Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 28 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). In areas under control of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) the SMM observed movement of unmarked military vehicles. In Luhansk the SMM observed damage caused by recent shelling.
Whilst at the JCCC office in Soledar (77km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled) on 27 January (see SMM Daily Report 27 January) the Russian Major-General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC and the Ukrainian Major-General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, who had travelled to this meeting from the JCCC Headquarters (HQ) in government-controlled Debaltseve, told the SMM that they had decided to evacuate the JCCC offices in Dokuchaevsk (30km south of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) and Telmanove (69km south of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) to Shakhtarsk (50km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled). All these JCCC offices, they said, remain in contact with the JCCC HQ. The Russian Major-General stated that he and his officers will remain in Soledar until the security situation improves, and they will continue to co-ordinate assigned tasks as planned using the telephone.
In Donetsk on 28 January, the SMM observed one unmarked stationary armoured personnel carrier (BMP-2) inside a heavily populated built-up area in the city centre. The SMM also observed movement of seven green coloured unmarked trucks, of the types “KAMAZ” and “URAL”, heading south from Donetsk city centre, and later in the day thirteen green coloured empty trucks, type “URAL”, also heading south from Donetsk city centre.
On 28 January, on the outskirts of Khartsyzk (25km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) alongside road H21 the SMM observed a parked column of five T-72 tanks facing east, and immediately after, another column of four T-72 tanks moving east on the same road which was accompanied by four unmarked military trucks, type URAL. All vehicles and tanks were unmarked. Later, in Makiivka (12km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled), the SMM observed a column of seven unmarked military trucks, type URAL, also heading east. The SMM proceeded east on road H21 towards the border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation at Ulyanivske (63km south-east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled). While on its way, the SMM was contacted by a local Cossack commander and advised not to approach Ulyanivske border crossing point, without further explanations. As the SMM turned in a westerly direction, towards Donetsk, it noticed intensified movement of unmarked military trucks, covered with canvas. The trucks were moving in both directions on the roads H21 and T0507, which run between Donetsk and the international border.
In Artemivsk (66km north of Donetsk, government-controlled) the mayor told the SMM that on 27 January Artemivsk received dozens of injured – mostly military – from Svitlodarsk hospital, which itself, according to the interlocutor, came under shelling on 27 January. The mayor informed the SMM that as of 24 January, a centre issuing permits allowing people to cross at Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoints to and from areas not controlled by the Government is functioning in Artemivsk.
In Sloviansk (95km north of Donetsk, government-controlled) on 27 January the SMM visited a newly renovated centre for internally displaced persons (IDPs) run by the church Dobraja Vest and met its co-ordinator who said that on 26 January a bus with 100 persons arrived from Horlivka (35km north-east of Donetsk). Many of them were traumatised, and the centre provided them with basic psychological support. With the deterioration of the security situation, the co-ordinator said that the influx of IDPs has increased.
On 28 January the SMM visited Artemivskyi district located in the south-west part of Luhansk to assess damage from shelling reported to have occurred during the night of 27 January. The SMM visited 16 damaged houses and spoke with the owners of the properties and other residents. The interlocutors told the SMM that they were shelled twice, the first time was at about 18:10hrs and the second at about 22:45hrs. Interlocutors from the “regional direction of emergency situation” said that the area was hit by 7 Smerch Rockets with cluster bomb warheads. The SMM is following up on these reports.
On 28 January at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint at Myrna Dolyna (75km west of Luhansk, government-controlled) the SMM was informed that a civilian vehicle with people trying to evacuate from Zholobok (49km west of Luhansk, in between government-controlled and “LPR”-controlled territories) had run over a landmine in the area of the nearby road CP 29. The SMM later contacted the central hospital in Lysychansk (90km west of Luhansk, government-controlled) where the head of the emergency department confirmed that the hospital had admitted four injured persons from the incident. Two of them required major surgery.
On 28 January the SMM visited the border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation at Izvaryne (63km south-east of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled). The border crossing point was manned by armed men affiliated to the “LPR”. Whilst stationary at the scene for approximately 30 minutes, the SMM observed some 100 civilian vehicles – vans and cars – waiting to cross into the Russian Federation.
In Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv the situation remained calm.
In Khotyn (70km north-east of Chernivtsi) the SMM met a group of Tatar IDPs from Crimea. The interlocutors said that the Tatar IDP community in the city of Khotyn comprises 20 people (4 adult men, 4 adult women and 12 children) and that they feel well received in the city of Khotyn, where they live in rented accommodation. The older children attend kindergarten and schools. Some of the adults have opened private businesses whilst one woman said that due to a lack of economic opportunity here, she might return to Crimea, despite the difficulties the Tatar community is facing there.
On 28 January in Kyiv the SMM monitored a protest organized by coal miners in front of the government administration building. There were approximately 500 protesters, mostly adult men, demanding that the authorities invest in the mining sector. The SMM noticed the presence of several dozen law enforcement and riot control police officers around the building and in front of the protesters. As the SMM left the scene, the event was peaceful. The SMM also monitored, in front of the Kyiv City Hall, a group of approximately 500 protesters, mostly elderly men, demanding the resignation of the city mayor and accusing him of showing no interest in or support for ordinary citizens and their standard of living. The SMM did not observe any law enforcement presence. The event remained peaceful.