Spot report by OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM): Renewed intensive fighting around Donetsk city and Shyrokyne, 12 April 2015
At 9.35hrs on 12 April, upon arrival at Donetsk railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM witnessed heavy fighting between “DPR” and the Ukrainian Armed Forces in areas near the city visible from its position. Both the Ukrainian Armed Forces representative and the Russian Federation representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM that the Ukrainian side (assessed to be the Right Sector volunteer battalion) earlier had made an offensive push through the line of contact towards Zhabunki (“DPR”-controlled, 14km west-north-west of Donetsk), but the SMM was not able to verify this.
The SMM observed that an intensive armed clash was underway with the use of tanks, heavy artillery, automatic grenade launchers, mortars, heavy machine-guns, and small arms and light weapons (SALW). From its arrival at 9.35 to 15:00hrs, the SMM observed and recorded 1,166 explosions, caused mainly by artillery and mortar shell strikes. The SMM assessed that weapons with a calibre larger than 100mm were used by both sides during the fighting.
The SMM observed shelling and/or SALW fire outgoing from the following locations: Kyivskyi district (“DPR”-controlled, 7km west-north-west of Donetsk); Kuibyshevskyi district (“DPR”-controlled, 7km west-north-west of Donetsk); a forested area one kilometre south-east of Spartak (“DPR”-controlled, 10km north-west of Donetsk); the area of “Ventstvol” mine (government-controlled, 12km north-west of Donetsk); and Butorskaya mine (“DPR”-controlled, 12.5km north-west of Donetsk).
The SMM observed that the following locations were subjected to incoming shelling: Opytne (government-controlled, 14km north-west of Donetsk); the radio tower at Donetsk airport (“DPR”-controlled, 11km north-west of Donetsk); Pisky (government-controlled, 11km north-west of Donetsk); Zhabunki; the Volvo Centre (“DPR”-controlled, 12km west-north-west of Donetsk); Kyievskyi district; and Spartak.
The SMM was in contact with the JCCC throughout the day and was informed that the JCCC attempted several times to mediate observation of the ceasefire, but was unsuccessful. Fighting was on-going at the time of the submission of this spot report from the field at 18:12hrs.
Also on 12 April, from an observation point located in the eastern outskirts of Berdianske (government-controlled, 19km east of Mariupol, 1.5km west of Shyrokyne) between 17:45 and 18:00hrs, the SMM heard 25 incoming mortar rounds it assessed were fired from “DPR” positions in the east, impacting one kilometre north of the SMM’s position, on Ukrainian Armed Forces positions in western Shyrokyne. Between 18:00 and 18:25hrs, the SMM heard another 24 incoming mortar rounds impacting two kilometres from its position, near the E58 road. From 18:05 to 18:25hrs, the SMM observed 30 mortar rounds fired from a Ukrainian Armed Forces position along the Sea of Azov coast in southern Berdianske, 400m south-east of the SMM’s position. Following a lull until 18:50hrs, “DPR” artillery from the north-north-east targeted these Ukrainian Armed Forces positions with salvos, probably 122mm howitzers. The SMM observed splashes in the Sea of Azov. The SMM departed at 19:00hrs but continued to hear artillery fire. The artillery fire was heard and shook buildings across Mariupol; it ended at 20:25hrs.
On 12 April, the SMM was repeatedly denied access to the village of Shyrokyne.