Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 13 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 observed a relatively tense general situation in Donetsk region. It also recorded an increased number of incidents involving mines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs).
From its position at “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM recorded a number of ceasefire violations: it heard 62 undetermined explosions mainly at locations 6-7 and 5-6km north-west of its location, and several bursts of small arms and light weapons (SALW) fire at a location to north-west. Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Staromykhailivka (16km west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 23 undetermined explosions from north-westerly and north-easterly directions.
While positioned near the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Obozne (18km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard two rifle shots some 400m north of its position. At the outskirts of government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard about 50 outgoing small-arms bursts some 600m north-east of its position.
On the “DPR”-controlled side of Zaitseve (48km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM conducted crater analysis near a local school building. It examined a fresh impact on the wall at the northern side of the building, 3.7m above the ground, and identified pieces of a 73mm round from a SPG-9 (Kopye) tripod-mounted recoilless gun. Some 19m north of the school boundary, the SMM detected another crater also caused by an SPG-9 projectile. Both munitions were assessed by the SMM to have been fired from a north-north-easterly direction. The SMM examined three other craters in the range between 15 and 40 meters east from the school building and assessed them to likely have been caused by 120mm mortar rounds fired from a northerly direction. The SMM observed that there was a “DPR” checkpoint 100m north of the school, and an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP-1) parked 40m from the school buildings. Armed individuals were also seen entering and exiting the school.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited two Ukrainian Armed Forces weapons permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. It was able to record the serial number of all weapons except for 17 main battle tanks at one of the sites. This was not possible due to the heavy smoke in the hangar since the tanks engines were running.
In Luhansk region the SMM revisited one “LPR”-controlled weapons permanent storage site, whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and found all previously recorded weapons present.
The SMM continued to observe movement of military equipment in Donetsk region. In violation of the withdrawal lines, the SMM spotted in the area of government-controlled Svitlodarsk (56km north-east of Donetsk) four field guns (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) towed by four of the five-truck convoy heading north. Also in violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed near government-controlled Artemivsk (67km north-east of Donetsk) at least five multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) stationed along with a mobile radar system.
The SMM followed up on a number of mine-related incidents and demining events. It visited government-controlled Marinka (24km south-west of Donetsk), where three residents independently informed the SMM about two civilian casualties. The Ukrainian civil-military co-operation officer in Marinka also told the SMM that those two (father and son) were fatally injured at the northern outskirts of the village while travelling in a civilian car that ran over an anti-tank mine.
In government-controlled Mykolaivka (63km north of Mariupol), the SMM followed up reports of a tractor with a trailer hitting an anti-tank mine. Local interlocutors told the SMM that a man (55-years-old) and a woman (50-years-old) were seriously injured: the man reportedly sustained and eye wound and had been moved to a hospital in Mariupol (105km south-west of Donetsk), while the woman was transported to a hospital in Volnovakha (53km south-west of Donetsk) with shrapnel wounds.
In government-controlled Peredilske (24km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed three unexploded MLRS missiles (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm) stuck in the ground and dispersed over a 500m area in inhabited areas of the town suburbs. The SMM had previously observed these UXOs and was told by residents they had been there since August 2014 (see SMM Daily Report 19 October 2015).
The SMM monitored and facilitated work on removal of explosive remnants of war and unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the E58 road near Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). Both the Ukrainian State Emergency Services team and the “DPR” explosive ordnance disposal team were involved in this operation, conducting the clearing of some segments of the area.
The SMM continued to monitor and facilitate repairs to power lines near Obozne, which was carried out by a repair team from the Luhansk Electricity Networks company.
Along the Ukraine-Russian Federation border, in Donetsk region, the SMM visited three crossing points. In “DPR”-controlled Marynivka (79km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM counted 59 heavy trucks loaded with coal and nine civilian cars waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. According to some interlocutors (four men and two women), the average waiting time for the civilian cars was 15-20 minutes on the “DPR”-controlled side, while some of the truck drivers told the SMM they had to wait for over 20 hours. Two of the truck drivers told the SMM that high quantities of coal were transported into the Russian Federation over the last couple of days. Near “DPR”-controlled Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM saw 68 civilian cars, mainly with Ukrainian registration plates, waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. At “DPR”-controlled Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed only one pedestrian crossing into Ukraine.
The SMM observed impediments to the movement of civilians. At a checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a queue of approximately 280 vehicles waiting to cross into government-controlled areas. The SMM also noted a similar situation at a checkpoint near government-controlled Heorhiivka (27km south-west of Donetsk), where approximately 300 civilian cars were queued to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas and some 120 civilian cars heading to the opposite side of the line of contact. At a checkpoint near government-controlled Maksymilyanivka (31km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM witnessed some 300 civilian vehicles at either side of the checkpoint.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Chernivtsi, Dnepropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Lviv, and Odessa.
*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.
- “LPR” armed individuals requested the SMM members their national passports when they were crossing the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge.
* 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”.