Spot report by Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, 9 March 2015: Local cease-fire holding in Kominternove enables de-mining exercise
This report is for the media and general public.
On 9 March 2015, the SMM facilitated the demining of the village of Kominternove (88km south-east of Donetsk) by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Kominternove is located in between territory controlled by the government and areas controlled by “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and as a result has been subject to constant shelling since the beginning of the conflict. Many unexploded tank and mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), 220mm rockets and burned tanks can be found throughout the village, including the yard of a local school and kindergarten. Previously, the SMM had seen children playing near the unexploded ordnance (UXO), and had informed Ukrainian authorities (see SMM Daily Report 29 December).
Since November 2014, the SMM has been working to facilitate dialogue amongst local commanders of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, “DPR” and Ukrainian and Russian Armed Forces staff of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), as well as local residents (see SMM Daily of 14 January). Finally on 3 March, all parties met – facilitated by the SMM – and agreed the terms, exact locations, composition of the demining team and date for demining Kominternove.
The demining by the Ukrainian Armed Forces started at 10:30hrs on 9 March, in the presence of “DPR”, JCCC staff and local residents, and was monitored by the SMM. The operation was conducted in three stages: first, several UXOs in different areas of the village were detonated; second, unexploded ammunition left in the village and in its outskirts, plus tank shells and illumination rockets, were also detonated, and third, the demining experts collected ammunition from local residents who had taken it home to keep it out of the public space.
The parties also agreed on future endeavours, including towing of the two tanks in the kindergarten’s yard, and a joint demining project in government-controlled Pavlopil (80km south of Donetsk).