Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 19 February 2015
The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements”. The SMM, based on its monitoring – which was restricted by third parties and by security considerations – noted a limited number of ceasefire violations in the Luhansk region and heard intense outgoing shelling in Donetsk city.
The SMM visited the Headquarters of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) temporarily relocated to Soledar (government-controlled, 77km north of Donetsk). Officers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces were present with members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The incident log included 70 ceasefire violations from 18 February 08:00hrs to 19 February 08:00hrs. Most violations included the use of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), heavy artillery and mortars. Donetsk airport, with 45 recorded incidents, was the hardest hit according to the records in the log. The “DPR” and “LPR” members said to the SMM that they have started to withdraw military hardware from the line of contact.
In Mospyne (“DPR”-controlled, 12km south-east of Donetsk), the “mayor” said to the SMM that the situation had been better since the ceasefire but there are concerns within the population that it will not hold. The acting “DPR” military commander of the area said that the security situation was calm. At 11:20hrs the SMM heard three distant explosions for which it could not determine an accurate location.
In Makiivka (“DPR”-controlled, 15km east-north-east of Donetsk), between 10:05 and 10:45hrs, the SMM heard two salvos of MLRS, of approximately 15 to 20 rockets each, outgoing from one kilometre north of its position. At Yunokomunarivsk (“DPR”-controlled, 45km north-north-east of Donetsk), between 10:00 and 10:40hrs, the SMM heard explosions of unknown origin from an approximate direction between north-north-west and north-east. While at the Makiivka hospital, the SMM heard a salvo of outgoing MLRS, of approximately 10 rockets, but was unable to determine distance or direction.
In Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 43km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard numerous and regular explosions at an average rate of approximately one every ten seconds between 12:20 and 13:50hrs originating from between 20-40km north or north-east of its position. Later in Yenakieve (“DPR”-controlled, 38km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed three T-72 tanks positioned near residential buildings and an additional two T-72 the first of which was heading south on the road to Yenakieve while the second was heading west on highway H21.
At the “DPR” checkpoint at the junction of the roads H15 and H20 (“DPR”-controlled, 6km south of Donetsk), the SMM observed two T-64 tanks as well as a third T-64 tank at the “DPR” checkpoint near Kreminets (“DPR”-controlled, 12km south-west of Donetsk). While in Krasnohorivka, the SMM heard 12 shellings originating from 10-15km to the north-east of its position and constant incoming artillery or mortar fire impacting 4-10km to the north-north-east of its position from 12:18 to 13:12hrs.
At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Novobakhmutivka (government-controlled, 22km north of Donetsk) on road H20 the SMM heard distant shelling from the direction of Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 35km north-east of Donetsk) but could not determine if it was outgoing or incoming.
At 11:06hrs, on road H20 near Krasnohorivka (government-controlled, 22km west of Donetsk), the SMM heard outgoing mortar rounds from a concealed position 50m from its location, but was unable to determine their number or direction. The SMM immediately retreated to a safe distance when it heard four incoming artillery rounds targeting the position from which the mortars had been fired a few minutes before, but was unable to determine their direction.
At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint on the outskirts of Novoselivka Druha (government-controlled, 66km south of Donetsk), the commander denied the SMM access to the centre of the village on the grounds that he did not want the SMM to observe military positions and assets.
Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces officers in the JCCC office at Volnovakha (government-controlled, 47km south-west of Donetsk) said that in their area the JCCC did not record any ceasefire violations from 08:00hrs on 18 February to 08:00hrs on 19 February. When contacted by the SMM, representatives of the JCCC office in Mariupol said that after an overnight lull in Shyrokyne ( “DPR”-controlled, 97km south of Donetsk), mortar shelling resumed in the morning; the JCCC also recorded allegations of mortar shelling in Berdyanske (government-controlled, 100km south of Donetsk).
According to information given to the SMM by the JCCC duty room located in Luhansk city, seven alleged ceasefire violations were registered from 08:00hrs on 18 February to 08:00hrs on 19 February. The SMM was unable to verify this information independently.
Between 10:15 and 10:35hrs, 10km north of Shchastia (government-controlled, 24km north of Luhansk) the SMM heard 28 outgoing Grad launches, 40 outgoing artillery shellings, and at least three to four bursts of heavy machine gun fire at approximately 8-10km to the south-west of its position.
At 11:30hrs, south of Hrechyshkyne (government-controlled, 72km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard sporadic outgoing artillery shelling fired at irregular intervals from 5 to 10km to the south-west of its position, but could not determine the direction of fire.
Between 12:55 and 13:15hrs, while in Irmino (“LPR”-controlled, 65km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 23 outgoing shells from a large calibre howitzer fired from the west of its position at a distance of approximately 5-10km, but could not determine the direction of fire.
For the third time in the last three days, the SMM was denied passage at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Myrna Dolyna (government-controlled, 74km north-west of Luhansk) on the grounds that its travel had not been cleared by a senior military officer and that it was not under military escort. The SMM was forced to turn back.
The SMM visited a hospital in Rozivka (260km south-east of Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia region) where the staff told the SMM that, recently, in two separate cases in Rozivka, a man had been killed and another severely injured by a grenade. They said they had received 27 wounded soldiers since October and that they have only basic medicine and lacked surgical equipment.
The SMM monitored a gathering in front of the Odessa regional administration building with some 200 people, mostly middle-aged men, supporters of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) political party, commemorating the first anniversary of Maidan. The crowd demanded a thorough investigation of the events. Some 60 police were present and the protest ended peacefully.
The SMM monitored a protest with some 60 men and women representing the Professional Union of Health Workers and the NGO Voice in front of the Ivano-Frankivsk regional administration building. The protesters demanded that the city council accelerates the lustration process.
On 18 February, the SMM monitored a march from the Ivano-Frankivsk central square to a memorial cemetery, organized by the Svoboda political party and commemorating the death of Maidan activists one year ago. A column of approximately 600-800 mostly elderly men attended the event which was monitored by some 20 police and ended peacefully.
The SMM monitored a gathering with the participation of around 3,000 male and female students at Lviv’s Taras Shevchenko monument commemorating the anniversary of the first death at Maidan as well as soldiers killed in the east during the conflict. There were seven police officers at the event which ended peacefully. The SMM also observed a ceremony at the regional State Security Service headquarters in Lviv with around 300 participants commemorating the first anniversary of Maidan.
In the streets around Kyiv’s Independence Square (Maidan) the SMM observed men in camouflage fatigues preparing for the Maidan commemorations planned for 20 February. On the west side of Khreshchatyk Street, a group of 20 people, mostly men, protested in front of the Ministry of Agriculture calling for the removal of a director whom they blame for their difficult situation. A bit further towards Maidan, a group of ten uniformed Cossacks were gathering and debating. Across the street, there was a gathering of about 20 Aidar battalion members collecting money for their battalion. In front of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), a group of about 100 persons, mostly men, were protesting against the role of the NBU in particular and the banking system of Ukraine in general. Five police officers were present at the event and it ended peacefully.
The SMM continued monitoring the situation in Kharkiv, Kherson and Chernivtsi.