Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 10 April 2015
This report is for the media and general public.
The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements”. Its monitoring was restricted by third parties and by security considerations* (Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.) The situation around Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne remained tense. The SMM observed several demonstrations in Luhansk city, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Ivano-Frankivsk.
On 9 and 10 April, the SMM, jointly with the Ukrainian Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and the Russian Colonel-General, Representative of the Russian Federation Armed Forces to the JCCC, as well as members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) visited Shyrokyne* (20km east of Mariupol). The SMM observed that the town and its infrastructure were heavily damaged and a large number of houses destroyed beyond repair. The SMM also observed several unexploded ordnances in the streets and anti-tank mines placed on a bridge.
On 8 April at 16:25hrs, at an observation point in Berdianske (government-controlled, 2km west of Shyrokyne, 20km east of Mariupol), the SMM heard sounds consistent with 30 rounds of outgoing anti-aircraft gun, east of the SMM’s position, shortly followed by small-arms fire at approximately 2km east of its position. Between 16:30 and 16:55hrs, the SMM heard 45 incoming and outgoing 82mm mortar shells, east-north-east of its position. At 16:55hrs, the SMM saw three incoming mortar rounds which exploded in air, at 1-2km east of its position. At 17:00hrs, the SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces vehicle with a mounted anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23), travelling west. Between 17:16 and 17:26hrs, the SMM observed 12 impacts of mortar shells on the highway E-58, 1.5km north of its position, and 12 outgoing artillery rounds fired eastwards from approximately 2km north-north-west of its position. At 17:40hrs, the SMM heard two undetermined shellings, originating from north-east, towards north-west of its position. At 17:51hrs, the SMM heard heavy machine gun fire and mortar shelling, originating 1km north of the SMM’s position, towards the east. At 18:00hrs, the SMM heard eight 120mm mortar shells being fired from east to west. Between 18:10 and 18:30hrs, the SMM heard five outgoing mortar shells, originating approximately 250m west of the SMM’s position, towards the east. On 9 April, at 15:40hrs, the SMM heard one incoming mortar shell impacting north-north-west of the SMM’s position. On 9 April, between 09:30 and 09:41hrs, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 4-5km east of its position. At 16:48hrs, the SMM heard one sniper round shot in the direction of Shyrokyne and at 17:55hrs one outgoing mortar round.
On 9 April, the SMM observed anti-aircraft firing in the vicinity of Mariupol airport and decided not to put the unarmed/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into the air. On 10 April, a UAV of the SMM was jammed several times during the flight, which was therefore aborted.
On 10 April, at the destroyed new terminal of Donetsk airport, between 11:32 and 12:45hrs the SMM heard four explosions 5-10km south-south-east; 26 explosions 5-10km north-north-east; one explosion 3-5km east; heavy machine gun fire 1-2km north; one incoming shelling 3km south and sporadic bursts of small-arms fire 2-3km west of its position. At 12:59hrs, thethe SMM heard one explosion to the west and, between 13:04 and 13:08hrs, nine light weapons rounds fired 1-2km west of its position. While on the site it observed a dead body covered with canvas.
On 9 April, while at the JCCC observation point at the Donetsk railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk), between 11:50 and 12:03hrs, the SMM heard seven explosions but could not ascertain any further details due to strong wind. At 11:58hrs, while in Reviakina Street in Donetsk city, the SMM heard two explosions originating from approximately 5-10km west of its position. At the same place on 10 April, between 10:04 and 14:08hrs, the SMM heard 33 explosions and sporadic bursts of heavy machine gun and small-arms fire 3-7km west-north-west, north-west, north and north-north-east of its position. Between 14:09 and 16:13hrs, the SMM heard several bursts of small-arms fire originating north-east and south-west, 12 instances of shelling 3-6km south-west, six rounds of incoming and outgoing light-mortar rounds 3-6km north-west, 11 explosions 4-8 km north-east, 42 explosions 5-8 km south-south-east of its position.
On 9 April, while in the Voroshylivskyi district of Donetsk city, between 21:00 and 22:00hrs the SMM heard multiple incoming and outgoing artillery and mortar rounds and sporadic small-arms fire north of its position. From 22:00 to 24:00hrs in the Tekstilshchik micro-district of Donetsk city (“DPR”-controlled, 12km south-south-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard multiple explosions 7-12km north of its position.
On 10 April in Spartak (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk) between 12:13 and 12:16hrs, the SMM heard two explosions and, between 12:19 and 12:33hrs it heard heavy machine gun and small-arms fire approximately 2km north-north-west of its position.
On 10 April, while in Zhabunky (“DPR”-controlled, 10km north-west of Donetsk), between 13:28 and 13:32hrs, the SMM heard three outgoing artillery rounds 2-4km west-north-west of its position.
On 10 April, while in the Budionivskyi district (Donetsk city centre, “DPR”-controlled) between 09:55 and 10:11hrs, the SMM heard seven explosions approximately 10km north-north-east of its position.
On 10 April, while on the road M03 1km north of Pisky (government-controlled, 10km north-west of Donetsk), between11:33 and 11:35hrs, the SMM heard 30 outgoing rounds of light weapons fire 1km north-north-east and between 14:08 and 14:15hrs, two incoming mortar rounds 2km north-north-east of its position.
On 10 April, at 2km north-west of Butovska (government-controlled, 10km north-west of Donetsk), between 15:50 and 15:55hrs, the SMM heard 22 explosions estimated to have been caused by 40mm grenades fired from the direction of Butovska.
On 9 April the SMM visited the government-controlled villages of Bugas, Novognativka and Mykolaivka (46km, 42km and 41km south-west of Donetsk). Local residents in Novognativka and Mykolaivka expressed concern that at times they would have to wait for hours at the Volnovakha checkpoint (government-controlled, 53km south-west of Donetsk) for crossing. While in Novognativka, between 12:20 and 12:25hrs, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at the south-east. On 10 April, at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Volnovakha the SMM observed over 80 civilian vehicles waiting in a queue, and a sign reading “movement is allowed between 06:00 and 20:00hrs with permits only”.
On 10 April at 12:09hrs, the SMM was stopped at a Ukrainian Armed Forces mobile checkpoint 3km west of Hranitne (government-controlled, 57km south of Donetsk) and, while the patrol leader was outside of the vehicle negotiating passage, a 120mm mortar round impacted approximately 150m from the SMM’s vehicle.
On 10 April, between 12:25 and 12:40hrs, in Myrne (government-controlled, 60km south of Donetsk) the SMM heard 11 rounds of incoming and outgoing shelling but could not ascertain additional details.
On 9 April, the SMM visited Donetskyi (“Luhansk People’s Republic”(“LPR”)-controlled, 50km north-west of Luhansk) where local “authorities” said that the village had suffered from small-arms fire and artillery shelling during the previous night and day. The interlocutors showed to the SMM the remnants of a 120mm calibre mortar shell, and two tank shells (one unexploded), estimated to be 120mm. They also showed two impact sites, located around 3m from residential buildings. The SMM spoke to ten female local residents who voiced their concern over the deteriorating security situation in the village and increased shelling during the last week. While in Donetskyi, the SMM heard several mortar detonations coming from north of its position.
On 9 April, at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint located before the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed that the checkpoint personnel was verifying documents of a large group of people. Three residents told the SMM that the checkpoint personnel deny access to Stanytsia Luhanska to people whose identification documents were issued in territories not controlled by the government. An elderly woman said she had been unable to visit the grave of her recently deceased husband for the same reason. The SMM could not verify this information.
On 10 April, while at the destroyed bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska, between 13:45 and 14:20hrs, the SMM heard small-arms fire from the south-west.
On 10 April, the SMM visited Rodakove (“LPR”-controlled, 21km west of Luhansk) and observed that a temporary bridge had been built next to the bridge destroyed eight months ago and was being used by civilian traffic.
On 10 April, the SMM observed a peaceful march against fascism in Luhansk city with some 150 young women and men, escorted by armed members of the “LPR”.
On 9 April, the SMM re-visited four Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas that are compliant with the respective withdrawal lines, and was able to confirm that all previously recorded weapons were on site (with all serial numbers consistent with the previous visits). On 10 April, the SMM visited an “LPR” holding area for the first time and recorded the serial number of weapons. The site was compliant with the relevant withdrawal lines. On 10 April, the SMM also revisited two “DPR” holding areas and observed that all previously recorded weapons were on site.
The SMM observed several movements and presence of heavy weapons. On 9 April, near Olenivka (“DPR”-controlled, 22km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM observed one 100mm main battle tank hidden in a forest. On 10 April, near Volnovakha, the SMM observed one unmarked tank (T-72) mounted on a truck with a Ukrainian flag moving north as well as a stationary tank of unknown type facing north. The SMM also observed a military convoy near Grabove (“DPR”-controlled, 36km east of Donetsk) consisting of 10 armoured personnel carriers (4 MTLB and 6 BTR-60) and 14 military trucks (Ural). Near Shakhtarsk (“DPR”-controlled, 48km east of Donetsk) the SMM observed seven tanks (T-72) heading east, and near Zuhres (“DPR”-controlled, 32km east of Donetsk) another six tanks (T64).
Following up on media reports, the SMM was informed by the prosecutor’s office that a 43- year-old male pro-Russian activist was detained in Kharkiv. He is accused of causing public unrest during the attempted take over of the regional administration building on 1 March 2014. The prosecutor’s office said that this was the 64th pro-Russian activist arrested in Kharkiv following events of March/April 2014.
On 9 April, the SMM monitored a pro-unity rally in front of Kharkiv’s regional administration building, with 70 participants voicing their support for the ongoing vote by the regional administration on the labelling of the Russian Federation as an aggressor. A group of five pro-Russian activists had a heated verbal confrontation with the participants and later was escorted by the police to a nearby metro station. One hundred riot police officers were present at the event, which ended peacefully following the announcement of the vote labelling the Russian Federation as an aggressor.
On 10 April, the SMM observed around a hundred pro-unity activists, men and women of different ages, on Kharkiv’s Lenin Avenue placing a Ukrainian flag at the top of a soviet-era monument commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany. The activists said this was a response to the recent explosion in Kharkiv. (See SMM Daily Report 7 April). 15 police officers were present at the event, which ended peacefully.
The SMM monitored a press conference of the State Security Service (SBU) in Kyiv regarding the recent arrest of 29 members of a separatist organization planning the declaration of the “Odessa People’s Republic”. The Head of the SBU said that the organization has a military wing and consists of several subversive groups who had studied the infrastructure of Odessa city and Odessa region. Explosives, maps, schemes, flags and propaganda materials were seized during the arrest.
On 10 April, the SMM monitored events commemorating the anniversary of the liberation of Odessa in 1944, taking place around the Alley of Glory and the obelisk to the unknown sailor in Odessa city. Around 300 people, mostly young and middle aged men from several pro-Maidan groups were present. On the other side of the square, about 150 anti-Maidan activists, mainly middle aged and elderly females, gathered. A third group, composed of about 80 war veterans, pensioners and former officers of the Soviet Army, mainly elderly males, was present but did not take sides. The pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan groups remained in their positions and the police allowed them to proceed to the obelisk separately. The SMM observed a short scuffle between a total of 10 young people from both sides, which concluded with the police separating the two groups. 300 police officers were present at the event, which ended peacefully.
On 9 April in Ivano-Frankivsk, the SMM monitored a protest organized by the “Pravyy Sektor” (Right Sector) and the non-governmental organization Self-Defence. Around 200 people, including ten women, gathered at the main square. The regional Right Sector leader called for honouring the “Heavenly Hundred” and he and the Self-Defence co-ordinator also called for swift lustration. The protestors proceeded to the Department of Justice where they entered the building and forcefully brought out the head of the justice department. They accused him of registering the Opposition Block in the region, placed him in a trash-bin, threw eggs at him and poured ethyl green over him before dispersing. Ten police officers were present but did not intervene.
On 9 April, the SMM observed three protests in Kyiv city centre, all of which ended peacefully. At one of them, 27 demonstrators demanded that the Parliament be cleansed of corrupt politicians and a large banner called for the resignation of the acting head of the National Regulatory Commission on Energy and Utilities. Ten police officers were present at the event. The second one was a picket of some 300 activists, mostly middle-aged men and women, demanding that the Parliament review a law on restructuring obligations for loans in foreign currency. Around 100 police officers were present at the event. An additional 24 buses with police troops were parked in the vicinity. A third picket with around 350 protestors, equally men and women, was organized by the public initiative “White Drive” in front of the Presidential Administration building. The protestors demanded the resignation of Kyiv city mayor and the reform of the city’s administrative structure. Around 80 police officers were present at the event.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Chernivtsi and Lviv.
* Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement:
The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by third parties and security considerations including the lack of information on whereabouts of landmines.
- On 9 April, when attempting to reach the border crossing point in Izvaryne (“LPR”-controlled, 60km south-east of Luhansk) the SMM was stopped by a member of the “border guards” approximately 1km before the border and was not allowed to proceed.
- On 9 April, personnel at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Stanytsia Luhanska searched the SMM’s vehicles after which the SMM was allowed to proceed.
- On 9 April, when the SMM attempted to visit a Ukrainian Armed Forces holding area but was not allowed to proceed beyond a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint located before the site due to demining activities.
- On 10 April at 12:01hrs, 3km west of Hranitne, the SMM was stopped by five members of a mobile Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint who did not allow the SMM to proceed to Hranitne due to recent shelling.
- On 10 April, at an “LPR” checkpoint near Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk) the checkpoint personnel asked for the SMM staff’s identification cards and searched the SMM vehicles. The SMM was allowed to pass after a few minutes.
- On 10 April, at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM was stopped for almost 20 minutes. The checkpoint personnel informed the SMM that their staff was busy with an on-going demining exercise. The checkpoint personnel then asked for the nationalities, identification card and passports of the SMM patrol members. Upon their return, the SMM was stopped for about 20 minutes again at the same checkpoint and asked for documents and nationalities following which it was allowed to proceed.
- On 10 April, at three separate Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Volnovakha (51km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM was stopped for five, eight and 19 minutes respectively. At the first two checkpoints the personnel noted the license plates of the SMM, while at the third checkpoint they also checked identification documents and enquired about the nationalities of patrol members.
- On 10 April, at a Ukrainian Armed Forces mobile checkpoint on the road H20 at the junction towards Anadol (government-controlled, 40km north of Mariupol) an SMM patrol was held for 20 minutes until all documents were checked and the patrol was allowed to pass.