Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 10 February 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). Fighting surged ahead of diplomatic talks in Minsk. Multiple rockets struck Kramatorsk (95km north of Donetsk) with 7 killed and dozens injured.
At 11:51hrs the SMM heard a powerful explosion in Kramatorsk (95km north of Donetsk) and assessed it came from near Kramatorsk airport (where the Ukrainian authorities have an “Anti-terrorist Operation” base). Due to security concerns, the SMM did not travel to the area. At 12:33hrs the SMM, from their location on Kramatorsk Boulevard, heard at least four blasts in the area and saw a rocket land that did not explode. More unexploded ordnance (UXOs) were seen in the area and damage to buildings was observed. The SMM assessed that the shells were 300mm calibre ammunition fired from a BM-30 Smerch or Tornado Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). Based on observation at the scene, the SMM assessed the shelling came from a south-south-east direction. An official from the Donetsk region administration told the SMM that the shelling in Kramatorsk killed seven civilians and injured 26, including 5 children, and 32 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel were injured at Kramatorsk airport.
The SMM visited Soledar (77km north of Donetsk, government-controlled), where the JCCC headquarters (HQ) is currently temporarily located. Officers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russian Federation Armed Forces, and members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) were present. The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, told the SMM that not all ceasefire violations are being reported by the JCCC due to a lack of reliable information and the inability of some sector offices to report. A planned 10 February evacuation of civilians from the village of Chornukhyne (63km north-east of Donetsk, 8km east of Debaltseve) failed to materialise as an agreement was not reached with representatives of the “DPR”. During the entire time the SMM was present, there was distant non-stop artillery fire, both incoming and outgoing, in a direction south-west of Soledar.
The Donetsk regional administration told the SMM that they could not reach Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled) to evacuate residents on 8 and 9 February due to shelling along the road between Svitlodarsk (55km north-north-east of Donetsk, government-controlled) and Debaltseve.
Military movements were observed by the SMM in the Donetsk region. At the intersection near Harszizk (25km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) ten green military trucks were observed driving eastbound. Apart from black “DK” plate numbers, they were unmarked. Two mobile battle tanks (MBT) were observed in Makiivka travelling westbound on H-21, (approximately 13km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled).
The SMM visited four sites of shelling in Donetsk city. In Leninskyi district at Kuibysheva Street (2.7km south of Donetsk city centre, “DPR”-controlled), the SMM went to an area that was shelled on 8 February and saw a crater impact it assessed as having been caused by a Grad rocket strike. Crater analysis was not possible as repairs were complete. Also in Leninskyi district, at Pokrovskogo Street (3km south of Donetsk city centre, “DPR”-controlled) the SMM saw damage consistent with a mortar strike, that local residents said happened on 8 February. An analysis of two of the three craters indicated the shells were incoming from the north-west. A 65 year old man was allegedly killed in the shelling. According to “DPR” “police”, on 9 February one Grad rocket hit Petrovskyi bridge (10.7km south west of Donetsk city centre, “DPR”-controlled) in Petrovskyi district and penetrated the road, destroying one lane. Based on its analysis of one impact, the SMM assessed the direction of fire as being from the north-west. In Petrovskyi district on 9 February, two MLRS rockets struck near a gas station (10.6km south-west of Donetsk city centre, “DPR”-controlled), according to “DPR” “police”. The SMM crater analysis suggested that it was caused by Grad rocket fire from the west. The “emergency services department” of the “DPR” told the SMM that on 9 February a residential area at 125 Petrovskaya street (10.6km south-west of Donetsk city centre) was hit by MLRS shelling. The SMM conducted the crater analysis, determining a westerly direction of fire.
The SMM was informed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces senior officers at the JCCC office in Luhansk city of an escape of 340 prisoners from Detention Centre Number 23 in Chornukhyne (65km south-west of Luhansk, contested area). According to the officers they fled in the early afternoon following heavy military activity in the area. About 30 prisoners remain.
On 10 February the SMM spoke with the head of the administration of the State Border Service (SBS) in Starobilsk (80km north of Luhansk, government-controlled) regarding the introduction of a new order (number 38 of Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers) on “Certain Issues Strengthening Ukraine’s National Security Level” between the “Anti-terrorist Operation” zone and adjacent areas under government-control, that came into effect on 10 February. In the Luhansk region, the new order only adds two new crossing points: Novoaidar (57km north of Luhansk, government-controlled) and Makarove (26km north-east of Luhansk, government-controlled). The interlocutor told the SMM that the new order does not change crossing procedures.
At 10:35hrs between the villages of Tsarivka and Dememkove (50km and 52km north-west of Luhansk respectively, government-controlled), the SMM heard outgoing and incoming heavy artillery, MLRS and mortars from the south and south-west of its position. En route back to Novoaidar from 12:15-12:25hrs the SMM heard sustained outgoing MLRS, artillery and mortars coming from the south-west at an unknown distance.
The director of a boarding school (Shkola Internat) in Sievierodonetsk (90km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled) told the SMM on 9 February that 53 unaccompanied children (26 girls and 27 boys, aged from 2-17), out of 100 evacuated (from areas along the contact line in Luhansk region), have arrived in Sievierodonetsk. The director told the SMM that some of the children will soon travel onward to Odessa (see SMM Daily Report of 5 February). Other children will soon reunite with their parents in areas not experiencing conflict. The director’s main concern about the displaced children is the “double trauma” of separation from their parents and other effects of conflict on them.
On 10 February, at 10:10hrs, whilst waiting in a line at a check point, the SMM observed four Ukrainian Armed Forces 122mm self-propelled-guns (SPG) 2S1 Gvozdivka, accompanied by three covered trucks and one command and control vehicle, passing a checkpoint on the main road between Sievierodonetsk (90km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled) and Novoaidar (57km north of Luhansk, government-controlled) heading in the direction of Sievierodonetsk.
The SMM also continued monitoring the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.