Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 3 July 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 situation at and around the Donetsk airport remained volatile. The situation in Shyrokyne remained calm. Military hardware was spotted in and around Komsomolske.
The situation at and around the destroyed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport (12km north-west of Donetsk) remained volatile. The SMM – positioned at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk) – heard during the day 152 explosions in the area.
The SMM – positioned at observation points near Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) – noted no violence in the village. It did, however, hear nine mortar rounds and several bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire emanating from government-controlled Berdianske (2km south-west of Shyrokyne), and later, eight explosions in the far distance.
In “DPR”-controlled Snizhne (69km east of Donetsk), the SMM met the director of a factory producing equipment for the oil and gas industry. He said that the factory, despite being shelled last August, when one worker had been killed, was still operational. The factory, however, now employed only 400 people, compared to 1,000 before the conflict. Salaries, he added, had not been paid for three months.
The SMM noted 12 anti-tank mines on a road in an area controlled by the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) close to government-controlled Shchastia bridge (20km north of Luhansk).
The SMM noted two new Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoints along the contact line, close to two government-controlled towns, Bakhmutivka and Muratove (40km and 50km north-west of Luhansk, respectively).
In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM noted a house whose roof was damaged and windows shattered, caused by shelling. The owner claimed that Ukrainian Armed Forces routinely position tanks near the house and fire, which attracts fire upon the area.
The director of a coalmine in “LPR”-controlled Bilorichenskyi (31km south-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the coalmine had ceased deliveries to government-controlled areas in June 2014. The state-owned mine had a pre-conflict workforce of 2,700 people, the director explained. Many of them continue to go to work, even though there is little to do other than maintenance, but none has received salaries for over a year. In Bilorichenskyi, at an enrichment plant that extracts impurities from coal, the director told the SMM that railroad access to power plants in government-controlled territory – severed due to security concerns – was essential if the plant were to resume work. The plant had employed 400-500 people before ceasing operations a year ago. The managing director of a coalmine in government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the coalmine still runs one or two shifts a day (as compared to three shifts before the conflict). Three hundred of the pre-conflict workforce of 980 people were still employed and received salaries regularly, he added.
The head of Sverdlovsk district’s “agricultural department” told the SMM in “LPR”-controlled Sverdlovsk (60km south-east of Luhansk) that a good harvest was expected in the district. He cautioned, however, that markets in government-controlled areas and abroad were inaccessible.
The SMM observed 12 main battle tanks (MBT) (T-64) and eight military-type trucks close to a military training ground near “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk). The SMM noted that live infantry and artillery training was ongoing, with the use of MBTs and machine guns. In government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard a live firing exercise, with the use of small arms and light weapons (SALW), at a shooting range 1.4km to the north.
The SMM revisited two “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, the locations of which comply with the respective weapons’ withdrawal lines. The SMM noted that all previously recorded weapons were in situ. Access to a third “DPR” holding area was denied*.
SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) continued to observe concentrations of military hardware in and around “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske (76km north-east of Mariupol), noting nine MBTs, four armoured track vehicles, 28 armoured personnel carriers and 60 trucks. The SMM UAVs also spotted two MBTs in government-controlled areas.
Approximately 200 men and women, aged between 30 and 50, participated in a peaceful rally outside the Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) in Kyiv on 2 July, calling on legislators to adopt a draft law on restructuring foreign currency-denominated loans. More than 100 police in riot gear were present. Legislators voted in favour of the draft law.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Lviv.
* 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.
- Armed “LPR” members denied the SMM passage through a checkpoint near “LPR”-controlled Smile (32km north-west of Luhansk), saying they could not proceed without an “LPR” “escort”. After 25 minutes, the SMM was allowed through the checkpoint, having phoned an “LPR” contact, who liaised with the checkpoint personnel by phone to facilitate passage.
- The SMM was held for approximately 45 minutes at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint on the outskirts of Mariupol. Checkpoint personnel explained that they had not received pre-notification of the patrol. The SMM was allowed to proceed after having called a contact within the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
- The “commander” at a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area refused to grant the SMM access. He provided no explanation. While there, the SMM heard 15 large explosions consistent with artillery impacts, at a distance of 8 to 10km, to the north-east.
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.