Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 15 February 2015
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM began monitoring the implementation of the “Package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements”. The SMM monitored the ceasefire which commenced at 00:00hrs on 15 February. It observed that the ceasefire has been adhered to despite some incidents in Sievierodonetsk (90km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled), Luhansk, Debaltseve (80km north of Donetsk) and in Donetsk city.
The chair of the village council in Hranitne (57km south of Donetsk, government-controlled) told the SMM on 15 February that there had been no shelling since the previous afternoon. Residents of “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled villages in Dolyna (18km south of Donetsk), Andriivka (77km south of Donetsk), Chervone (19km south of Donetsk), Lyubivka (19km south of Donetsk), Molodizhne (20km south-south-west of Donetsk) and Olenivka (22km south-south-west of Donetsk) reported no incidents since 00:00hrs on 15 February.
In Novotroitske (32km south of Donetsk, government-controlled), the SMM spoke with residents who reported no shelling in the village after 00:00hrs on 15 February. They reported heavy shelling over the village from both sides on 14 February.
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 “DPR” and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) were present. According to the JCCC HQ log, the number of ceasefire violations for the 08:00-00:00hrs period on 14 February was 101. Almost all violations involved Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), artillery and mortars and were concentrated around Debaltseve and Donetsk airport. From 00:00-08:00hrs on 15 February there were 15 violations, all in Debaltseve or in Chornukhyne (Luhansk region, 8km east of Debaltseve, area of heavy fighting). The Russian Federation Armed Forces Major General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC, considered the ceasefire to be holding, given the significant decrease in military incidents. The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC said the effectiveness of the ceasefire would only be apparent when they could travel to Debaltseve. The SMM was given a draft copy of the Ukrainian Armed Forces proposal for a JCCC Implementation Plan. This plan will be discussed with Russian Federation Armed Forces JCCC representatives, and when a final draft is agreed, it will be sent to the General Staff of both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces.
On 14 February, the SMM spoke separately to an official from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and local police about shelling in Artemivsk (40km north of Donetsk, government-controlled) that happened the previous day. According to all interlocutors, a seven-year old boy was killed when a kindergarten was struck by a shell. A second person was also killed and another six were injured. The SMM were told by these interlocutors that houses, a factory and a school were damaged. The SMM saw several craters, unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and shrapnel consistent with a Smerch rocket (BM-30). The SMM also saw demining personnel working on unexploded cluster sub-munitions found in the ground. Three craters were analysed by the SMM and the direction of fire was established to have been from the south-east of Artemivsk.
On a road between the villages of Stepanivka and Dmitrivka, (87km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled), the SMM passed three civilian propane trucks with white Russian registration plates, travelling west with a “DPR” emergency service escort. Later, the SMM located a newly bulldozed road heading south-east from the village of Dibrivka (95km east of Donetsk, “DPR”-controlled) that turned east towards “LPR”-controlled territory. On this road the SMM saw two civilian gasoline/diesel tankers (one without registration plates; one with Ukrainian plates) accompanied by a military-style jeep containing uniformed persons being driven south-east from Dibrivka.
The SMM encountered two restrictions to their freedom of movement on 15 February in Donetsk region: on the outskirts of Debaltseve by members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and near Vynohradne (101km south-south-west of Donetsk) by Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel.
The SMM spoke to the commander at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint south of Lysychansk (90km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled), who stated that no shelling was heard during the previous night (13/14 February).
On 15 February, at a checkpoint close to the village of Smile (30km west of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled) “LPR” members told the SMM that they had received orders from their commander to comply with the ceasefire. They told the SMM that onward travel towards Lysychansk should be avoided due to safety reasons. Later, in the town of Frunze (46km north-west of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled), the commander of a checkpoint told SMM that during the night of 14-15 February there was no shelling.
In Luhansk city on 15 February, the SMM observed the arrival of the fourteenth humanitarian aid shipment from the Russian Federation. The SMM witnessed the arrival of 19 trucks at two locations (12 at a former confectionery factory and seven at the bread factory). The SMM were refused entrance by guards at the bread factory, but were given access to the confectionery factory to see the unloading and warehousing of numerous packages. Those who unloaded the goods stated that everything they offloaded was foodstuffs. According to them, medical aid and construction materials were delivered to other locations in Luhansk.
On 14 February, the SMM met with the local commander of a Cossack group in Stakhanov (50km west of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled) who claimed there is a severe water shortage in the towns of Stakhanov, Brianka (49km west of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled), Alchevsk (40km south-east of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled), and Almazna (55km east of Luhansk, “LPR”-controlled) as the pipeline serving these areas was cut off on February 11. The interlocutor claimed this was not due to shelling. According to him, the water is piped to these locations from Lysychansk (90km north-west of Luhansk, government-controlled).
The SMM visited the site of an explosion at an electricity supply substation at Zelenyi Kolodez (29km south-east of Kharkiv). The substation provided electricity to the network and to nearby railway tracks. An electrician on duty informed the SMM that at 01:07hrs on 15 February, he heard an explosion and the substation began to malfunction. Two transformers were damaged. No one was injured. There were neither delays to railway traffic nor disruption to the overall supply of electricity (as an alternate source was found). Representatives of the railway police, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the prosecutor’s office are preliminarily investigating the incident as intentional damage to property (enshrined in Article 194 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine in Kharkiv told the SMM that on a daily basis, on average about 20-30 people (all men, aged from 16-60 years old) were being prevented from entering Ukraine from the Russian Federation as they are deemed to be a security risk.
The SMM also continued monitoring the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Lviv and Kyiv.