Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 15 January 2016
A number of ceasefire violations were recorded in Donetsk and Luhansk. The Mission facilitated the delivery of urgently needed haemodialysis equipment for patients in Horlivka hospital no.2. The SMM observed damage to houses in Kominternove and was prevented from entering a building and adjacent yard in the village by “DPR” members. An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was damaged by small-arms fire in Luhansk region.
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region. From a position at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard one explosion and several bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire in an area 3-4km north of its position between 7:55 and 14:00hrs. Between 17:10 and 18:53hrs on 14 January, while in the forward patrol base in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 45 mortar impacts (possibly 82mm), three shots – possibly from an automatic grenade launcher (AGL) – and an exchange of small-arms fire in an area 3-4km west of its location.
On 15 January two residents in an area 2km south of “DPR”-controlled Shyroka Balka (34km north-north-east of Donetsk, 7km west of Horlivka) told the SMM that they had heard incoming and outgoing mortar and artillery rounds in the area on the nights of 13 and 14 January. The SMM did not however, observe recent damage in the area.
In Luhansk, the situation remained relatively calm. The SMM, positioned near government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk) heard firing, which they assessed as anti-aircraft gunfire and/or fire from an armoured personnel carrier (BTR) and AGL shots, in an area to the east of its position. The SMM also heard explosions and shots assessed as training exercises near “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk) and also near government-controlled Mykolaivka (75km north-west of Luhansk).
An SMM UAV was hit by small-arms fire over “LPR”-controlled Stakhanov (49km west of Luhansk) as it attempted to observe a factory complex occupied by armed “LPR” members.* Although the UAV’s observation capacity was lost, it was able to return to the take-off location. The UAV has been rendered inoperable due to the damage sustained.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces’ permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. The SMM observed one tank (T-64) in addition to all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to one site. At another site, one tank (T-64) was missing and another tank, not listed in the inventory, had been added.
Beyond the withdrawal lines and outside storage sites, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: approximately 25 tanks near “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk) and 35 tanks (T-72 and T-64) near “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east-north-east of Donetsk).
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 2015 notification.
The SMM continues to visit 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 eight multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (9P140 Uragan, 220mm).
In “DPR”-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines the SMM observed six howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and 10 mortars (PM-38, 120mm), which are regulated under the Addendum to the Package of Measures.
The SMM observed the presence of other hardware: in an area 27km north-north-west of Mariupol, four Ukrainian Armed Forces trucks transporting ammunition boxes, which the SMM assessed as 82mm mortar boxes, in the direction of Mariupol; near “DPR”-controlled Ternove, a UAZ jeep with black registration plates, five trucks (four Ural, one Kamaz), and a total of 28 “DPR” members on training exercises or undertaking construction works.
The SMM continued to monitor the security and humanitarian situation in “DPR”-controlled Kominternove (23km north-east of Mariupol) and surrounding areas. In the town, the SMM observed damage to homes consistent with shelling. One elderly woman showed the SMM the severely damaged roof of her home, assessed to have been caused by a large calibre round. The SMM also observed the wall of another house assessed as having been penetrated by an anti-tank guided missile fired from the south-west. The SMM analysed three fresh craters on a road near a “DPR” checkpoint, assessed as having been caused by 82mm mortar, but it could not determine the direction of fire. A “DPR” member showed the SMM a recent impact to a house said to be from an anti-tank guided missile (fagot). The Mission observed damage, but could not determine the direction of fire. Residents in Kominternove and in nearby Vodiane (19km north-west of Mariupol) told the SMM that they heard a loud explosion in the early hours of 15 January, which was corroborated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and a “DPR” member. Residents said that their supply of food is irregular and that they lack medicine. Although gas is supplied to the village, residents told the SMM that they repair the lines themselves as specialized teams cannot enter due to movement restrictions and uncertainty as to who is responsible for repairs in this area. “DPR” members denied the SMM entry to a building and adjacent yard that they were guarding.*
Following dialogue facilitation efforts the Mission monitored the delivery of urgently needed haemodialysis equipment to hospital No. 2 in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk). The equipment, provided by the non-governmental organization (NGO) “Association Internationale de Coopération Médicale”, will allow 46 patients to receive dialysis. The chief doctor of the hospital had told the SMM on 15 December of the critical need for such equipment (see SMM Daily Report, 16 December 2015).
The Mission monitored demining works in areas close to civilian infrastructure. In government-controlled Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk), the head of the demining team from the Ministry of Emergency Services showed the SMM two areas near the Karbonit water supply plant that are being demined. Work started on 29 December and will continue until 29 February. According to him, it is more difficult to carry out demining in winter as the equipment does not work well under cold weather conditions.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, 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:
- “DPR” members denied the SMM entry to a building and adjacent yard they were guarding in Kominternove (23km north-west of Mariupol).
- Armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM near the checkpoint south of the bridge to government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), recorded the names of patrol members and vehicle registration numbers, delaying the SMM for 15 minutes.
- The SMM UAV was hit by small-arms fire over “LPR”-controlled Stakhanov (49km west of Luhansk) rendering it inoperable.
 All times referred to in this report are in Eastern European Time
For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.