Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 10 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 SMM observed 617 ceasefire violations at and around the Donetsk airport. The situation around Shyrokyne was relatively calm. The SMM continued to facilitate repairs at a major water pipeline between Maiorsk and Horlivka.
There was a high level of violence at and around the Donetsk airport. Between 08:00 and 17:45hrs, 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 617 instances of weapons fire, including tank, anti-aircraft gun, heavy machine gun, automatic grenade launcher and small arms. This firing was heard 2 - 9km north, north-east and north-west of the SMM’s position.
The situation in and around Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) remained mostly calm. The SMM did not observe any military actions in the morning. In the afternoon, from its observation point located on the eastern outskirts of Berdianske (government-controlled, 1.5km west of Shyrokyne), the SMM heard three undetermined distant explosions north of its position. From its observation point located 4.5km north-west Shyrokyne the SMM heard small arms fire around five kilometres east of its position – to the north of Shyrokyne.
At the JCCC headquarters in Soledar (government-controlled, 75km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM was presented with two logbooks, compiled independently by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces representatives to the JCCC. The Ukrainian Armed Forces logbook recorded 77 violations on 9 July, while the Russian Federation Armed Forces logbook recorded 115. Both sides attributed a smaller proportion of ceasefire violations to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
For the seventh consecutive day the SMM facilitated and monitored a local ceasefire and repair works of a major water pipeline leading north-south across the contact line between Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north of Donetsk) and Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 29km north-east of Donetsk), following demining of the area which was also facilitated and monitored by the SMM (see SMM Daily Report 6 July 2015). The SMM also facilitated an agreement between the Ukrainian Armed Forces (through a representative assigned to the JCCC), and “DPR” (through a local “DPR” commander in Horlivka, the “DPR” emergency services, and a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer assigned to the JCCC). The agreement pertained to the detonation of an anti-tank missile and four anti-tank mines on the “DPR” side of the pipeline, which had been blocking the repair works. The SMM observed all of them being detonated safely. The SMM also monitored the overall security situation around the Maiorsk checkpoint, which remained quiet until 16:15hrs, when the SMM heard outgoing shelling from “DPR”-controlled areas in the vicinity of the pipeline, around 3km south-east of the SMM position. The SMM therefore left the area.
The SMM did not observe any ceasefire violations in the Luhansk region. Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at the bridge in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) recounted to the SMM that on 8 July, from 00:00 to 04:00hrs, an exchange of fire had occurred involving mortars and heavy machine guns, but no casualties had been suffered.
The SMM monitored the general situation surrounding the procedure of a prisoner exchange that took place at government-controlled Shchastia bridge (20km north of Luhansk). The SMM followed a convoy consisting of eight vehicles, including a bus, an ambulance, media representatives and “LPR” personnel, from “LPR”-controlled Metalist (6km north of Luhansk). After passing the last “LPR” checkpoint before Shchastia bridge, the bus and one other vehicle approached the first government-controlled checkpoint. Armed personnel of both sides were present. Nine persons (including one woman) from the “LPR” side were handed over, and ten men from the government side. All of these persons were approximately between 20 and 40 years old. The SMM did not have access to the persons deprived of their liberty before and after the exchange and, therefore, was not in a position to monitor the observance of human rights throughout the whole process.
The SMM revisited three “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, whose locations were in line with Minsk withdrawal lines. At the first site, all the weapons previously seen by the SMM were in situ. At the second area the SMM saw four of the six previously seen multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and was informed by the “DPR” that the other two were away for training purposes. At the third holding area the SMM was allowed only to observe from a distance six towed artillery pieces – the SMM was not permitted to verify the serial numbers.* The SMM can therefore not conclude that at this site all the weapons were in situ.
The SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapon holding area, whose location was in line with Minsk withdrawal lines and observed 12 MLRS – two more than were present during the SMM’s first visit in early May. At the same site, the SMM also saw two surface-to-air missile systems, the number of which does not corroborate with SMM earlier observations, when three were noted. While the SMM was permitted to take the serial number of the MLRS, it was denied permission to register the serial numbers of the surface-to-air missile systems.*
Despite claims by all sides that heavy weapons had been withdrawn, the SMM observed six main battle tanks (MBT T-72) and one MBT (T-64) in government-controlled areas of Luhansk. In “LPR”-controlled areas of Luhansk the SMM saw two MBTs (T-64). SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) continued to observe concentrations of military hardware in and around “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske (76km north-east of Mariupol), noting six MBTs, 41 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and more than 40 military trucks of different types. In “DPR”-controlled Sakhanka (22km east of Mariupol) the UAV spotted fresh craters assessed to have been caused by artillery fire. In “DPR”-controlled Bezimenne (30km east of Mariupol) the UAV observed three MBTs, 28 APCs and 30 military trucks.
In Dnepropetrovsk the Commander of Dnipro-1 told the SMM that this volunteer regiment was now under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), but that the majority of funding still came from its volunteers and private donors, rather than the state. The SMM observed an MIA plaque at the entry to the Dnipro-1 base.
The Odessa department of the State service for geology, cartography and cadastre told the SMM that the department was impleneting a policy granting plots of state agricultural land to Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) veterans. According to the interlocutor, the military administration provided certificates of participation in the ATO not only for combatants, but all soldiers, border guards, police officers and volunteers could request a piece of land, as can families of deceased ATO participants. So far in Odessa, of 224 requests, 148 had been conditionally approved and awaited technical clearance; eight had been fully approved and the transfer of title to the beneficiaries completed.
Outside the Press Club in Lviv, the SMM observed a deputy of the Opposition Bloc being doused with animal blood. The deputy was leaving the building after a press conference to announce the inauguration of an Opposition Bloc office in Lviv, when he was confronted by ten male and one female members (age 20-50) of the Right Sector West, some wearing military fatigues. They shouted slogans against the Opposition Bloc’s presence in Lviv. The SMM saw no police presence at the location. The Right Sector West subsequently confirmed the involvement of its activists in this incident on its official website.
The SMM continued to monitor the situations in Kharkiv, Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi 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 – 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.
- At one “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, the present “DPR” armed members prevented the SMM from checking the serial numbers of heavy weapons. Therefore, the SMM was unable to verify whether weapons previously registered were in situ.
- At one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area the SMM was permitted to take the serial number of Grad systems but was denied permission to register the serial numbers of surface-to-air missile systems also present in the area.
- While leaving Volnovakha (government-controlled, 53km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM approached a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint at the western outskirts of the city, was stopped for over 35min and denied passage with no reason given. After contacting Ukrainian Armed Forces ATO headquarters, the SMM was granted passage.
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table