Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 12 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 heard explosions and small-arms fire in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. “DPR” members stopped the SMM and confiscated a map.
The SMM recorded ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. From its position at “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM saw and/or heard 37 explosions (direction not known) from anti-aircraft fire, rocket-propelled grenades, one 82mm calibre mortar and 83 bursts of small-arms fire mainly at locations in the north and north-west. The SMM, positioned in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), over a two-hour period, heard several bursts of small-arms and heavy machine-gun fire, as well as several explosions outgoing from a north-north-eastern direction, possibly from a training area in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). From an area 3km north of Trokhizbenka, the SMM heard bursts from small arms, heavy machine-guns and explosions from 82mm calibre mortars outgoing from the training area nearby.
In “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (9km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 48 white trucks bearing signs reading, “Humanitarian help from the Russian Federation” and six support vehicles.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited seven Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. At four sites, all previously-recorded weapons (which matched the quantity and serial numbers of the inventory) were present. At a fifth site, five main battle tanks (MBTs) (four T72, one T64) listed in the inventory were not present; their absence had been noted during previous visits. At a sixth site, three MBTs (T72) listed on the inventory were not present; their absence had been noted during previous visits. At a seventh site, two automatic gun-mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) listed on the inventory were not present; their absence had been noted during previous visits.
The SMM revisited a “DPR” permanent weapons storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and observed that all previously-recorded weapons were present.
Neither “DPR”, nor “LPR” had yet provided the requested inventory of heavy weapons, or locations of designated permanent storage sites for these weapons as requested by the SMM on 16 October. The Ukrainian military authorities are yet to provide such information. Nonetheless, the SMM revisited locations beyond the respective withdrawal lines and are 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 two holding areas and observed: at one site, 12 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm); and, at a second site, four MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm).
In “DPR”-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited one holding area and observed six self-propelled howitzers (122mm, 2S1 Gvozdika).
The SMM continued to observe military movement and hardware. In violation of respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed: near government-controlled Ocheretyne (28km north-west of Donetsk), a flatbed truck transporting a self-propelled howitzer (2S1, Gvozdika); a self-propelled howitzer (122mm) on a tank transporter near government-controlled Konstiantynivka (58km north of Donetsk); a self-propelled howitzer being transported on a truck near government-controlled Artemivsk (64km north-east of Donetsk).
The SMM also observed a total of 13 military-type trucks in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk and its environs; a column of seven infantry fighting vehicles (BMP-2) and one armoured tracked vehicle (MTLB) in the area of government-controlled Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk) and, in another location nearby, three BMPs; in the area of government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north of Luhansk) the SMM observed five military trucks heading west; the SMM observed three BMP-2 and seven military trucks - one of which was towing a 23mm calibre anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) – heading north in the area of government-controlled Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk).
The SMM observed impediments to the movement of civilians. From a checkpoint in government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed at 09:50hrs in the area between government and “DPR” checkpoints, a queue of approximately 600 vehicles heading into “DPR”-controlled areas, and a queue of 700 heading in the opposite direction. Several civilians told the SMM that they had been queuing to cross since 06:00hrs the previous day; some complained that persons with disabilities are no longer prioritized for crossing. At the nearby government checkpoint in Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer confirmed that there is no longer priority passage for elderly people and persons with disabilities as he said this system was abused in the past. According to him, a high volume of traffic in advance of the weekend and a power outage contributed to the delays at the checkpoint.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs to electricity lines in “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk) carried out by the National Electricity Company “Ukrenerho”.
The SMM observed a gathering of approximately 300 people (women and men aged from 25 to 60 years old) in favour of fair and transparent court procedures outside the Ukrainian Union of Lawyers building in Kyiv. Representatives of, amongst others, Reanimation Package of Reforms, Automaidan, Lustration Sotnia, and the Ukrainian Union of Lawyers took part; approximately 30 members of the National Guard were present. The gathering lasted for 90 minutes and ended peacefully.
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.
Denial of access:
- At 10:16hrs, “DPR” members at a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (45km east of Mariupol) stopped and searched the SMM. “DPR” members confiscated a map belonging to the SMM, following which the SMM was allowed to proceed. On the return journey, the SMM was stopped at 11:52hrs at the same checkpoint and “DPR” members requested that the SMM hand over another map. On this occasion, the SMM refused and was not permitted to travel further. Following phone calls between the JCCC and the SMM, the SMM was allowed to pass through the checkpoint at 13:19hrs.
- The SMM was stopped and prevented from proceeding further by armed “LPR” members at a checkpoint near “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk). The armed men did not allow the SMM to proceed, citing security concerns.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel refused to allow one SMM monitor, part of an SMM patrol, to observe weapons at a holding area.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel prevented the SMM from reaching a location to analyse alleged craters in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). After 50 minutes of waiting, the SMM left the scene without receiving an explanation for the delay.
* 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”.