Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 2 August 2015
This report is provided for 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 the parties and security considerations*. The SMM observed damage caused by shelling in Horlivka, Kurdiumivka and in Kodema and conducted crater analysis.
The overall security situation at and around “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre) remained tense. The SMM recorded 140 explosions and small-arms fire from its position at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre) on 1 August (in areas 3-8km to the north, north-east, west and north-west). The majority of these were recorded in the afternoon. On 2 August, the SMM heard a total of 26 explosions and several bursts of small arms fire 2-10km north, north-east, west, and north-west of its position.
The SMM observed multiple instances of shelling in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (38km north-east of Donetsk), and related destruction of civilian houses on 1 August. The SMM saw evidence of shelling (destroyed roofs of houses, shrapnel damage to residential buildings, blown out windows). On Ambramova Street, the SMM saw a significant crater (over 2m in diameter) close to a house. The SMM conducted crater analysis and assessed that the fire had originated from the north-north-west. One resident said the shelling happened at around 02:30hrs and that there were no injuries. The impacts of two craters were analysed in Rudakova Boulevard, and the SMM concluded the origin of fire to have been from the north-north-west. An interlocutor at this location told the SMM that one man was injured and subsequently hospitalized. The SMM analysed four other craters in close proximity (20m) to one another on Rudakova Boulevard and on Nikolay Churi, and assessed the origin of fire to have been from the north-north-west. The SMM found weapon fuses in two craters and determined that they were from 122mm or 152mm artillery shells.
On Nevska Street, the SMM observed a shell impact on a garden path. A woman reported that, as a result of shelling that begun at 19:00 hrs on 31 July, her 11-year old daughter and the girl’s 67-year old aunt had been injured.
Three residents in the area of Polosukhina Street said shelling had taken place between 00:30 and 01:00hrs. According to them no one was injured at this location. The SMM saw an impact to a house and shed but could not determine the origin or the type of the weapon used. The SMM observed one unexploded shell stuck in the ground (120mm mortar) on Polosukhina Street. Three other impacts were observed near a kindergarten; one to the roof of an apartment building, another on the balcony of an apartment, and one in the street. A guard at the kindergarten told the SMM that the shelling had taken place between 01:00 and 01:30hrs. The SMM could not conduct crater analysis, due to time constraints and the presence of a crowd of 15 middle-aged women who acted in a hostile manner towards the SMM.
The SMM went to trauma hospital number 2 in Horlivka where the head doctor confirmed that five civilians had been injured and admitted to hospital. Four (an 11-year-old girl, three men) were still hospitalized, while one was released. The SMM observed the injured persons being treated.
On 1 August the SMM went to government-controlled Kurdiumivka (52km north-east of Donetsk) following reports of heavy shelling during the early hours of the morning. According to Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel, shells hit an ammunition storage building, which created numerous secondary explosions and spread explosive remnants of war (ERW) across a wide area. The Ukrainian Armed Forces commander reported three soldiers injured. The SMM observed that the area was littered with shrapnel and saw four or five burnt armoured personnel carriers. The SMM observed 22 craters, and analysed five in fields immediately south of the storage facility, concluding that the direction of fire had been from the south-south-east. The type of weapon used was assessed to be of 122mm, 152mm calibre or possibly 125mm tank rounds. The SMM noted that the impact angle of the projectile was very shallow. In nearby government-controlled Kodema (55km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM examined four fresh craters in fields, and assessed the direction of fire as from the south-south-east.
The SMM facilitated the visit of a demining consultant to Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). During the visit, the SMM saw four civilians in the village, the mayor of Shyrokyne amongst them.
On 1 and 2 August, the overall security situation in Luhansk remained tense. The SMM heard two explosions south of its position, 3km south-east of government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk).
On 31 July, the SMM saw damage to five houses in government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk) which several residents (and the Ukrainian Armed Forces deputy battalion commander in the area) said was caused by shelling during the night of 30-31 July. The SMM observed windows blown out, blast damage to walls, and saw that the roofs of three houses were heavily damaged. Residents (ten women and men of various ages) said one man suffered light injuries.
In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) on 1 August the SMM met with two Ukrainian Armed Forces representatives from the JCCC at the location of an alleged recent shelling. According to a female resident, a house was struck by a shell during the early hours of 1 August. The SMM observed that two houses in the area were completely destroyed and that the roof was damaged on another. The SMM saw two more houses that were hit, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, on the late evening of 31 July, both of which were gutted by fire.
On 2 August, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at a checkpoint near the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) informed the SMM that the bridge was closed due to a skirmish between Ukrainian Armed Forces and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) on the night of 1-2 August. On the same day, another SMM patrol spoke to “LPR” members on the “LPR” side of the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska, who confirmed that fighting had taken place the previous night. No injuries were reported on either side. From that side of the bridge, the SMM could see ten civilians crossing the bridge into “LPR”-controlled areas.
Residents (four men, three women, of different ages) in “LPR”-controlled Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk), told the SMM that medication (particularly insulin, blood pressure medication, and for heart problems) are not available in the amounts required. In "LPR"-controlled Kuriache (49km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM spoke with pensioners (three women, four men) who said that, when they are able find the medicine they need (particularly to control blood pressure), it is expensive to buy.
The SMM revisited five “DPR” and four Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas whose locations comply with the respective withdrawal lines. The SMM found that all weapons previously recorded at three “DPR” sites were in situ. An armed man guarding the facility at one of the sites claimed that he and those present at the site were part of the 16th airborne brigade from Orenburg, Russian Federation. They did not wear identifying insignia. At one “DPR” site, two artillery weapons were missing. At another “DPR” site, after waiting 15 minutes for access,* the SMM observed that two artillery weapons were missing. The SMM revisited six Ukrainian Armed Forces sites and found that two continued to be abandoned; another had more weapons than previously recorded by the SMM; one surface-to-air missile system 9K35 (SA-13 Gopher) Strela-10 was missing from one site; some weapons were missing from another; all weapons previously recorded by the SMM at one location were missing.
The SMM observed the following weapon movements in areas that are in violation of respective withdrawal lines: in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city, the SMM observed a towed anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23).
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kherson, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv.
*Restrictions on SMM monitoring, access and freedom of movement:
The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by the 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, particularly those controlled by the “LPR”, have ordinarily been placed off limits to the SMM.
- In a follow-up visit to government-controlled Kurdiumivka (52km north-east of Donetsk) on 2 August, two Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers asked the SMM to leave on the grounds that it did not have written permission from their commander.
- At a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area, the SMM had to wait for 15 minutes before a “DPR” member checked SMM ID cards and granted access.
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.