Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 14 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 numerous ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport. The SMM visited weapons holding areas and observed that some weapons previously documented were no longer present, both at government-controlled and “DPR”-controlled sites.
During the weekend, fighting intensified in Donetsk, with substantially more shelling observed. The level of violence in areas around “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport remains high.
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) observed a total of at least 594 explosions caused by incoming and outgoing artillery and mortar fire, as well as small arms and light weapons (SALW), including heavy machine-gun fire. The SMM concluded that the explosions occurred at locations to the north, north-west, north-east, west, and south-west and at distances ranging between 2 and 10km from its position.
At the JCCC headquarters in government-controlled Soledar (77km north-north-east of Donetsk) the SMM was presented with separate ceasefire log files covering 11 June by representatives of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and representatives of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. The Ukrainian Armed Forces had logged 99 violations and reported six Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers killed and eleven wounded in action, and the Russian Federation Armed Forces had logged 103 violations. While the majority of violations in the Ukrainian Armed Forces log targeted Ukrainian positions in and around Donetsk airport, violations were also recorded in Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 37km north-east of Donetsk) and in the Luhansk region.
From observation points located 1.5 and 3.5km west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), over two days the SMM observed a total of 180 explosions caused by 82mm and 120mm mortars, automatic grenade launchers and artillery, as well as small arms, including heavy machine-gun fire. An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted six mortar positions in Shyrokyne on 13 June.
On 13 June, the SMM observed a military parade held in Mariupol (government-controlled, 103km south of Donetsk). The parade was organized by the Azov volunteer battalion within the Ministry of Internal Affairs to mark the first anniversary of what the Ukrainian authorities refer to as the liberation of the city of Mariupol from “DPR” forces, and was attended by the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine as well as other high-ranking government officials. There were some 100 regular Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and Azov battalion members present. The parade consisted of three trucks pulling artillery pieces (one 100mm 2A29 “Rapira” and two 122mm D30 howitzers), present in violation of Minsk withdrawal lines; one armoured personnel vehicle (BTR); one “Spartan” armoured vehicle; and twelve pick-ups with “Azov” insignia. Four vehicles were pulling mortars (2B11 “Sani”, 122mm). The military parade was followed by a concert attended by up to 1,000 people.
During the weekend, the overall situation in Luhansk remained calm. On 14 June, while stationary in government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard a series of 10 to 12 incoming and outgoing explosions from a south-easterly direction 10km from its position.
On 14 June, five kilometres north of government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed four impact craters, each with a diameter of 3-5m and a depth of 1 to 1.5m. The SMM observed the remains of a rocket and identified it as having been fired from a multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-21 “Grad”, 120mm). The positioning indicated that the rocket was likely fired from an east-north-easterly direction.
On 14 June, in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM was told by residents about early morning grenade and Grad rocket explosions. The SMM observed a hole in the roof of an abandoned building. On the ground near the building the SMM observed metal pieces from the rockets. Five metres south of the village’s main road, the SMM located a crater with a Grad rocket casing. Another crater was observed approximately 30m from the road in the area of the local tuberculosis hospital. The SMM observed several metal pieces around the crater. Based on analysis at the scene, the fire had been incoming from the south-west. No casualties were reported.
On 13 June, the SMM visited the Luhansk water supply company customer service department to gather updates on the current water supply situation. Two administrative staff told the SMM that the water supply had been restored in all districts in Luhansk city in the past week. This was due, they said, to the partial re-opening of government-controlled supply systems, and Luhansk city households are now provided with water for four hours every evening. The current water supply is limited to 30% of the usual supply capacity. The deputy head of the Luhansk regional state administration said the supply of water from government-controlled areas to “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled areas had been limited due to technical reasons.
During a two-day period, the SMM revisited seven “DPR” weapons holding areas, whose locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. At five of them, all weapons previously observed were in situ. Two of them, each of which had previously stored six 122mm howitzers, were abandoned. At one of the sites, only one SMM patrol member was permitted to enter the venue.
On 14 June, the SMM was not granted access to a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area as the commander was not present nor reachable via phone despite several attempts. The SMM revisited three Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas in the vicinity of Soledar, whose locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. At the first site the SMM was initially denied entry. Following intercession by the JCCC, the SMM was granted access and observed only two self-propelled howitzers (2S1 “Gvozdika”, 122mm) and two self-propelled howitzers (2S3 “Akatsiya”, 152mm) at the site, where nine 2S1 and eight 2S3 systems were previously recorded. Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel stated that the missing weapons were used for training in the area. The SMM also noted that two anti-aircraft missile systems (9K35 “Strela-10”) previously present at the position were now absent. The SMM visited another Ukrainian Armed Forces holding area where twelve anti-tank guns (MT-12, 100mm) had previously been present. This site was found to be unoccupied. At a third holding area, the SMM confirmed that five MT-12 guns remained in place in accordance with SMM records.
Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was complete, the SMM observed weapons in areas that are in violation of Minsk withdrawal lines. On 13 June, the SMM observed two MBTs (one T-64, the other unidentified) being transported southward from Luhansk city on trailers. On 13 June, on the outskirts of Amrosiivka (“DPR”-controlled, 53km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed six self-propelled howitzers (122mm, 2S1) heading south. In Ternove (60km south-east of Donetsk, “DPR” controlled), the SMM observed a shooting range used by the “DPR” on both 13 and 14 June and on both occasions saw 18 stationary main battle tanks (MBT) (T-64s and T-72s), and other military vehicles.
On 14 June, the SMM observed ten self-propelled howitzers (2S3 “Akatsiya”, 152mm) moving away from the line of contact along the road from Soledar to Sloviansk (government-controlled, 95km north of Donetsk). On 14 June, an SMM UAV observed a concentration of 53 MBTs (unknown type), six towed howitzers (D30, 122mm) and ten military trucks in Torez (“DPR”-controlled, 60km east of Donetsk); seven MBTs (unknown type), 23 armoured personnel carriers (APC) and at least nine trucks and other vehicles in Komsomolske (“DPR”-controlled, 43km south of Donetsk); four self-propelled howitzers in Vasylivka (“DPR”-controlled, 50km south-east of Donetsk); one MBT (unknown type), 14 APCs, and six military trucks in Bezimenne (“DPR”-controlled, 28km east of Mariupol). In addition, an SMM UAV observed six covered artillery pieces in Paraskoviivka (government-controlled, 29km south-west of Donetsk) and additional surface-to-air missile systems in the region.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi.
* 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. Self-imposed restrictions on movement into high risk areas have impinged on SMM patrolling activities, particularly in areas not controlled by the government.
- On 13 June, the SMM was held at the checkpoint south of Artemivsk (government-controlled, 67km north of Donetsk) for approximately 50 minutes, ostensibly due to the disposal of an unexploded 82mm mortar round. However, the SMM did not hear any explosions that would have indicated ordnance disposal.
- On 14 June, at a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, the SMM was initially denied entry. Following intercession by the JCCC, the SMM was granted access to the site.
- On 13 June, the SMM observed a possible “LPR” heavy weapons holding area. The SMM conducted an unannounced visit to the site. At the gate, the SMM spoke with two armed personnel, one of whom identified himself as the Cossack commander of the site. The interlocutor denied the SMM access, saying the facility was a “military installation” and only the “director” based in Luhansk could grant approval. The interlocutor refused to give a name or contact details of his superior. The SMM then left the area after approximately five minutes at the site.
- On 13 June, while visiting a “DPR”-controlled heavy weapons holding area, only one SMM patrol member was permitted to enter the site.
- On 14 June, at a checkpoint located immediately outside “LPR”-controlled Brianka (49km west of Luhansk), the checkpoint commander did not allow the SMM to proceed to Pervomaisk (“LPR”-controlled, 70km west of Luhansk), citing ongoing shelling in the area.
- On 14 June, the SMM was not granted access to a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, as the commander was not present or reachable via phone despite several attempts.
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.