Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 3 February 2014
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. The security situation in the Donetsk region remained tense, including continuous shelling observed by the SMM. The SMM lost contact with one UAV 16km north of Mariupol.
The SMM observed in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Leninskyi district (3km south of Donetsk city centre) damage caused by recent shelling. The SMM saw multiple shrapnel damage on various civilian buildings and a car assessed to have been destroyed by shrapnel. According to local residents the shelling had occurred on 30 January killing two civilians and injuring two additional civilians. Since repairs had already started, the SMM was not able to assess the crater impacts caused by the shelling.
At the eastern outskirts of “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (10km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 21 green military-type trucks. Twenty of them were marked with DK number plates (plates issued by the “DPR ministry of defense”) and were witnessed driving in a western direction. Some of the trucks were covered; on the uncovered trucks the SMM could see ammunition boxes (Grad). In addition, two military fuel trucks with DK number plates were spotted heading east from the point of observation. Two kilometres south of “DPR”-controlled Rozsypne (80km east of Donetsk), the SMM saw three military trucks (Ural type) each mounted with Multi Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).
In government-controlled Kramatorsk (80km north of Donetsk) the SMM observed a public demonstration against military conscription of about 150 protesters. At the same time, face to face, about 100 people, mostly men, staged a counter-demonstration waving Ukrainian flags and shouting nationalistic slogans. A line of 20 police officers separated the two factions. Both demonstrations were peaceful during the 30 minutes for which the SMM was present.
According to local residents of “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske (45km south-east of Donetsk) the village had been affected by heavy shelling by MLRS on 2 February in the early morning hours, which had caused civilian casualties and damage to civilian property and infrastructure. The residents said that shelling was incoming from a westerly and south- westerly direction. The SMM examined nine impacts caused by what appeared to be 220mm rockets which appear to have been launched from a Uragan MLRS. The analysis suggested that the shelling came from a south-western direction. Among the remnants from the rockets, the SMM saw delivery casing which it assessed as evidence that anti-personnel cluster munition had been used. According to the interlocutors one 37-year-old woman was killed. A girl, 5 years old, and a man were allegedly seriously wounded and brought to a hospital in Donetsk. The SMM could not verify this information, but will follow up.
At government-controlled Novokalynove (27km north-west of Donetsk) the SMM observed a number of craters on both sides of the main road going through the village. Seven distinct craters could be seen in the field to the north of the road. The SMM examined two of these craters and found evidence consistent with Grad rocket impacts, fired from a south-easterly direction – the result of an attack on the evening of 2 February, according to residents. They told the SMM that one person was wounded in the attack and underwent surgery at the hospital in government-controlled Dymytrov (50km north-west of Donetsk). A crater, the SMM observed on the south side of the road, 50m from a farmhouse, appeared to have been caused by a mortar round, as evidenced by the splash pattern and shrapnel. The villagers stated that this impact had occurred on 18 January.
The SMM lost contact with one of its four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) on 3 February at approximately 17:00hrs, 16km north of government-controlled Mariupol (98km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM is proceeding with the recovery of the UAV and is liaising with Ukrainian officials at the site.
The SMM attended, on 2 February, the local security meeting in the district administration building in government-controlled Mariupol (98km south-west of Donetsk). According to the report of the co-ordination group, responsible for recovery repair after the 24 January shelling, two of the four damaged schools were already operational; some buildings suffered such severe damage that they may be structurally unsound; 76 people, including six children, were still being treated in hospital. Two adults are still in serious condition.
The SMM attended a press conference in Luhansk of “Lugansk People’s Republic (“LPR”) president”, Igor Plotnitsky, who said that “LPR” was not going to capture government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk) immediately and that the Ukrainian troops will be given the chance to surrender or abandon the area. He said that there was no need for mobilisation within “LPR”-controlled territory at this stage.
On 3 February in “LPR”-controlled Alchevsk (43km west of Luhansk) the SMM visited a warehouse and saw parts of what it assessed (based on markings on the rocket parts) to be a “Tochka U” rocket which, according to “LPR” interlocutors, had landed in the area of a metal factory on the northern outskirts of “Alchevsk. According to “LPR” they had removed the rocket from its landing place. The SMM then visited the alleged landing place of the missile debris and discovered some small pieces of an unidentified missile. According to the “LPR” interlocutors, the incident happened at 23:24hrs during the night of 1 February. The SMM could not verify this information. The “LPR” alleged the rocket was intercepted by an air defence rocket, hence only parts of the rocket and shrapnel were visible at the scene; the SMM was not able to verify that the parts were from a rocket downed on the night of 1 February. There were no injuries or damage reported to, or seen by, the SMM. At the warehouse in Alchevsk, the “LPR demining team” also showed the SMM some fragments which they said were from the downed rocket; again, the SMM was unable to verify that was true.
On the road 15km north of government-controlled Shchastia (23km north of Luhansk) the SMM observed two mobile MLRS (Grad II) transporters approaching from the direction of government-controlled Raihorodka (38km north-west of Luhansk) and travelling in the direction of Shchastia. All 40 launch tubes in each platform were loaded. The two launch platforms were accompanied by a command and control vehicle and were, in the estimation of the SMM, a complete operational unit. At 10:24hrs, whilst at the same location, the SMM heard the sound of outgoing and incoming heavy artillery fire from south-easterly and south-westerly directions at a distance of five kilometres from its position.
On 3 February the deputy head of the Kherson military prosecutor’s office informed the SMM that on 1 February 2015, at around 02:00hrs, a fire broke out in a Ukrainian Armed Forces military camp located in Chervonyi Chaban village, near the administrative boundary line with Crimea (114km south of Kherson). As a result of the fire, six soldiers died and another 11 incurred different levels of burn injuries and were hospitalized. According to the interlocutor, the person alleged to be responsible for the incident was found, criminal proceedings were initiated by the military prosecutor’s office and both a fire safety inspection would be conducted. The SMM could not verify independently this information.
At the Chernivtsi regional department of the State Service for Emergency Situations, the SMM team met five internally displaced persons (IDPs) who arrived at the city on 3 February 2015 from Debaltseve via Kyiv (four women, one man, between 50 and 70 years old). When asked about their travel, they explained that when leaving Debaltseve, their buses were fired at, allegedly injuring five people and one bus driver. According to them, their bus was the only one that managed to leave Debaltseve; the other buses had to leave some time later due to ongoing shelling.
The situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv was calm.