Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 8 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM observed a generally calm situation throughout Donbas, with the exception of Horlivka and Telmanove, where it observed multiple ceasefire violations. In Luhansk region, the Mission observed live-fire training exercises in many areas not controlled by the Government.
The SMM observed a calm situation at and around the destroyed “DPR”-controlled Donetsk airport (12km north-west of Donetsk). Positioned 6km north-west of Donetsk city centre between 9:00 and 14:20hrs, the SMM did not observe any ceasefire violations.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard exchanges of fire from artillery and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) on the night of 7/8 January. The SMM initially registered three outgoing MLRS salvos 4km north-west of its position, and subsequently, several artillery impacts in the general area from where the MLRS rounds had originated. The SMM observed another exchange of MLRS and artillery fire 10km south of its position. Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Telmanove (69km south-south-east of Donetsk) between 10:48 and 11:00hrs, the SMM heard approximately 30 undetermined explosions and several small-arms rounds 5km to the south-east.
Positioned at various locations not controlled by the Government in areas south-west of Luhansk, the SMM heard numerous explosions, all assessed to have been part of live-fire training exercises: near Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk), 15 explosions caused by tank rounds, plus continuous bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, over a 42-minute period, 1.5km to the west; in Alchevsk (40km south-west of Luhansk), 20 explosions 10km to the north-east; in Aleksieyevka (31km south-west of Luhansk), four heavy artillery explosions approximately 10km to the south-east; and, in Alchevsk (40km south-west of Luhansk), 20 explosions 3km to the east.
Beyond the respective withdrawal lines and outside storage sites, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: six tanks near “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk); and, 26 tanks near “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk).
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of measures. The SMM has yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October notification.
The SMM revisited locations known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they did not comply with the specific criteria set out for permanent storage sites in the 16 October notification.
In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such holding areas and observed: 16 howitzers (Gvozdika 2C1, 122mm) – one fewer than previously recorded – and six mortars (2B11, 120mm).
The SMM observed the following heavy weapon in an area in violation of the withdrawal lines: a self-propelled MLRS system close to government-controlled Netailove (21km north-west of Donetsk). The SMM also observed heavy weapons in an area beyond the withdrawal lines and outside holding areas: 10 howitzers (Gvozdika 2C1, 122mm) near “LPR”-controlled Aleksieyevka (31km south-west of Luhansk).
The SMM monitored the movement of civilians across the contact line. At Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoints close to government-controlled Marinka (23km west-south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed 159 cars and three buses going west. At the “LPR” checkpoint before the foot-bridge immediately south of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed approximately 100 people moving north.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Odessa, Lviv, Kherson, 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 alongside the border in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
- At a “DPR” checkpoint near “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr (29km north-east of Mariupol), the checkpoint “commander” insisted that SMM monitors exit their vehicles and present OSCE identification through an open window to a “DPR” member in an office. The whole procedure took twenty minutes, and was repeated on the way back, but took then only five minutes.
 All times are in Eastern European Time unless otherwise specified.