Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 10 November 2015
This report is for media and the general public.
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*. The SMM received written notifications of the completion of withdrawal of mortars. The SMM recorded over 90 explosions and bursts of small arms fire at the outskirts of Donetsk city, including the impact of an 82mm mortar round.
Positioned at a “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled location 6km north-west of Donetsk, the SMM heard between 07:30 and 15:00hrs, a total of 96 explosions and bursts of small-arms fire at distances from 2.5-10km west, north-west and north-north-west, north, and north-east of its position. At 10:40hrs, the SMM heard an incoming 82mm mortar round. Between 10:58 and 11:45hrs, while stationary in Krasnohorivka (government-controlled, 21km west of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions as well as a number of small-arms bursts and single shots at locations ranging from 0,5-4km south, south-south-west, north-east, east-north-east and east of its position near the contact line.
On the outskirts of Donetsk city, the SMM observed that roadblocks had been placed on secondary roads, south of the main road to Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk) in the area of the “DPR”-controlled Petrovskyi district settlement (15km south-west of Donetsk city centre).
In the area of a “DPR” checkpoint at the outskirts of Staromykhailivka (“DPR”-controlled, 16km west of Donetsk city centre) the SMM observed improvised mine warning signs on both sides of the road.
The SMM followed up on allegations of shelling in the vicinity of Ozeryanivka (“DPR”-controlled, 29km north-east of Donetsk) and conducted crater analysis at two locations. At the first location, the SMM was unable to conclusively identify the impacting round. At the second location there were two craters, which the SMM assessed to be caused by an automatic grenade launcher.
The SMM observed approximately 450 civilian cars at the first Government checkpoint on the H15 highway lined up to cross into government-controlled areas. The SMM observed tense discussions among queuing civilians. The line was occupying all three lanes of the road. There was a small number of vehicles queuing to cross in the opposite direction.
At the Uspenka border crossing point (“DPR”-controlled, 96km south-east of Donetsk) between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the SMM observed 108 civilian vehicles, five trucks and one bus waiting to cross into Russia. The SMM spoke to travellers in six different cars and a bus (middle aged men and women). Some of them stated that the purpose of travel is to shop for food and fuel because prices in Russia were more affordable. Two truck drivers who frequently use the crossing point said that their waiting time was usually between two and 24 hours. The SMM observed that despite the long wait times, conditions at the crossing point appeared calm.
While in the area between “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled “Prince Igor Monument” and the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard six rounds of heavy-machine-gun fire from a south-easterly direction. The SMM was in the area to monitor and facilitate the continuing repair works conducted by the Luhansk Energy Association company. The repair team was located approximately 300m from the river on the east side of the destroyed highway bridge. The repairmen told the SMM that the heavy-machine-gun fire impacted approximately 100m from their position, and they believed the fire originated from the direction of the “Prince Igor Monument”. The SMM and repair workers then left the area.
The SMM heard numerous shots and bursts of small-arms fire in government-controlled Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) and in government-controlled Myrna Dolyna (67km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM followed up on allegations of shelling in “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (50km north-west of Luhansk) and assessed two fresh craters: one was assessed to have been caused by a 120mm mortar, while the other was assessed to have been caused by an 82mm mortar. The SMM found remnants of an 82mm mortar shell at the site.
The SMM visited the international border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation in “LPR”-controlled Chervonopartyzansk (68km south-east of Luhansk). The SMM observed a queue of approximately 50 private vehicles, bearing mostly Ukrainian license plates, waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. The traffic moved steadily at five-minute intervals with cursory inspections being conducted by the “LPR” “border guards”. The SMM observed that people were crossing on foot as well. The SMM also saw an unusable rail spur close to the crossing point.
The SMM observed an unmanned roadblock (concrete blocks) on the main road to the bridge between “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi-Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk) and government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). The roadblock was not in place at the SMM’s last visit to the area approximately two weeks ago.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum, the SMM received written notifications of completion of withdrawal of mortars from the Ukrainian Armed Forces and “DPR”. The SMM also visited one Ukrainian Armed Forces’ permanent weapons storage site whose location corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines and found two mortars were absent.
The SMM revisited four “DPR” permanent weapons storage sites whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. At two sites the SMM noted all previously-recorded weapons present. At the third site the SMM noted that the serial numbers of three main battle tanks (MBTs) and the serial numbers of seven mortars did not match the serial numbers in the inventory. At the fourth site, the SMM observed that the serial number of one tank did not match the inventory.
On 9 November the SMM began to apply stricter standards for monitoring and verification of heavy weapons withdrawal, having notified the signatories of specific criteria on 16 October.
Neither “DPR”, nor “LPR” had yet provided the requested inventory of heavy weapons, or locations of designated permanent storage sites for these weapons. Likewise, the Ukrainian military authorities are yet to provide this information. Nonetheless, the SMM revisited locations beyond the respective withdrawal lines and known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they did not comply with the specific criteria set out in the 16 October notification.
In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited three holding areas and observed: 12 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS; BM-21 Grad, 122mm); one automatic mortar (2B9M, 82mm) and two mortars (BM37, 82mm). Elsewhere the SMM observed: in Pryvillia (89km north-west of Luhansk) a military convoy consisting of two military trucks and six MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) as well as two MLRSs (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) moving in a north-westerly direction. The SMM also observed more than 20 stationary infantry fighting vehicles (BMP-1 and BMP-2) in a fenced area adjacent to the P22 highway between Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) and Nyzhnia Vilkhova (26km north-east of Luhansk).
In areas of Luhansk region outside government control, beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed: 11 howitzers (D30, 120mm) near Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk) as well as nine armoured vehicles near Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk).
On 9 November, the SMM visited Vorotsiv (20km west of Lviv) and followed-up on information received by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with regard to land allocation. The SMM met the head of the village council, who said that six land plots had been allocated to IDP families from the Donbas. The interlocutor also said that the village council is allocating 50 land plots to demobilized Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers for construction of housing.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.
*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 most areas close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
- The SMM was stopped at a checkpoint in “LPR”-controlled Kirovsk (45km west of Luhansk) by armed personnel who conditioned the SMM’s access on inspecting the SMM’s patrol plan. Although the SMM explained that “LPR” members were not entitled to review patrol plans it complied with the request. The SMM was allowed to proceed after a 30 minutes wait.
- While at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near government-controlled Dzerzhynsk (41km north of Donetsk), checkpoint personnel inspected the interior of the SMM’s vehicles and asked the SMM whether Russian Federation monitors were present. At the Ukrainian Armed Forces sector headquarters in Novhorodske (government-controlled, 34km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM met the area Deputy Commander, who told the SMM that it needs to obtain formal consent from the Ukrainian military authorities in order to be allowed to pass the last checkpoint in Verkhnotoretske (government-controlled, 21km north-east of Donetsk) into non-government-controlled areas.
- Two Ukrainian Armed Forces armed personnel denied the SMM access to a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site because of an ongoing live fire exercise in the area that the SMM had not been notified of.
- A Ukrainian Armed Forces commander of a fenced area adjacent to the P22 highway between government-controlled Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) and Nyzhnia Vilkhova (26km north-east of Luhansk) denied the SMM access to the facility.
- Armed individuals denied the SMM passage through a “DPR” checkpoint at the outskirts of Staromykhailivka (“DPR”-controlled, 16km west of Donetsk city centre). The SMM was told that proceeding further would be dangerous.
- Armed individuals stopped the SMM at a “DPR” checkpoint at the outskirts of Staromykhailivka (“DPR”-controlled, 16km west of Donetsk city centre). They told the SMM that proceeding further would be dangerous. This was the SMM’s first visit to this checkpoint, which is one kilometre away from the contact line and - to the SMM’s knowledge - the road is not used by civilians.
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.