Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 2 June 2015
This report is provided 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 significant caution regarding security considerations. The SMM observed continuing ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport. The SMM observed the exhumation of human remains in “LPR”-controlled Raivka and Zhovte.
In Minsk the SMM Deputy Chief Monitor chaired the Trilateral Contact Group's Working Group on Security. The participants intensively discussed security issues. The Working Group established consensus on a number of issues, including on unconditional support by all sides to the SMM’s freedom of movement.
The SMM observed continuous ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 12km north-west of Donetsk). On 2 June, while at the JCCC observation point at the Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre) the SMM heard a total of 126 explosions. Between 12:19 and 13:01hrs, the SMM heard 64 distant explosions, barely audible, from the south-south-west. Between 13:26 and 17:15hrs the SMM heard a total of 62 explosions and 20 bursts of small arms fire.
In line with current security considerations, the SMM did not visit the area of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). The mayor of Shyrokyne informed the SMM that two civilians had been injured as a result of shelling in the village on 2 June.
Based on information received from the “DPR”, the SMM monitored three sites in Donetsk city’s Kirovskyi district (“DPR”-controlled, 6.2km south-west of Donetsk city centre) where it observed fresh impacts on each site. On the first site the SMM observed an impact on the north side of the building on its second floor. On the second site, the SMM, based on an impact analysis, its angle and diameter, estimated that an artillery round of a calibre of at least 122mm incoming from the north-north-west, had penetrated the asphalt but did not detonate. On the third site, the SMM observed a crater which, based on its angle, it estimated to be from an unspecified artillery piece incoming from the same north-north-west direction. Local residents said to the SMM that on 1 June they heard approximately ten mostly incoming explosions between 19:00 and 19:30hrs.
At the JCCC headquarters in Soledar (government-controlled, 77km north-north-east of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Armed Forces Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC informed the SMM that on 1 June the situation had significantly deteriorated and eight Ukrainian Armed Forces servicepersons were wounded in action. The Russian Federation Armed Forces Colonel-General, senior representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC was absent. The SMM was presented with two log files, compiled independently by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces officers at the JCCC; both contained 76 violations, but with significantly different attributions.
The SMM visited the Uspenka (“DPR”-controlled, 97km southeast of Donetsk) border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation where it observed 108 civilian vehicles waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. The SMM interviewed three outbound travellers from Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk), who all stated that they were leaving to seek work in the Russian Federation.
The SMM monitored the exhumation of bodies, presumed to be from government armed forces in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled territories in the vicinity of Raivka and Zhovte (“LPR”-controlled, 18km and 19km north-west of Luhansk). The exhumation was conducted by the Afghan War Veterans Association and two “LPR” “police investigators”. At a site near Raivka the excavation team exhumed one body dressed in what appeared to be Ukrainian Armed Forces uniform. At another site near Zhovte, the team found human remains including bones, as well as a boot and pieces of a uniform. The SMM later observed the body found at Raivka being transferred past the last “LPR”-controlled checkpoint near government-controlled Shchastia (20km north-west of Luhansk) and subsequently observed it being transported away in a refrigerated truck under escort by Ukrainian Armed Forces. The exhumation will resume on 3 June.
The SMM met the “deputy chief of police” in “LPR”-controlled Rovenky (55km south of Luhansk), who said to the SMM that there were currently 160 “police officers” covering Rovenky and the villages of the district. He said that crime rates were below pre-conflict levels but added that cases related to domestic violence and neglect of children was common.
The SMM observed a live-fire exercise in the vicinity of Trokhizbenka (government-controlled, 33km north-west of Luhansk, 1km north of the contact line) during which it identified the use of a 125mm T64 main battle tank gun, 82mm mortars, and weapons of more than 100mm calibre, anti-tank guided missiles, anti-tank grenade launchers, 30mm guns, and small arms. All the weapons were stationary and the fire was directed away from the contact line.
The SMM visited seven Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, all in compliance with the Minsk withdrawal lines, and noted that on some locations some of the heavy weapons previously recorded were missing; two multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS, 122mm BM-21 Grad) on one site and five MLRS (122mm BM-21 Grad) on another.
Despite claims that heavy weapons have been withdrawn, the SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) observed one main battle tank (MBT) in “DPR”-controlled areas and two MBTs in government-controlled areas.
The SMM met with chiefs of police in Bereznehuvate and Kazanka districts (74km and 130km north of Kherson). Both characterized the overall situation in the districts as calm noting that the most common crime in the area was theft and light bodily injuries, which are related to poverty and high unemployment. They also expressed concerns about unclear criteria of the application of the law on lustration, which may cause the loss of qualified professionals from the system, e.g. through early retirement.
On 1 June, the SMM monitored a protest in Lviv against soaring utility prices. The event was organized by the non-governmental organization Autonomous Resistance and gathered approximately 60 people, mostly young men. Protesters met at the city centre and marched towards the regional administration building waving banners reading “Gas plus 280 per cent salaries minus 300 per cent” and chanting “Power to the Millions, not to Millionaires”. Some 50 police were present at the event which ended peacefully.
The SMM monitored in front of the Lviv regional administration building, a demonstration of some 150 people, mostly women between 30 and 60 and former staff of the Lviv Regional Perinatal Centre which had been shut down in 2013 for renovations which are still not completed. The protestors denounced the lack of progress, which they believe was linked to funds misappropriation. According to the protestors, 500 staff remained unemployed as a result. The SMM observed that officials from the Lviv Regional Administration met with protesters promising a quick resolution on the issue. Ten police officers were present at the event which ended peacefully.
In Kyiv the SMM observed a protest attended by 20 people, mostly young women, demanding action against corruption. Some participants wore T-shirts with slogans stating that corruption was an endemic problem and banners threatening to start another “Maidan”. The SMM observed the presence of ten police officers, 20 National Guards as well as twenty buses of National Guards on standby in the vicinity. The demonstration ended peacefully.
The SMM also observed a gathering of about 200 elderly people, mostly women, at Kyiv’s Independence Square (Maidan), protesting against corruption and lack of reforms. Only regular traffic police were in the vicinity and the event ended peacefully.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Odessa, Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk.
* Restrictions on SMM monitoring: 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 ceasefire does not hold everywhere.
- The SMM was stopped at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Volnovakha (government-controlled, 35km south-west of Donetsk) on road H20 and was asked for the nationality of the patrol leader. The SMM was allowed to proceed after the SMM patrol leader presented her identity card and the SMM vehicles were inspected.
- In Andriivka (government-controlled, 57km south of Donetsk) the SMM attempted to visit a fuel depot, which could potentially be used for military purposes, but entry was denied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The SMM observed several mine signs in the vicinity of this depot.
- The SMM UAV experienced temporary jamming in the area between the “DPR”-controlled villages of Sakhanka and Zaichenko (24 and 25km east of Mariupol).
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.