Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 14 October 2015
This report is for the media and 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*. Rallies and marches were held in a number of cities throughout the country to mark the “Day of Ukraine’s Defender”. The SMM received notification from the “LPR” on the planned withdrawal of mortars pieces of calibre up to an including 120mm in accordance with the Addendum to the Package of measures.
The SMM observed a generally calm situation in Donetsk region. At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at Donetsk railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard from 10:12 to 10:38hrs, 50 bursts of small arms, at a distance of 5 to 6km south-east of its position. From the same distance and direction the SMM heard 23 explosions from 12:34 to 12:37hrs. The SMM assessed that the incidents were most likely related to “DPR” training activities at a range whose location is known to the SMM. Ukrainian Armed Forces and Russian Federation Armed Forces officers at the JCCC told the SMM that the source was a “DPR” shooting range located south-east of the observation post. At 11:51hrs the SMM heard one explosion assessed as incoming mortar at the new terminal building of the destroyed “DPR”-controlled Donetsk airport (8km north-west of Donetsk), at a distance of 3km north of its position.
While passing a known training ground located in Ternove (“DPR”-controlled, 57km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed that since its last observation on 26 September the training ground had been enhanced with construction of roads for weapon systems and weapon positions. In addition to more firing positions, the SMM saw what it assessed to be an obstacle course. Near the road at the main entrance a few tents and a container were visible. The SMM also saw a military-type truck, and approximately eight “DPR” members doing construction work. However, the SMM did not observe any weapon systems or training activity at the training ground, and no fresh tracks.
At a “DPR” checkpoint near Sakhanka (“DPR”-controlled, 24km east of Mariupol), the SMM noted a towed car with fresh bullet holes being towed from the direction of Shyrokyne. Armed “DPR” members present claimed the car had been fired upon in Shyrokyne; those accompanying it denied this.
At the border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, in Uspenka (“DPR”-controlled, 73km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed 92 civilian vehicles (mainly private cars and minibuses) and 36 civilian cargo trucks lined up to cross into the Russian Federation. Civilian passengers (one middle aged woman, two elderly men) stated they had been waiting for approximately 10 hours.
In Kominternove (23km north-east of Mariupol), several residents told the SMM that they had not seen any "DPR" members in the village since 7 October. According to them, currently neither government administration or law enforcement nor “DPR” have taken control of the village. The interlocutors claimed that neither Ukrainian police nor “DPR” “police” would respond to calls from the village. At the southern edge of Kominternove the SMM observed unexploded ordnance (UXO) stuck in the tarmac of the road.
In Luhansk region the SMM observed a relatively calm situation, although it heard five to seven mortar explosions and 50-70 rounds of heavy-machine-gun fire in government-controlled Muratove (50km north-west of Luhansk), 6-10km east and south-east of its position. The SMM assessed that the incidents were most likely related to training activities in the area of government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk) at locations known to the SMM.
At the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) checkpoint on the “LPR”-controlled southern side of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM spoke to an “LPR” member who said that in the early morning hours one 120mm and two 82mm mortars had impacted at the checkpoint. Crater analysis conducted by the SMM on fresh impacts, about 40 to 50 metres from the checkpoint confirmed the type of weapons. According to the impact analysis, the mortars had come from the north.
Whilst on the “LPR”-controlled side of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM observed four women (between 30 and 65 years old), four children and one elderly man crossing from government-controlled into "LPR"-controlled areas. All of them said that they had been waiting at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint since 8:00hrs and were allowed to cross at around 11:00hrs.
At the government-controlled northern side of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge the SMM saw at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint 30 civilians waiting.
The SMM monitored the repairs of the power station in "LPR"-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk). One damaged transformer was removed for further examination and service.
In areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines in the Luhansk region, the SMM observed the following military hardware: 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and 24 main battle tanks (MBTs) (T-64) at “LPR” training grounds close to the "LPR"-controlled towns of Uspenka and Myrne respectively (25 and 28km south-west of Luhansk, respectively).
The previously observed infantry fighting vehicle (IFV BMP-2) mounted with an anti-tank guided missile system (9K111 Fagot) in the area of government-controlled Novotoshkivka (53km north-west of Luhansk) (see SMM Daily Report 8 October 2015) had been removed.
In addition, the SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted two 152mm D-20 towed-howitzers in a field south of “DPR”-controlled Donetsk.
The SMM revisited two Ukrainian Armed Forces weapons storage sites and verified the presence of all weapons previously withdrawn to this site as stipulated in the Addendum to the Package of measures.
The SMM received notification from the “LPR” on the planned withdrawal of mortars pieces of calibre up to an including 120mm in accordance with the Addendum to the Package of measures.
The SMM revisited four Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with respective withdrawal lines. At three holding areas, the SMM noted that all previously recorded weapons were present. The SMM found that at one Ukrainian Armed Forces holding area 11 self-propelled howitzers 152mm (Akatsiya) were still absent, as had been the case on 2 October. The SMM noted that one additional self-propelled howitzer was missing.
On 13 October 2015, the SMM observed the unloading of twenty (20) T-64 MBTs from a flatbed train by Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel well beyond the withdrawal lines.
The SMM revisited three “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. At two holding areas, the SMM noted that all previously recorded weapons were present. At the third holding area, three previously recorded 122-mm D30 artillery guns were absent, and instead the SMM noted three with different serial numbers. One anti-tank gun (100mm MT-12 Rapira) was missing.
The SMM followed up on media reports that a rocket-propelled grenade had hit a shop in Mukacheve (Zakarpattia region, 254km south-west of Ivano-Frankivsk, 605km south-west of Kyiv) on the night of 12 to 13 October; reportedly no injuries occurred. The SMM also contacted the Mukacheve police press officer, who told the SMM that the police had opened an investigation for “hooliganism” (art. 296.4 of the Criminal Code). The SMM will continue to follow developments.
The SMM observed parades and gatherings to mark the “Day of Ukraine’s Defender” held in a number of cities. In Dnepropetrovsk, members of the Dnipro-1 battalion (under the Ministry of Internal Affairs) marched from the regional administration building to the city centre. Five armoured personnel carriers, each of them displaying Dnipro-1 insignia were at the head of the parade. Approximately 80 men in military-type fatigues, 100 civilians (mixed gender and age) and two police platoons (male and female) consisting of approximately 30 officers each participated in the march. In Kyiv, the SMM observed a gathering of members and supporters of Svoboda party and Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor), as well as the movements “Congress of Ukrainian nationalists” and “Organization of Ukrainian nationalists” in preparation of the “March of Heroes”. Of approximately 4,000 people (mixed gender and age), at least 200 were wearing various uniforms from different epochs of Ukrainian history. The crowd gathered at Mykhailivska Square and marched through the city centre towards the Lukyanivske detention facility, carrying Svoboda and Right Sector flags. About 600 police officers accompanied the march. Speeches in front of the detention facility were held, expressing dissatisfaction over the Government’s treatment of volunteer battalions and veterans. The march continued towards Podil detention facility where a concert in support of what was referred to as “political prisoners” took place. Approximately 100 National Guard members, 200 regular police and 200 additional riot police and 50 traffic police officers were guarding the major street entrance to the detention facility. At least 2,000 people (mixed gender and age) of which one third dressed in camouflage military-style clothing (some of them with insignia from the Right Sector and various other volunteer battalions) attended the concert. The situation was calm. At around 17:15hrs, the crowd dispersed In Kharkiv, 500 people (mixed gender and age) gathered in the Memorial Park. Approximately 200 police officers were guarding the area. Local politicians and veterans gave speeches, the national anthem was sung and the crowd laid flowers at the base of the memorial statue. Gatherings were also observed in Mariupol (103km south of Donetsk), Krasnoarmiisk (55km north-west of Donetsk) and Ivano-Frankivsk. The SMM observed about 150 to 350 people (mixed gender and age) gathering in the respective places. Police presence varied from two to about ten.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Chernivtsi, and Lviv.
*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate
The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by the parties and security considerations, including mine threats, damaged infrastructure, and the unpredictability of the situation in Donbas. Armed individuals continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring most areas close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
- The SMM was denied passage at a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol). Armed men at the checkpoint claimed they had no authorization to let the SMM proceed. The SMM waited some 50 minutes. Then the armed men told the SMM in an aggressive way that no clearance had been received and the SMM had to turn back immediately.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfillment of its mandate”.