Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 13 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations in the Donbas, including at and around Donetsk airport, and close to Horlivka. The Mission received from the Ukrainian authorities additional baseline information related to the withdrawal of heavy weapons, including withdrawal locations. The SMM did not experience any concrete freedom-of-movement restrictions in the Donbas. The Mission visited Kominternove, and a border area not controlled by the Government.
After four consecutive days of not registering ceasefire violations at or around the destroyed “DPR”-controlled Donetsk airport (12km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM, positioned 6km north-west of Donetsk city centre between 8:30 and 13:30hrs, recorded eight undetermined explosions 3-5km north-west and north-north-east of its position as well as numerous bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire all north, north-west and north-north-east of its position. Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 12 January, the SMM heard ten outgoing explosions, assessed as artillery (152mm), 3-4km west of its location.
The overall situation remained relatively calm in Luhansk region, but the SMM recorded a number of ceasefire violations concentrated in three areas: “LPR”-controlled Kalynove and Slovianoserbsk, and government-controlled Mykolaivka (58km west, 28km north-west, 76km north-west of Luhansk, respectively).
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of measures. The Mission has yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October notification. On 13 January, the Ukrainian authorities provided the SMM with additional baseline information on heavy weapons including their serial numbers and the names of locations where these weapons are supposedly positioned.
The SMM revisited an “LPR” heavy weapons permanent storage site and noted that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to this site were present.
The SMM continues to revisit locations known to it as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they do not comply with the specific criteria set out for permanent storage sites in the 16 October 2015 notification.
In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such holding areas and observed: 10 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and six anti-tank guns (D48, 85mm). At one of the areas, the SMM noted that the six anti-tank guns (D48, 85mm) noted absent on 2 October and 28 December 2015 were still missing.
In violation of respective withdrawal lines, at the outskirts of Volnovakha (53km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM saw two anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) under a camouflage net at a compound used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The SMM continued to monitor the security and humanitarian situation in Kominternove (“DPR”-controlled, 23km north-east of Mariupol, 92km south of Donetsk) and surrounding areas. In Kominternove, the SMM spoke to a resident who stated that power supply to the village, which had been disrupted on 11 January (see SMM Daily Report 12 January 2016) had been restored on 12 January, adding also that on 11 January, after the SMM had left the village, explosions and small-arms fire had been heard in the area. Whilst in Kominternove, the SMM heard one explosion approximately 400m south-west from its position. The SMM also saw five armed “DPR” members in military-type uniforms. At the first “DPR”-checkpoint, located at the south-western entrance of Kominternove, a female resident informed the SMM that in order to pass the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint at the outskirts of the village residents first have to register in Mariupol and demonstrate that they own property in the area. At a government-controlled checkpoint at the outskirts of Mariupol the SMM was approached by Kominternove residents (approximately 12, all around sixty years old and in five cars) who had gone to Mariupol to register for passes to enable them to move freely through Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoints in the area. The SMM also visited Vodiane (19km north-west of Mariupol, 4km south-east of Kominternove) where, as during its most recent visit, it did not observe armed persons or any civilians (see SMM Daily Report 5 January 2016). The SMM observed a “DPR” defensive position being prepared (trenches dug) on the road between Kominternove and Vodiane.
The Mission observed increased presence of Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). In the village, the SMM also observed two mobile checkpoints staffed with six to eight soldiers, and one military light truck, equipped with a 12,7mm heavy machine gun.
The SMM monitored the situation in border areas not controlled by the Government. At the border crossing point in “DPR”-controlled Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol), the SMM noted an overall calm situation and saw eight civilian trucks with Ukrainian license plates and a civilian bus (with young male passengers) with “DPR” license plates crossing into the Russian Federation.
The SMM continued to monitor civilian movement across the contact line. At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint close to government-controlled Marinka (23km west-south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a total of 156 cars and five busses waiting to go west, and four cars waiting to go east. All vehicles had Ukrainian license plates. The SMM again observed anti-tank mines at this checkpoint, separated by concrete blocks and marked with signs (see SMM Daily Reports 16 and 29 December 2015).
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Lviv, Odessa, 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. Besides the above mentioned general restrictions, on 13 January the SMM was not subject to any specific restriction to its freedom of movement.
 All times are in Eastern European Time unless otherwise specified.
* 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”.