Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 30 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*. The fighting at and around Donetsk airport continued with increased intensity compared to previous days. The security situation within Shyrokyne deteriorated during the day.
The fighting at and around Donetsk airport continued with increased intensity compared to the previous days. Between 9:03 and 13:00hrs, at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard and saw 168 explosions consistent with mainly mortar and tanks rounds. Of those, 109 explosions occurred north and north-west of Spartak and of Donetsk airport (both “DPR”-controlled), in the area between government-controlled and Opytne, Butrovska mine and Muraveynyk (both government-controlled) at a distance of 3-7km from the SMM position. Another 39 explosions occurred 10-15km north-east of the SMM position.
From a position at the eastern outskirts of Berdianske (government-controlled, 1.5km west of Shyrokyne, 20km of Mariupol), the SMM heard small arms, heavy machine gun and recoilless machine gun fire and 2.5km east of its position, as well as outgoing 82mm mortar shells originating 320m south-east of its position, impacting – according to SMM’s estimate – in the area of the village of Sakhanka (“DPR”-controlled, 24km east-north-east of Mariupol). During the afternoon the situation deteriorated. Whilst in the northern part of Sopyne (government-controlled, 3.5km south-west of Shyrokyne, 16km east of Mariupol) the SMM heard outgoing mortar shells north-west of its position. Due to security reasons, the SMM moved further away to a position at the junction (government-controlled, 15km east, north-east of Mariupol) of Sopyne-Lebedynske road and highway E58, from where the SMM heard 42 outgoing artillery shells at 1km south-south-west, as well as eight incoming shells at 3km east-north-east of its position. Due to the deteriorating security situation, the SMM left the area. On the way back to the base in Mariupol, the SMM saw some fresh impacts on the Sopyne-Lebedynske road.
In addition, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted in “DPR”- controlled areas north-east of Mariupol five artillery pieces and one mortar position. In government-controlled parts of Mariupol area the UAV spotted two MBTs and six howitzers (likely 122 mm D-30) as well as persons unloading ammunition from a truck next to these howitzers. At the same site about one hour later the UAV was able to film three howitzers firing and some seconds later shells exploding in “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka, about 10km east-north-east away from the howitzer position.
At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Volnovakha (government-controlled, 52km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed 250 civilian vehicles waiting to enter into government-controlled areas and 57 civilian vehicles entering into “DPR”-controlled areas. The SMM spoke to several people on both sides of the checkpoint who said that they had been waiting for 5 hours. The majority of interlocutors, middle-aged women and men, were crossing into government-controlled territory to buy basic foodstuffs and medicines or to visit relatives.
At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Zaitseve (60km north-north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed 65 civilian vehicles waiting on the government side to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas. On the other side of the checkpoint, the SMM observed 184 vehicles waiting to cross into government-controlled areas.
In Opytne (government-controlled, 43km north of Donetsk), the SMM saw approx. 80 pedestrians (many carrying luggage), waiting to be processed at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint to Artemivsk. People crossing the checkpoint told the SMM that since public transport was not admitted to cross the contact line any longer, their bus had left them at 24km from the checkpoint, from where they had walked, as very few could afford to take a taxi.
Although the SMM observed only one ceasefire violation in the Luhansk region, the overall situation remained tense.
In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM spoke with a middle aged woman who stated that she had participated in a peaceful protest that took place in front of the district administration building on 30 June. According to the interlocutor, about 300-400 protestors had presented a petition raising their concerns, such as on-going shelling, lack of electricity, problems with mobile phone coverage and lack of the freedom of movement due to the closure of the bridge. The petition had been signed by some of the protestors and it had been read out to the head of the district administration.
The SMM revisited three “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. At the first holding area, one howitzer was away for training according to the “DPR” member. The SMM found two self-propelled howitzers (Gvozdika) and five artillery pieces (152mm). At the second site all previously recorded multiple launch rocket system (MLRS, BM-21 Grad) were in situ, but two howitzers (D30 122mm) were missing. At the third site the SMM found all previously recorded heavy weapons in situ.
The SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, where military personnel present informed SMM that the previously stored equipment had been moved on 29 June, not disclosing the new location.
On 30 June the SMM attended a press conference in Kyiv organized by the first deputy head of state emergency services regarding a fire in the Chornobyl exclusion zone. According to the interlocutor, the state emergency services had been alerted by forestry workers on 29 June about the fire. The department had immediately deployed a special reaction force that was located near the exclusion zone. There were no reports of casualties. A special team was monitoring radioactivity levels which are, according to the interlocutor, within the recommended safety parametres. The fire closest to the damaged reactor is approximately 30km away.
The SMM monitored a panel discussion in Kyiv on Crimean “memories and reality” where the Chairman of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov, criticized the newly introduced requirement of a special permit to enter the “occupied territories”. According to him those who wanted to enter Crimea would face complicated procedures and had to wait for days to get the needed documents. Therefore, many people would prefer to travel to Simferopol via Moscow.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Lviv 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 – and lack of information on the whereabouts – of mines, and 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. Most areas along the Ukraine-Russian Federation international border have ordinarily been placed off limits to the SMM by both “DPR” and “LPR”. The SMM UAVs cannot operate in the Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.
The SMM was held at a “DPR”-controlled checkpoint north of Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 37km north-east of Donetsk), when “DPR” members requested to see SMM monitors’ IDs and said they needed to call their commander for authorization before allowing the SMM to proceed. The SMM was able to proceed after 20 minutes.
Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel did not allow the SMM to enter Mykolaivka (government-controlled, 41km south-south-west of Donetsk) and said that a permission was required in order to access the area, not giving any details whether this was a general policy or would only concern the SMM.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.
 For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.