Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 10 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”. The SMM, based on its monitoring – which was restricted by third parties and by security considerations* – observed a high level of violence in and around Donetsk airport. SMM UAVs spotted large concentrations of military hardware in “DPR”-controlled areas.
The level of violence in areas in and around the destroyed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (”DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport (12km north-west of Donetsk) remained high, with the SMM observing 299 explosions. Of those, the SMM – positioned at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk) between 7:10 and 11:30hrs – heard the sounds of 216 outgoing and incoming artillery rounds, and the exchange of small-arms (including heavy machinegun) and anti-aircraft fire at locations to its north-west, north-east, north and west. On two separate occasions in the afternoon – over a combined period of two hours – the SMM heard and/or saw 83 explosions, consistent with incoming and outgoing mortar and anti-aircraft fire, 1.8-3km north-north-west and north of its position.
An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) observed an explosion and a burning building in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). The SMM – stationary in Mariupol – also heard a number of explosions, assessed to have emanated from the Shyrokyne area.
In government-controlled Novokalynove (26km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed seven craters, caused by 120mm mortars, and a damaged house. In nearby government-controlled Soloviove (28km north-west of Donetsk), the secretary of the village council told the SMM that a residential house in Novokalynove had been severely damaged by shelling a few days previously. In government-controlled Keramik (27km north-north-west of Donetsk), Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers told the SMM that Novokalynove had been shelled five days previously.
In government-controlled Kurdiumivka (52km north-north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed two destroyed and three damaged civilian residences. The SMM conducted crater analysis on a number of impact sites in the village, assessing that 122 or 152mm tubed artillery rounds fired from the direction of “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyi (11km south-east of Kurdiumivka; 47km north-north-east of Donetsk) had been responsible. In nearby government-controlled Kodema (55km north-north-east of Donetsk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint commander told the SMM that recently the number of “DPR” reconnaissance groups crossing the contact line in the area had noticeably increased.
In government-controlled Lebedynske (16km east-north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed a number of shell-damaged houses and craters. The commander of the Kryvbas volunteer battalion serving under the Ministry of Internal Affairs told the SMM that the village had been shelled on 2 June, with approximately 60 heavy artillery rounds impacting in the village in the space of 40 minutes.
Near “DPR”-controlled Sontseve (57km south-south-east of Donetsk), the SMM UAV spotted a large concentration of military hardware, including, inter alia, a SHORAD (short range air defence) tracked vehicle, nine military-type trucks, an anti-aircraft system (SA-8), eight main battle tanks (MBT), and 20 armoured personnel carriers. In “DPR”-controlled Ilovaisk (31km south-east of Donetsk) an SMM UAV saw 32 military trucks. The SMM observed one T-64 MBT in a government-controlled area.
The head of the “district administration” in “DPR”-controlled Kalininskyi district (3.5km east-south-east of Donetsk city centre) told the SMM that local businesses were re-registering with the “DPR”, with the “DPR” now collecting “taxes” equivalent to 30-40 percent of the pre-conflict tax-take.
In the “DPR”-controlled Budionivskyi district (7.4km south-east of Donetsk city centre), the SMM spoke to a man who said he was unemployed and that he and his family were mainly surviving on the produce of their garden. He added that prices in shops had greatly increased.
The head of the “district administration” in the “DPR”-controlled Leninskyi district (5.4km south of Donetsk city centre) told the SMM that 20,000 people – out of the approximately 100,000 inhabitants of the district – were receiving humanitarian assistance from the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. The Russian Federation, he said was, after the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, the second largest donor, supplying unspecified assistance to 3,600 people, mostly families with young and/or many children. He added that already on that day he had received 100 new applications for aid.
On 9 June, at the bridge in government-controlled Shchastya (20km north of Luhansk), the SMM conducted crater analysis on two impacts, both of which held mortar shell tails. The SMM assessed that 120mm mortars – fired from the direction of “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Vesela Hora and Obozne (16 and 18km north of Luhansk, respectively) – had been responsible.
The head of the local administration in Luhansk city (“LPR”-controlled) told the SMM
that water shortage was the most pressing problem facing the city. He said the “LPR”, however, lacked the funds to re-build water infrastructure. He added that pension and social welfare payments were also problematic, with payments having only been made for two months in 2015.
In government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed trucks with humanitarian aid (food and sanitary articles) from the International Committee of the Red Cross being unloaded on the main square. The head of the village council told the SMM that this was the second shipment they had received.
The SMM monitored the lockdown of Liberty Square in Kharkiv, following what police described as a bomb threat. The press officer of the Kharkiv branch of the Svoboda political party told the SMM that his party had been due to hold a rally on the square, but it had been cancelled because of the bomb threat, which, he said was but a pretext to deny his party freedom of assembly.
A member of a non-governmental organization offering psycho-social support for internally displaced persons (IDP) told the SMM in Nikopol (121km south-west of Dnepropetrovsk) that 70–80 percent of internally displaced children needed assistance to deal with conflict-related trauma. His organization, he said, works with 10-20 individuals a day. In April, they worked with 51 children and 19 adults, and in May, 48 children and 16 adults.
At a session of the Odessa city council – attended by the SMM – a decision was made to task the city council’s planning department to draw up suggestions on how best to commemorate the victims of the 2 May 2014 tragedy. Approximately 150 men and women – mostly members of the Batkivshchyna and Svoboda political parties, pro-Maidan self-defence groups and Pravyy Sektor – peacefully protested against the decision outside the building. The SMM later met the mayor of Odessa, who said it was possible to reach an agreement with the families of the victims on a memorial but radical political parties were unwilling to compromise. He said tension could arise in the city if resolution were not soon achieved. Two anti-Maidan activists told the SMM the previous day of their frustration over the delay in erecting a memorial.
Mikheil Saakashvili, head of Odessa regional state administration – at his first press conference since his appointment, attended by the SMM on 9 June – said that he planned to replace the heads of all 26 District State administrations, and the head of the region’s customs department. He said the region’s new chief of police would be a former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia. Mr. Saakashvili identified corruption as the region’s biggest problem.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Lviv and Kyiv.
* 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 presence of mines, the lack of information on whereabouts of landmines, as well as damaged infrastructure.
The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere. Since 6 June persistent mobile network connection problems in Donetsk and Luhansk coupled with the self-imposed restriction of movement into high risk areas have impinged on SMM patrolling activities particularly in areas not controlled by the government. The restrictions have interrupted routine SMM patrols to heavy weapons holding sites controlled by “DPR” and “LPR”. The UAVs cannot operate in the Luhansk region as it is out of range.
- Close to government-controlled Lebedynske (16km east-north-east of Mariupol), members of the Kryvbas volunteer battalion serving under the Ministry of Internal Affairs stopped an SMM patrol at a checkpoint, saying the patrol could not enter the village without an “escort”. After 15 minutes, the commander of the volunteer battalion arrived and “escorted” the SMM through the village.
- “LPR” armed personnel at a checkpoint near “LPR”-controlled Brianka (49km west of Luhansk) asked the SMM not to proceed to “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (58km west of Luhansk), saying the road was mined by a diversionary group. The SMM returned to Luhansk city.