Spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), 3 February 2015: Civilians killed and wounded in strike with cluster munitions in Izvestkova Street in Luhansk city
At approximately 18:15hrs and 22:45hrs on 27 January, the SMM, based in Luhansk city centre (“Lugansk People’s Republic” –“LPR”-controlled), heard intensive incoming shelling and impact explosions about 5km west of its location. On 28 January, upon receipt of information about shelling from the Russian Federation Armed Forces staff, assigned to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in Luhansk city, the SMM departed to the south-western suburbs of the city at 10:30hrs.
Upon their arrival at 10:40hrs on 28 January the SMM observed that a large residential area in the Artemivskyi district of Luhansk city, 6.6km south-west of the SMM’s location, a rectangular area measuring approximately 1.5km by 1.3km, had been impacted by rockets. The centre of the affected area around Izvestkova Street (7.5km south-west of Luhansk city centre) was most impacted.
The SMM observed the affected area along Izvestkovaya Street, Korolenko Street, Dekabristiv Street, as well as at Michurina Street and Sumska Street - a residential area consisting of small, detached houses. The SMM spoke to the owners of the properties and other local residents who said that they had been shelled twice on 27 January, first at about 18:10hrs and at about 22:45hrs.
The SMM saw considerable damage caused by the impacts of rocket shelling, such as broken windows, fences, gates and walls. The SMM assessed that some of the damage to the buildings, e.g. a series of parallel rows of strike marks on a gate and wall, were consistent with damage typically caused by shrapnel elements from cluster munition. According to the SMM’s assessment, a hole in a roof of a house was caused by the impact of what appears to be a bomblet, with small calibre.
The SMM discovered parts of rockets, including engines, fins and cargo compartments, in the front and backyards of several houses; the cargo compartment in particular is typical of a rocket carrying cluster munitions. Some parts sighted by the SMM at the impact site (1.5 cm white metal fragments, 6 by 3 cm black metal fragments of bomblets cases) are typical for cluster munition. The SMM identified them as parts consistent with 9M55K model “Smerch” rockets (calibre 300mm). The SMM observed a crater (diameter approximately 4m, depth approximately 3m) at the backyard of the house located at Dekabristiv Street 106 which had been caused by the explosion of a “Smerch” rocket, according to the SMM’s assessment.
The SMM measured by compass the angle between north and the axis of cargo remains. The SMM measured the incoming azimuth for the three cargo remains of the “Smerch” rockets, indicating a general incoming north-north-west direction.
Local residents of the impacted area of Artemivskyi district told the SMM during its visit on 28 January to the site that one man was killed in his residence at Korolenko Street 33. The JCCC and the “emergency services department” of the “LPR” both confirmed the same casualty figures.
On 30 January, the SMM visited the central morgue in Luhansk city and met representatives of the regional pathologist office, who stated that their post-mortem examination confirmed that two individuals had died as a result of the shelling. The first individual died as a result of being struck in the chest and abdomen by metal fragments. The second individual died from stress-related heart-failure as a result of shelling.
The SMM met, on 30 January, the deputy head of the central regional hospital who confirmed that two persons wounded on 27 January were still staying in hospital for surgery and medical treatment. On 3 February the hospital confirmed to the SMM the information previously received.