Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 7 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 security considerations*. The SMM observed ongoing ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport. In line with current security considerations, the SMM did not conduct monitoring activities in the area of Shyrokyne. An SMM UAV spotted a large concentration of weapons in the vicinity of “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske. The SMM observed the Equality March in Kyiv on 6 June.
The SMM observed ongoing ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 12km north-west of Donetsk city centre). Over a period of two days, 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 a total of at least 111 explosions caused by incoming and outgoing artillery and mortar fire, as well as small arms and light weapons (SALW) fire including heavy machine gun fire. The SMM concluded that the explosions occurred at locations to the west, north-west and north and at distances ranging between 2 and 8km from its position.
Furthermore, on 6 June an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) observed a burning building in central Donetsk.
On 7 June, while at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in the vicinity of government-controlled Marinka (23km west, south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard and saw SALW fire (7-10 single shots and at least 3-4 bursts) incoming from a north-easterly direction and impacting 3-5m next to SMM vehicles in sand bags and concrete blocks. The soldiers laid down for cover. The SMM immediately left the scene. No injuries or damage were reported.
An SMM UAV spotted a concentration of 40 military-type trucks in Petrovskyi district (“DPR”-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk city centre).
On 6 June in Petrovskyi district, the SMM spoke to a group of citizens from “DPR”-controlled Trudovskyi sub-district residing close to Petrovskoho Street (1.5km east of Marinka). One female interlocutor said that the sub-district had been subjected to heavy shelling on 3 June. The SMM met with five female and three male residents who said that no humanitarian aid had been delivered to that area due to the security situation. According to them no ambulance would drive into the area in the event of an emergency, and there was no possibility for their children to attend a summer school outside the affected area.
In Kuibyshevskyi district (“DPR”-controlled, 10km west-north-west of Donetsk city centre) the SMM monitored damage caused by shelling on 6 June reported by both sides of the JCCC and “DPR”. The SMM examined several impacts in the area. The first impact was at a flat located on the top floor of a building in Kremlynskaya Street. The roof of the building was damaged by an explosion. The SMM found inside the flat the remnants of a projectile, specifically the tail of a 120mm mortar round. The SMM could not determine the origin, distance or direction of the mortar. The other impact area was located behind another building on the same street, where a mortar round had hit the tarmac sidewalk. The SMM conducted crater analysis, determining that it was caused by a mortar round (120mm) from a north-westerly direction.
At the train station in Khartsyzk (“DPR”-controlled, 25km east of Donetsk) the SMM observed a train (no locomotive) consisting of eight empty freight wagons, two sealed 20-foot containers, one flat wagon loaded with round timber. According to SMM’s observations this is the same type of timber used to reinforce fighting positions.
In line with current security considerations, the SMM did not conduct monitoring activities in the area of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). However, an SMM UAV on 6 June spotted two mortar positions in immediate proximity to civilian houses in “DPR”-controlled areas of the village and the following day a burning building, also in the village itself.
The SMM monitored from a distance of approximately 4km a military training range close to “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk) located on the E50/M03 cross road to the administrative boundary line between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The SMM observed five armed individuals leaving the training centre in a civilian vehicle with bags and personal weapons in the direction of Debaltseve. The SMM saw that at the camp there were a dozen white tents. No military weapons or activity were visible from the SMM observation point. However, at 11:35hrs on 6 June, the SMM heard an incoming explosion (likely mortar or grenade) from a northerly direction.
On 7 June, between 11:15 and 11:25hrs, at the government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) bridge, the SMM heard ten explosions, probably originating from a mortar (82mm calibre). The shells landed approximately 100-500 metres north and south of the SMM’s position in the area around the bridge.
In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Chernihiv battalion personnel serving under the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior informed the SMM that on the evening of 5 June, from 21:00-24:00hrs, there was an exchange of fire between their battalion and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) armed groups. The SMM spoke with three female residents (two young and one elderly) who spoke of the lack of electricity, which caused water supply problems. According to them, for the last seven days there was no electricity and water. They said that residents were using wells and hand pumps to obtain water. According to the interlocutors, the kindergarten was closed, due to the lack of water and electricity.
Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons has been complete, the SMM observed the following weapons movements/presence in areas that are in violation of the Minsk withdrawal lines: in government-controlled areas, 14 main battle tanks (MBTs) and three artillery pieces; and, in “DPR”-controlled areas, 16 MBTs and five artillery pieces.
Of particular note – amongst the weapons observed by SMM UAVs was a concentration at a railway station between the “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske (45km south-east of Donetsk) and Andriivka (45km south-east of Donetsk), namely seven MBTs. In the same area, the UAV spotted 35 military trucks and 25 armoured personnel carriers. Also, of note was a concentration around “DPR”-controlled Oktyabr (85km south of Donetsk), namely, three artillery pieces and two MBTs.
On 6 June, the SMM monitored in the city centre of Lviv two different protests. The first protest was organized by Pravyy Sektor against what they called “misgovernment” of President Poroshenko. Approximately 150 Right Sector supporters participated, mostly young males, of whom around 80 where in military fatigues but unarmed. Pravyy Sektor local leaders demanded from President Poroshenko the disclosure of preliminary results of the investigation of the events on Maidan in Kyiv in 2014, where 100 people lost their lives. They also demanded the legalization of Pravyy Sektor volunteer groups fighting alongside regular Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Anti-Terrorist Operation zone. The SMM observed ten male police officers. The event ended peacefully.
The other protest observed by the SMM in Lviv was against rising living costs. The event was organized by the Svoboda political party. Approximately 200 supporters, evenly mixed in gender, participated. Several activists criticized the government’s handling of the current economic situation in the country, as well as oligarchs’ involvement in ruling Ukraine. The SMM observed 20 male police officers. The event ended peacefully.
On 7 June, the SMM met in Rivne (223km north-east of Lviv) with the local head of Pravyy Sektor, who said his organization had recently issued an ultimatum to all village council heads, heads of district state administration and the regional state administration demanding until 9 June 2015 the demolition of all monuments affiliated with the communist regime. According to him, the demand was in line with a recent bill passed in the Verkhovna Rada against communist symbols. In case the ultimatum is not observed, the Pravyy Sektor would embark on demolishing the monuments itself, the head said.
In Kyiv, the SMM observed on 6 June the venue of the “Equality March" organized by activists of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, in Obolon district. The SMM saw approximately 400 police officers and 35 police buses and 15 other police vehicles. The SMM observed three male individuals (25 to 35 years old) who were being held by police at the venue. The SMM observed a pool of blood and three detonated pyrotechnics. The SMM saw police transporting the three men held, from the scene at 11:50hrs. The SMM did not observe any activists from the LGBT community. According to the organizer of the Equality March to whom the SMM spoke, the participants were attacked during the march by approximately 40 men. The interlocutor suggested the men to be members of “Dynamo Kyiv Ultras” football hooligans. The hooligans had burning flares in their hands and were shooting fireworks in the directions of the march participants. According to the interlocutor the attackers had thrown several home-made firecrackers towards the police and two loud detonations had been heard. The firecrackers seemed to contain metal objects and one device detonated close to a police officer who got seriously injured, the Equality March organizer said.
On 7 June, the SMM spoke with the Head of the Department of Press Communication of the Ministry of Interior, who said that nine male police officers had been wounded at the Equality March. One of the police officers was in a critical condition with a wound in his neck, caused by firecrackers, containing metal objects. According to the interlocutor there had been 2,000 police officers designated to this event and approximately 200 activists participated in the march. She said that the police detained 30 people due to hooliganism. Seven of them are still under arrest. The SMM spoke in Kyiv with the spokesperson of Pravyy Sektor, whom the SMM saw at the venue of the march, who said that 150 members had been present at the venue of the march. According to him Pravyy Sektor members had not participated in the violence on 6 June. The spokesperson confirmed that four members of his party were detained by the police.
On 6 June, the SMM observed approximately 3,000 people (majority women, 15 to 75 years old) marching in Kyiv in opposition to President Poroshenko from Khreshchatyk Street, to European Square and the Parliament. The demonstrators held a large, crudely written banner, calling for the impeachment of the President. The SMM observed 10 police officers. The event lasted for approximately three hours and ended peacefully.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, 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.
- On 7 June the SMM was informed by an “LPR” “mobile border patrol” in “LPR”-controlled Diakove (70km south of Luhansk) of the presence of “subversive groups” and mines in “LPR”-controlled areas towards the Ukraine-Russian Federation international border. The “LPR” members said further movement of the SMM from Diakove towards the border was restricted. The SMM returned to Luhansk.
- An SMM UAV experienced jamming of unspecified time on two occasions: between Dokuchaievsk (30km south, south-east of Donetsk) and Michurine 61km south of Donetsk), both “DPR”-controlled, on 6 June and, the following day in the vicinity of government-controlled Krasnoarmiisk (54km north-east of Donetsk).