Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 1 December 2015
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM recorded some small-arms fire and explosions in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including in the area around Donetsk airport*. Its freedom of movement was restricted twice in areas not controlled by the Government, resulting, in one instance, in the inability to reach the Ukraine-Russian Federation border*.
Despite the relative calm, the SMM recorded ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The SMM, positioned at “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city) between 09:00 and 15:00hrs, heard 12 undetermined explosions, several bursts and shots of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun, at locations ranging from 3-10km in areas to the south-west, west, north-west and north.
The SMM heard 15 rounds of small-arms fire near “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Kalynove-Borshchuvate (61km west of Luhansk). In government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard small-arms fire and explosions, assessed as live fire training exercises.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site, the location of which corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed that all previously recorded weapons were present.
The SMM revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, where all previously recorded weapons were present.
Also in areas beyond the withdrawal lines – but outside storage sites – the SMM observed the following Addendum-proscribed weapons: one main battle tank (MBT) (T-64) at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (28km south-west of Luhansk) and one MBT - observed by the SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - in the area of “DPR”-controlled Bezimenne (30km east of Mariupol).
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 have provided an inventory list of military equipment featuring weapons systems as well as their serial numbers. The SMM revisited locations beyond the respective withdrawal lines which 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 “DPR”-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such holding areas and observed six howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and four multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (9K51 Grad, 122mm).
The SMM monitored the presence of other hardware. Aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence of a concentration of military equipment on 28 November near “LPR”-controlled Buhaivka (36km south-west of Luhansk), within the 25km exclusion zone: 14 towed artillery pieces, 24 MBTs, 100 unspecified armoured vehicles and 30 trucks. The SMM also observed: 12 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and more than 20 trucks in the area of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) heading in the direction of Kramatorsk; two armoured personnel carriers (BTR-70) – one of which carried soldiers − at different locations in the area of government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk); four infantry fighting vehicles (BMPs) at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (28km south-west of Luhansk); three military-type trucks (with no registration plates) carrying armed men near “LPR”-controlled Krasnodon (51km south-east of Luhansk) moving in the direction of Luhansk city; two military-type trucks (with no registration plates) in the area of “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr (29km north-east of Mariupol).
The SMM spoke with residents in villages near the contact line. In government-controlled Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk), the SMM observed damage to an apartment building, with many windows broken, only some of which had been covered. One resident told the SMM that up to 60 per cent of the residents (including children, pensioners and persons with disabilities) still live in the building. The SMM observed a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in the vicinity of the apartment building and several Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers elsewhere in the village.
In government-controlled Pavlopil (26km north-east of Mariupol), some residents (nine women in their sixties) told the SMM that as the only shop in the village had closed, they had to travel to Mariupol or Sartana (14km north-east of Mariupol) to buy basic provisions. The SMM observed that the shop was closed. All residents reported hearing firing and explosions during the night hours over the last week, but added that it had been quiet for the last two nights. They expressed concern about what they said was the increasing Ukrainian Armed Forces presence in the village over recent weeks. The SMM observed an observation position - likely Ukrainian Armed Forces - in a civilian building.
The SMM followed up on the disrupted power supply across the administrative boundary line between Kherson region and Crimea. A UkrEnergo manager told the SMM at the site of the damaged power supply pylons near the village of Chaplynka (80km south-east of Kherson) that repair works could be completed, and power restored in 90 minutes, if an agreement was reached with blockade activists (see SMM Daily Report 1 December 2015). In Nova Kakhovka (60km east of Kherson) another UkrEnergo manager told the SMM that, as a consequence of power disruption, the national grid is experiencing voltage surges that are affecting operations at two of Ukraine’s four nuclear power stations. He also said the power disruption could cause environmental damage at and around Crimea’s “Titan” plant, amongst others (see SMM Daily Report, 21 November 2015).
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, 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 many areas close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
- In the vicinity of the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, five armed men stopped the SMM in “LPR”-controlled Izvaryne (53km south-east of Luhansk) and demanded the patrol plan. After it was handed over, the armed men claimed not to be able to read it as it was written in English. They denied the SMM further travel. The SMM contacted the JCCC liaison officer but after waiting for two hours, the SMM was again refused access. The SMM then left the area.
- “DPR” members stopped the SMM at what they said was a “customs/border crossing checkpoint” near “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk) and insisted on registering all patrol members and vehicles before granting onward travel. After showing passport copies and OSCE identification cards, the SMM was allowed to proceed after a delay of 25 minutes.
- An SMM UAV was subject to jamming when flying near government-controlled area of Leninske (39km north-east of Donetsk).
* 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”.
 All times are in Kyiv time unless otherwise specified