numbers of men and women, average age 30-40 years) of the “Batkivschyna” (fatherland) Party and the Svoboda Party carried party flags. The ceremony passed without incident.
Around 200 persons of all ages (approximately 60 per cent men) gathered peacefully for the “Day of Unity of Ukraine” anniversary in Chernivtsi. Ten police attended. During a separate event in Chernivtsi, representatives of political parties and civil society organizations gave speeches emphasizing national unity. Members of the “Svoboda” party were particularly visible, holding flags and collecting donations for the “Sich” battalion. Four police were present.
On 22 January the SMM monitored a local march in honour of the “Ukrainian Day of Unity” in Ivano-Frankivsk. About 1,500 people took part; most were men, although some women and children participated. The “Pravyi Sektor” (Right Sector), “Self Defence” non-governmental organization (from Ivano-Frankisk region) and “Auto-Maidan” group each organized separate marching columns with their own flags. 15 uniformed police were present.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Lviv was calm.
On 22 January, the SMM went to Kontraktova Square in Kyiv to monitor a civic “reconciliation gathering” organized under this label by civil society groups through social networks. Upon arrival, the SMM observed a counter-demonstration of 30 to 50 young persons (mostly men) instead of the planned reconciliation gathering. About twelve anti-riot police officers were in the vicinity. The SMM spoke to a woman who identified herself as a member of the “Union of Ukrainian Mothers”, a civic organization, present for the reconciliation gathering. She told the SMM that 30 to 50 participants had gathered on the square to collect signatures in support of a peace process when the aforementioned young people arrived and argued with those at the reconciliation gathering. The SMM spoke to counter-protestors who said they wanted to stop these activities organized by what they call “IDPs and Russian” activists. The SMM also observed some activists from both sides engaged in peaceful discussion. The SMM left shortly after.