Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 14 April 2015
This report is for the media and general public.
For a complete breakdown of recorded violations during the reporting period, see the document here or attached below.
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* – observed ongoing intensive fighting in and around Donetsk airport with a considerable number of ceasefire violations, particularly around Avdiivka. The situation, however, remained relatively calm around Shyrokyne for the second consecutive day, and mostly calm in the rest of the Donetsk region and the Luhansk region.
(* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.)
The SMM observed ongoing intensive fighting in and in areas surrounding “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport (11km north-west of Donetsk), particularly around government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk). Indicative of the intensity of the fighting, the SMM – located at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk) from 13:10 to 19:00hrs on 14 April – heard over 700 explosions, half of which were caused by heavy artillery, tanks, or mortars, either 82mm or 120mm. Meanwhile, “DPR”-controlled Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) remained largely calm for the second consecutive day, as did most of the rest of the Donetsk region and the Luhansk region.
The SMM did, however, hear several explosions whilst in Shyrokyne, one of which caused severe injuries to a Russian journalist, to whom the SMM provided immediate medical assistance. The SMM also heard several bursts of heavy-machine gun and out-going mortar fire. The SMM noted an increased amount of damage to buildings in the village, and much more unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the streets, compared to its last visit to the village on 13 April. The few remaining residents – mostly elderly people – told the SMM that there was no drinking water, electricity or medical supplies available in the village, and food was scarce.
The deputy head doctor at Donetsk Trauma Hospital told the SMM that the hospital currently had 1,883 ambulatory and 633 hospitalized conflict-related patients (including 81 children).
South of “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Uspenka (27km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM witnessed military exercises involving approximately 10 tanks and 30 other vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers (APC) and military-type trucks.
At a press conference in Luhansk – attended by the SMM – the “director” and “chief accountant” of the “LPR” “state bank” said that RUB 45 million had been paid out by the “LPR” to pensioners. In “LPR”-controlled Khrystoforivka (50km south-west of Luhansk), local people told the SMM that the “LPR” had paid pensions to recipients in the village for the month of April.
The headmistress of a school in Khrystoforivka told the SMM that the pre-conflict standard Ukrainian curriculum was used in the school, and that the language of instruction was Ukrainian.
The SMM re-visited two “DPR” and four Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, observing that the majority of weapons previously recorded were in situ, and that their locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. At one of the “DPR” holding areas, however, the SMM noted four 152mm towed howitzers – part of the previously recorded inventory – had been removed. Three 152mm towed artillery pieces – previously recorded at one of the Ukrainian Armed Forced holding areas, and absent also the previous day – were still missing.
Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was completed, the SMM continued to note the presence and movement of heavy weapons in the zone from which they should be withdrawn. Near “DPR”-controlled Hirne (55km east-north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed two T-72 main battle tanks moving west. East of government-controlled Kurakhove, (25km east of Donetsk), the SMM saw an anti-tank missile system mounted on a stationary APC.
At a press conference in Lviv – attended by the SMM – the governor of the Lviv region said the second stage of the fourth wave of mobilisation in the Lviv region had achieved its quota. He suggested that this was due to a mood change in the local population following appeals from clergymen, and media coverage of the conflict in the east. He compared the result with mobilisation efforts in the previous year, which he said had only reached 60 percent of the target.
Vostok SOS – an NGO advocating for the rights of internally displaced persons and other conflict-affected people from eastern Ukraine – showed the SMM in Kyiv its database of hostages and missing persons in the east. It listed 2,528 military personnel – all males – of whom 500 are still being held hostage (245 of whom are wounded), 856 former hostages who have been released, another 766 who were killed or died in captivity, 329 missing, and 77 recently added and still uncategorised. It also listed 359 civilians (approximately 15% female), 63 of whom are still being held in captivity, 51 former hostages who have been released, four who were killed or died in captivity, 233 missing, and eight recently added and still uncategorised. The SMM is not in a position to independently verify this information.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa, Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk.
* 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.
The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the cease-fire does not hold everywhere. For this reason, the SMM requires security guarantees from the “DPR” and “LPR” which are not always provided. Where such guarantees are limited to escorted movements, and escorts are not provided for all planned patrols or are delayed, this also represents a restriction of SMM freedom of movement.
- Close to “LPR”-controlled Molodizhne (62km west of Luhansk), an “LPR” “escort” refused to allow the SMM to proceed along the main road to “LPR”-controlled Brianka (49km west of Luhansk), forcing the patrol instead to take back roads to reach Brianka.
- The SMM was stopped at an “LPR” “customs” checkpoint in Parkhomenko (29km east of Luhansk), and prevented from travelling to “LPR”-controlled Kruzhylivka (35km east of Luhansk).
- The SMM was stopped at an “LPR” mobile checkpoint on the outskirts of “LPR”-controlled Diakove (70km south of Luhansk) and was prevented from entering the village.