Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 26 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). Russian Federation military officers and “LPR” and “DPR” members are still absent from the JCCC headquarters in Debaltseve.
At the headquarters of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, told the SMM over the telephone that the JCCC headquarters remained staffed only by Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel. He said that the Russian Major-General, representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, and his staff, and members of the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”), had been absent from the JCCC headquarters for the fifth consecutive day, staying instead in government-controlled Soledar (77km north of Donetsk). The Ukrainian Major-General said that in the 24 hours preceding 08:00hrs, 26 January there had been 115 ceasefire violations registered by the JCCC. He added that six Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and 18 injured in the same period.
In Mariupol (113km south of Donetsk), the SMM spoke to the secretary of the Jewish Cultural Centre, which hosts the only synagogue in the city. She said she had no knowledge of there having been a Jew amongst the victims of the fatal shelling incident in the city on 24 January. She did, however, say that there was a name on the list of dead with clear Jewish roots. She said that 25 members of the city’s Jewish community – mostly children with their mothers – had moved to Mykolaiv (65km north-west of Kherson) on 26 January because of heightened security fears following the incident two days previously. She added that of the community’s 1,500 members, 150 had left the city since the start of the conflict because of security concerns.
According to information passed to the SMM by the JCCC Sector-A and Sector-S duty room located in “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city, there were 38 ceasefire violations in the 24 hours preceding 08:00hrs, 26 January. All but four of them involved the use of heavy weaponry.
While stationary immediately south of government-controlled Spivakivka (70km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard what it assessed to have been three outgoing rounds from a Smerch multiple rocket launch system (MRLS).
Fifty metres north of a Ukrainian military checkpoint in government-controlled Shchastya (19km north of Luhansk), the SMM observed three artillery rounds impacting 100m south of the checkpoint. The rounds were fired from a southern direction.
One hundred mostly young men and women rallied outside the Russian Consulate in Kharkiv to draw attention to the detention of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko in the Russian Federation. The SMM observed similar protests in Chernivtsi (200 participants), Kyiv (30 particpants) and Lviv (50 participants). At all but the Lviv event there was a visible presence of members of Batkivtshina, the political party on whose ticket Ms Savchenko was elected to Parliament whilst in custody. All events passed off peacefully. Police were present except at the Lviv event.
Ukrainian journalists in Lviv – and Ukrainian journalists in Kharkiv linked by video – discussed problems experienced in covering the conflict in the east. They specifically highlighted what they described as deliberate targetting and harrassment of Ukrainian journalists, whom, they said risked captivity if they operated in non-government controlled territory. One journalist present said that he had been held for a number of weeks by armed groups affiliated to the “LPR”. Russian journalists, or journalists working for Russian media outlets, by contrast, they said were free to work on both sides of the contact line.
Sixty people holding Ukrainian flags with black ribbons participated in a public gathering in Lviv under the slogan “I am Mariupol”, organised by a newly-formed, Lviv-based IDP NGO. One of the organisers told the SMM that the event was meant to draw attention to the recent death of civilians in Mariupol, and to warn against the possibility of Mariupol being drawn into the conflict. The event was peaceful. No police were present.
The situation remained calm in Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson and Ivano-Frankivsk.