Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 8 November 2015
The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, including the Addendum. Its monitoring was restricted by the parties and security considerations*. It observed a relatively tense general situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The SMM visited several weapon storage locations in accordance with Minsk documents. It also observed a considerable number of military hardware moving through areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines.
From the Donetsk railway station in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM recorded on 7 November one explosion at a location 3 to 4km west of its position, and another explosion 5km to its north-west on 8 November. Also, the SMM heard on 8 November sporadic bursts of small-arms fire and two explosions some 3km south-west of “DPR”-controlled Shyroka Balka (33km north-east of Donetsk).
Following up on information about a potential multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) attack in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city, the SMM visited on 7 November the city’s Kuibyshevskyi district. The owner of the affected house described to the SMM the details of the attack and confirmed its timing. The SMM observed a 30cm hole on the roof and wall of the house’s patio, caused by a projectile that penetrated from a north-westerly direction. It found in the patio two pieces of a large tube, which were consistent with the remnants of an MLRS projectile, most likely a BM-21 (Grad, 122mm) type. Other remnants of the projectile, including an unexploded warhead, were found in the garden. The SMM assessed that the dust and the projectile residues were fresh – and the SMM could smell the odour left by a recent explosion.
For the first time the SMM was able to approach the destroyed bridge over Kalmius river from government-controlled Hranitne (47km north-east of Mariupol) (see SMM Daily Report 16 October), which used to connect it with “DPR”-controlled Staromarivka (45km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM approached the bridge from both sides and was able to speak to the residents from both settlements. Three elderly residents on the “DPR”-side of the contact line told the SMM that the area, including agricultural fields, was contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO).
The SMM visited “DPR”-controlled Marynivka (79km east of Donetsk) and Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) border crossing points at the Ukrainian-Russian Federation border. It observed a queue of 110 civilian cars, most of them carrying Ukrainian license plates, waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. The SMM attempted to speak with a “DPR” member at the crossing point, but he refused to talk to the SMM and referred it to his superiors in Donetsk.
The security situation was relatively tense in the Luhansk region. While in government-controlled Novoaidar (50km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard one unidentified explosion some 5-6km south from its position. During the whole observation period, the SMM observed seven ceasefire violations.1
In “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), the SMM facilitated the work of experts on both sides of the contact line and continued to monitor the repair works conducted by the National Electricity Company (see SMM Daily Report 7 November). Before the repair works began, an “LPR” armed demining team cleared the area from UXOs in the proximity of the electric lines.
The SMM visited a number of settlements in Luhansk region, examining the economic conditions of its inhabitants. It talked with sellers at the farmers’ fair in Luhansk city – sellers from “LPR”-controlled Alchevsk (39km south-west of Luhansk), Krasnodon (44km south-east of Luhansk), and Sverdlovsk (60km south-east of Luhansk), and was told that up to 80% of the sold goods and foods come from the Russian Federation. While visiting “LPR”-controlled Perevalsk (40km south-west of Luhansk), a shopkeeper told the SMM that the majority of her stock came from the Russian Federation. Similarly, in “LPR”-controlled Artemivsk (44km south-west of Luhansk), two shopkeepers told the SMM that 70-80% of their stock was bought at a central store in Luhansk, and was from the Russian Federation. In “LPR”-controlled Klyuchove (21km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM talked with 12 different interlocutors (eight female and four male, 36-70 years old) who said that the prices for essential products had increased.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM visited three and revisited another five Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage sites whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. Two of the visited sites were at locations that did not match the declared co-ordinates. At one of the sites, an 82mm mortar was missing. At the rest of the sites, the SMM noted that all declared weapons were present.
The SMM revisited three Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. An anti-tank gun (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) was missing from the second location, and, as recorded on 12 July, four self-propelled howitzers (2S1), and four towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) were also missing. At the third area, the SMM observed five self-propelled howitzers (2S3) missing, as recorded on 24 July.
The SMM revisited three “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. At the third site two self-propelled howitzers (2S1) were missing; the SMM recorded the serial numbers of another two 2S1 which it spotted for the first time.
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM spotted in the area of “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk), at least one and probably up to four (three were camouflaged under a canopy), self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in a military-type compound. The SMM was refused access into the compound by armed “DPR” members*, but was able to see some of the military hardware inside. The SMM spotted in violation of the withdrawal lines one main battle tank (MBT) (T-64) loaded on a heavy transporter in the area of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city. In the area of government-controlled Novotoshkivske (53km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM spotted one anti-tank guided missile system (either 9K111 Fagot or 9M113 Konkurs type), mounted on an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-2).
Beyond the respective withdrawal lines the SMM observed two self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) in government-controlled Popasne (59km north-west of Luhansk) and was prevented by Ukrainian Armed Forces officers to move further into the village*. The SMM also observed in the area of “DPR”-controlled Ilovaisk (31km south-east of Donetsk) four MBTs, and another 40 MBTs (T-64 and T-72) in the proximity of the firing range in the area of “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk). Similarly, it saw 20 MBTs (both T-64 and T-72) in the area of “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (32km south-west of Luhansk), as well as seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and five towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm) in a training range in the area of “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk).
In the area of government-controlled Hirske (62km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed the movement of 20 IFVs (BMP-2). In the vicinity of the “LPR”-controlled Yuvileine (10km east of Luhansk) the SMM spotted four stationary military-type trucks carrying armed personnel. It observed another ten military-type trucks in the area of “LPR”-controlled Bryanka (50km south-west of Luhansk), which cargo it could not see.
In Dnepropetrovsk, the SMM visited the railway station in Melioratyvne (48km north-east of Dnepropetrovsk) where it observed fresh traces of tracked vehicles, including tanks, and armoured combat vehicles.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Lviv.
*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the 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. “LPR” members continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring many areas close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
Denial of access:
- The Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel guarding a site at which the SMM observed anti-aircraft systems denied the SMM access to the site.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel denied SMM access to the residential area of Popasne, citing lack of a commander’s permission.
- “DPR” members guarding a military-type compound in Donetsk city’s Kuibyshevskyi district refused the SMM entry, claiming it was private property.
- Individuals at a “DPR”-controlled checkpoint at the entrance of Nova Marivka (49km north-east of Mariupol) denied further movement of the SMM, claiming that no order from superiors had been obtained.
- Individuals at a “checkpoint” near “DPR”-controlled Vedenske (33km north-east of Mariupol) denied the SMM further passage.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel denied SMM permission to take photos of the inspected weapons at a permanent storage site.
- The SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was jammed over a government-controlled area in the vicinity of Manhush (19km west of Mariupol). The SMM UAV also experienced dual jamming of its global positioning system while flying over government-controlled area of Shevchenko (19km north-west of Mariupol).
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate”.