Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 14 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In particular, the Mission noted continued shelling in Horlivka, and a significant number of ceasefire violations in the outskirts of Kominternove. In Luhansk region, the SMM observed fresh craters assessed to have been caused by mortar fire. The Mission continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair of critical infrastructure.
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region . Positioned 6km north-west of Donetsk city centre, the SMM recorded 12 undetermined explosions and multiple bursts of small-arms fire at locations 2.5-5km north-north-west of its position. In “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the Mission recorded ceasefire violations at night on the third consecutive day. In the evening of 13 January, the SMM heard several explosions, assessed as impacts and outgoing rounds of artillery and mortar fire, and saw launch of flares (undetermined) and anti-aircraft tracers, both at locations 3-4km west of its position.
Positioned on the highway E58, 2km west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), between 12:43 and 13:14hrs , the SMM heard more than 20 undetermined explosions and an exchange of fire consisting of anti-aircraft-gun, small-arms fire, mortar and artillery at locations 5-10km north-east or north-north-east of its position. Whilst on the highway E58 500m west of the government-controlled checkpoint near Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol), between 13:42 and 14:30hrs, the SMM heard a total of 38 explosions (including six outgoing rounds and 16 impacts of artillery fire), 430 shots and 168 bursts of small-arms, heavy-machine-gun and anti-aircraft-gun fire, 5-10km north-east of its positions. The SMM assessed that most of the ceasefire violations occurred in the wider area of “DPR”-controlled Kominternove and Vodiane (23 and 19km north-east of Mariupol, respectively).
Whilst in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (58km west of Luhansk) and Smile (32km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM recorded multiple bursts of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire. The SMM also continued to observe firing incidents assessed as part of live-fire exercises. For example, positioned near “LPR”-controlled Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard four explosions and one burst of heavy-machine-gun fire and assessed that they occurred at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk). In “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (50km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw two fresh craters in a field 250m from residential buildings and assessed them to have been caused by 120mm mortar. Due to the possible presence of anti-personnel mines in the area, the SMM was unable to conduct crater analysis. An “LPR” member present told the SMM that four mortar shells had impacted in the town earlier in the day.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. At one site, all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to the site were present, while at other sites, the SMM observed that two mortars (2B9, 82mm), three anti-tank guns (D-44, 85mm) and one tank (T-64) were missing and the serial number of one tank (T-64) did not match those provided in the inventory.
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.
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: 23 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and 26 tanks (T-64).
The SMM continued to monitor the security situation in Kominternove. At a “DPR” checkpoint south-west of Kominternove, the Mission observed 15 anti-tank mines, protected by concrete blocks on the right side of the road, which had not been present on previous visits. In government-controlled area of the vicinity of Kominternove, the SMM observed a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (ZSU-23-4) and two military trucks.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair of critical infrastructure. In “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), the Mission continued to facilitate repairs of nearby water pipelines and pumps (see: SMM Daily Report 30 December 2015).
The SMM continued to monitor civilian movement across the contact line. At an “LPR” checkpoint south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), an armed “LPR” member told the SMM that 1,000 people crossed the bridge from “LPR”-controlled area to government-controlled area and another 1,000 people had crossed the checkpoint in the opposite direction during the past 24 hours. The SMM observed that “LPR” members were conducting repair works of the handrails of the wooden bridge.
The SMM continued to follow up on tensions between two religious communities in Ptycha village (148km north-east of Lviv, Rivne region; latest: see SMM Daily Report 12 January). On 12 January, in Rivne city (211km north-east of Lviv), representatives of the Rivne regional directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told the SMM that 28 complaints and requests for assistance regarding the confrontation in Ptycha had been submitted to the police since April 2015, including eight criminal cases. The interlocutor added that police officers were presently guarding the church in Ptycha on a 24-hour basis until the tension finally subsides. Later on the same day, the SMM revisited Ptycha, where it observed a calm situation and several police officers inside two police vehicles parked in front of the church.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, 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.
Denial of access:
- At a checkpoint in Oktiabr (“DPR”-controlled, 29km north-east of Mariupol), “DPR” members did not allow the SMM to proceed further to the north, explaining they did not receive an order to let the SMM pass.
- At a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south of Donetsk), a “DPR” member in camouflage uniform held the SMM for 12 minutes, demanding to see the SMM members’ national passports.
 For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.
 All times are in Eastern European Time unless otherwise specified.