Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 15 May 2015
This report is for the media and the 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 security considerations.* The SMM observed continued violations of the ceasefire near Shyrokyne, Donetsk airport, and Luhansk.
The SMM continued to observe ceasefire violations in the hotspots of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), in and around Donetsk airport (“Donetsk People’s Republic” - “DPR”-controlled, 12km north-west of Donetsk city centre), and in the government-controlled area north-west of Luhansk. Over a period of more than four hours, from 13:07 until 17:30hrs, the SMM at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre) heard and saw fire from artillery, mortar, anti-aircraft, light-weapons, and small-arms.
The area around Shyrokyne remained tense, though the SMM observed less violence than in previous days, with only two instances of fire from an automatic grenade launcher and from an 82mm mortar. Additionally, the SMM Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) also observed four burning houses in Shyrokyne.
In Luhansk region, the SMM noted the limited use of artillery at Myhailivka (government-controlled, 44km north-west of Luhansk) and at Kriakivka (government-controlled, 34km north-west of Luhansk).
Despite claims that withdrawal of heavy weapons was completed, the SMM teams and SMM UAV observed the following weapons movements-presence in areas that are in violation of the Minsk withdrawal lines. Specifically on both sides of the contact line in the area north-east of Mariupol – in government-controlled area eight tanks (unknown type), and in “DPR”-controlled area ten tanks (unknown type). In addition to heavy weapons in the security zone, the SMM UAV also observed a concentration of military hardware including 12 infantry fighting vehicles in the area of Bezimenne (“DPR”-controlled, 30km east of Mariupol).
In the city of Kolomyia (60km south-east of Ivano-Frankivsk), the SMM met with the chief of the city police on 15 May. The chief noted that the number of illegal weapons in the area had increased due to the return of demobilized participants in combat operations. Since the beginning of the year, police had seized six sets of fire arms, including four with ammunition, and explosives from the conflict zone. The interlocutor indicated he expected that the number of small arms and light weapons in the district would continue to increase.
In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a court hearing in a case involving a former Kharkiv Berkut (special police) commander who was detained a month ago and is suspected of killing three persons and causing injuries to up to 60 persons in Krepostnyi pereulok in Kyiv on 18 February 2014. The accused’s pre-trial detention was continued after his lawyer unsuccessfully attempted to have him released based upon what she described as improper identification of the accused.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Odessa, 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. The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the cease-fire does not hold everywhere.
- On 15 May at 10:21hrs, at the government-controlled checkpoint two kilometres north-east of Makarove (government-controlled, 19km north-east of Luhansk), personnel of the Ukrainian Border Guard asked for the nationalities of every SMM patrol member, which he wrote down in his log book in addition to the plate numbers of the vehicles. The overall delay to the monitoring team was five minutes.