Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 19 June 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*. In the area around Donetsk airport, the SMM observed more ceasefire violations than in recent days. A fuel shortage was observed in and around Donetsk city.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.
Donetsk airport and its environs saw an uptick in violence from recent days. Both Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces personnel at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city) told the SMM that there had been no ceasefire violations during the night of 18-19 June and until 13:00hrs on 19 June. Starting at 13:00hrs, the SMM observed during a four-and-a-half-hour period 144 incoming and outgoing explosions, consistent with mortar and artillery fire, whilst at the Donetsk railway station.
At the JCCC headquarters in Soledar (government-controlled, 75km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM was presented with two ceasefire violation logbooks for 18 June, compiled independently by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces representatives at the JCCC. The Ukrainian Armed Forces logbook recorded 113 ceasefire violations, 23 of which were attributed to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and 90 to “DPR” and/or “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The Russian Federation Armed Forces logbook recorded 71 ceasefire violations, of which 15 were attributed to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and 56 to “DPR” and/or “LPR”.
The security situation was tense in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). From observation points just west of the town, the SMM saw and heard various explosions, outgoing and incoming mortar fire, as well as small-arms fire in the Shyrokyne area.
The SMM observed a fuel shortage in Donetsk city, with many fuel stations closed due to a lack of supply, as well as queues at stations that still have a supply. In Khartsyzk (“DPR”-controlled, 26km east of Donetsk), Makiivka (“DPR”-controlled, 14km north-east of Donetsk) and Donetsk, none of 15 gas stations checked had diesel fuel available.
In Luhansk, the SMM visited the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) and spoke with three “LPR” armed members, who informed SMM that the bridge was closed to traffic. The SMM were allowed to cross to the Ukrainian Armed Forces-controlled north side of the bridge, where they also spoke with the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander of the checkpoint, who stated that the bridge remained closed in accordance with a decree issued on 26 May 2015 by the head of the Luhansk regional administration. The SMM talked to a number of people from a crowd of approximately 50 travellers of various ages and genders seeking to cross the bridge on foot from the “LPR”-controlled side who had been stopped at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint.
In government-controlled Popasna (69km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed five fresh craters, which it assessed to have been caused by impacts from multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) fire (122mm BM-21 Grad).
The SMM revisited multiple Ukrainian Armed Forces and “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, and visited one new Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, the locations of which are in compliance with the withdrawal lines according to the Minsk Package. One Ukrainian Armed Forces site, which previously held six 122mm howitzers, had no weapons present. The SMM was led to a new site containing two batteries of anti-tank guns (100mm MT-12 Rapira) and recorded the serial numbers of 12 guns, all previously unrecorded. The SMM visited six “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas. At four sites, all weapons previously observed were in situ. At one site “DPR” members requested to write the monitors’ names down and did not allow the SMM to inspect weapons on the site*, but only to count them from a distance of 20m. At one “DPR” site, six out of twelve towed howitzers and four out of nine 120mm mortars previously recorded were missing.
Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was complete, the SMM observed the following weapons movements in areas that are in violation of the withdrawal lines according to the Minsk Package: two main battle tanks (MBT) (T-72) on a flat-bed truck travelling west through Shakhtarsk (“DPR”-controlled, 50km east of Donetsk); a convoy of four armoured vehicles and 11 MBTs (T-72) proceeding east through Zuhres (“DPR”-controlled, 36km east of Donetsk). An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detected a concentration of ten MBTs (unknown type) and 27 armoured vehicles in Komsomolske (“DPR”-controlled, 43km south of Donetsk), as well as four self-propelled artillery pieces (likely 122mm 2S1 Gvozdika) approximately 1km west-south-west of Vasylivka (“DPR”-controlled, 50km south-south-east of Donetsk).
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Lviv, 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 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.
- The SMM was stopped at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Minkivka (76km north of Donetsk). Checkpoint personnel said they were waiting for authorization from their commander. The SMM was allowed to proceed after 35 minutes.
- The SMM was stopped at an “LPR” checkpoint between Irmino (54km west of Luhansk) and Pervomaisk (57km west of Luhansk) and was not permitted to proceed further despite the fact that the SMM’s patrol route was co-ordinated with the JCCC in advance. The SMM established telephone contact with the JCCC, but as the JCCC could not facilitate passage for the SMM in a timely manner, the SMM, after waiting for 30 minutes, returned to base.
- The SMM spoke with the Krasnodon “command” located in “LPR”-controlled Molodohvardiisk (35km south-east of Luhansk) about visiting the railway station and yard located 1km north of Krasnodon (43km south-east of Luhansk), having earlier been informed that it is required to receive permission from the Krasnodon “command” for any future visits there. The SMM told the commander the patrol’s purpose, but he also asked for a copy of the SMM patrol plan. The SMM was then escorted out of Krasnodon/Molodohvardiisk by an “LPR” vehicle.
- At the railroad bridge 1km north of Molodohvardiisk, the SMM was intercepted by an armed group of three individuals in a minivan. These were the same individuals who accosted the SMM in “LPR”-controlled Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk) on 29 May (see SMM Daily Report of 1 June 2015 ). Their leader, who identified himself as a Cossack, was very aggressive, and demanded that the SMM cease its monitoring of the railroad and leave immediately. They refused to identify themselves by name and said that they would shoot out the tires of the SMM vehicles. The SMM departed in the direction of Luhansk city.
- At a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area, SMM monitors’ names were written down and the SMM was not allowed to inspect the weapons but only to count them from a distance of 20m.
Interference with UAV:
- The SMM UAV experienced video signal jamming in the vicinity of “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr (85km south of Donetsk), Mytkovo-Kachkari (90km south of Donetsk), and Samsonove (80km south-south-east of Donetsk).
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.