Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 11 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*. Although it was relatively calm in most areas of Donbas, the SMM recorded ceasefire violations in a number of locations.
Although it was relatively calm in most parts of Donbas, the SMM recorded a number of ceasefire violations. Positioned at a “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled location 6km north-west of Donetsk between 08:30 and 15:00hrs, the SMM observed 29 explosions and several exchanges of small-arms and machine-gun fire, mainly at locations to the north and west. Positioned in government-controlled Pisky (11km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 24 explosions – assessed as having been caused by automatic grenade-launchers – and three bursts of small arms. Positioned 700m east of government‑controlled Berdianske (18km east of Mariupol), the SMM heard approximately 25 single shots from small arms approximately 2km north-west; and, one explosion 2km north-east. Positioned in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 20 explosions and four bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, which it assessed as part of military exercises near government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). Positioned close to “LPR”-controlled Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard more than 50 explosions 330m north-west, which it assessed as part of live-fire training. Positioned close to “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard more than 30 explosions 4-6km south-west, which it assessed as live-fire training.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum, the SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage site whose location corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines and found that all previously-recorded weapons were present. The SMM also observed nine main battle tanks (MBT) – covered under the Addendum – in an “LPR”-controlled area corresponding with the respective withdrawal lines. Unable to approach and check the serial numbers of the weapons, the SMM could not verify that the weapons had been withdrawn.
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 the “DPR” nor “LPR” have yet provided the requested inventory of heavy weapons, or locations of designated permanent storage sites for these weapons. Likewise, the Ukrainian military authorities have yet to provide this information. Nonetheless, the SMM revisited locations beyond the respective withdrawal lines 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 10 holding areas. The SMM observed: at the first, 12 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS; 9K51 BM-21 Grad); at the second, twelve anti-tank guns (2A29 MT-12 Rapira 100mm); at the third, six towed howitzers (152mm 2A65 Msta-B); at the fourth, 11 towed howitzers (152mm 2A65 Msta-B); at the fifth, six towed guns (152mm 2A36 Giatsint-B); at the sixth, six towed guns (152mm 2A36 Giatsint-B); and, at the seventh, six towed guns (152mm 2A36 Giatsint-B). The SMM noted that the eighth, ninth and tenth sites were abandoned, where previously it had observed: twelve artillery pieces (2A29); six MLRS (122mm BM-21 Grad); and, five MLRS (122mm BM-21 Grad); respectively.
In “DPR”-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited three holding areas. At the first holding area, it observed eight artillery pieces (two, 122mm 2S1 Gvozdika; and six, 152mm 2A65); at the second, four MLRS (122mm BM-21 Grad); and, at the third, nine MLRS (122mm BM-21 Grad).
In various locations, the SMM observed the presence of military hardware. In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed: separately, two MBTs (T-64) in “LPR”-controlled areas close to Luhansk city; and, two self-propelled howitzers (152mm, 2S3) close to government-controlled Artemivsk (67km north of Donetsk). In areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed: eight howitzers (D-30; 122mm) near "LPR"-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk; and, one howitzer (2S5) near government-controlled Sloviansk (95km north of Donetsk). In addition, the SMM observed: 17 military-type fuel trucks leaving “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city; four armoured personnel carriers (two BTR‑70s and two Saxons) near government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk); a stationary military convoy consisting of six military trucks, two of which were each towing a double-barrelled anti-aircraft machine-gun (ZU-23), near government-controlled Petrivka (27km north of Luhansk); and, a military convoy consisting of more than 20 military trucks, two of which were each towing a double-barrelled anti-aircraft machine gun (ZU-23) close to government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to essential infrastructure. In “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), the SMM oversaw a “window of silence” to enable repair crews work on damaged electricity infrastructure. A similar arrangement to allow repairs to water infrastructure in the vicinity of “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk) had to be cancelled due to security considerations. An “LPR” commander in “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that he had sent snipers to the contact line in response to what he said was sniper-fire directed towards “LPR” positions in the vicinity of Slovianoserbsk.
The SMM visited a number of crossing points along the Ukraine-Russian Federation border. In “DPR”-controlled Marynivka (79km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 158 civilian cars, and 36 trucks loaded with coal, waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. The SMM observed five vehicles cross through the border in the space of 15 minutes. A number of people present, however, told the SMM that the average wait-time was 15-20 hours. Others told the SMM that many people regularly cross to buy food and fuel in the Russian Federation, where prices are approximately half of those in “DPR”-controlled areas. In “DPR”-controlled Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk), people waiting to cross into the Russian Federation also mentioned long wait-times. A truck driver told the SMM that the capacity to process vehicles was limited. A number of people told the SMM that they were travelling to the Russian Federation to buy fuel which they intended to re-sell in “DPR”-controlled areas. A number of people said there was a fuel-shortage in “DPR”-controlled areas. The SMM also visited “LPR”-controlled Parkhomenko (29km east of Luhansk), where it observed a calm situation.
On 10 November in Kyiv, the SMM monitored a preparatory court hearing for two Russian Federation citizens detained in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) on 16 May 2015 (see Daily Report 21 May 2015). The presiding judge rejected the defence lawyer’s contention that her clients were “LPR” members and should be considered prisoners-of-war in accordance with the Third Geneva Convention as opposed to facing charges under the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The defendants face six charges: participation in an aggressive war; smuggling of weapons; illegal entry into the territory of Ukraine; illegal possession, handling and transfer of weapons; participation in the activities of a terrorist organization; and, perpetrating a terrorist act with severe consequences resulting in the death of a person. The defendants denied all charges.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk 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 most areas close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
- In a hostile manner, armed “DPR” members at a checkpoint close to “DPR”-controlled Nova Mariivka (49km north-east of Mariupol) refused to allow the SMM passage, saying permission from superiors was required.
- North of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), armed men at a joint “DPR” “military”/”police” held the SMM for over an hour before an “escort” – which they insisted upon – arrived.
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.