Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 25 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public
The SMM observed a small number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region. In Luhansk region, it observed no ceasefire violations. “LPR” members restricted its freedom of movement on six ocasions.* The Mission continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs of critical infrastructure. The SMM also followed up on reports of civilians injured during shelling in Zaitseve, the water shortages in Luhansk city.
The SMM observed a small numbers of ceasefire violations in limited areas of Donetsk region. Positioned at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard two bursts of small-arms fire at locations 3-5km north-north-west of its position. Whilst in government-controlled Pavlopil (26km northeast of Mariupol), the SMM heard one undetermined explosion 5km south of its position.
In government-controlled Starohnativka (53km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM followed up on reports about shelling during the nights of 20, 21, 22 and 23 January. At a location near Ukrainian Armed Forces positions, it saw 13 fresh craters assessed to be consistent with impacts from both 82mm mortar and 122mm artillery. The analysis showed that one of the craters had been caused by 122 mm artillery fired from the north-east.
In Luhansk region, the SMM observed that the overall situation remained relatively calm and did not observe any ceasefire violations.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and found that all weapons, previously verified as withdrawn to the site, were present.
On 22 January aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence of the following Addendum-regulated weapons beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites: 40 tanks and five mortars at a training area near “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk) and 22 tanks near “LPR”-controlled Buhaivka (37km 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 2015 notification. The SMM revisited locations known to the SMM 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 and visited for the first time such holding areas and observed: ten towed howitzers (two 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm and eight 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), 14 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and 26 Addendum-regulated tanks (T-64). It also noted that four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and five Addendum-regulated tanks (T-64) were missing from one of those areas.
In a “DPR”-controlled area beyond withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such holding areas and observed six previously recorded anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and nine multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs; BM-21 Grad, 122mm). It also noted that two anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) and two MLRSs (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) were missing from these areas.
In violation of respective withdrawal lines, on 22 January aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence of 17 self-propelled howitzers (heavy weapons) at a training area near “DPR”-controlled Ternove.
The SMM monitored the presence of other hardware as follows: two armoured personnel carriers (APCs; BTR-80) and three infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs; BMP-2) near the government-controlled part of Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk), two IFVs (BMP-1) and one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a military-type truck on the “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk), 13 military-type trucks and one multipurpose armoured vehicle (MT-LB) in “LPR”-controlled Yuvileine (10km west of Luhansk), one IFV (BMP-2) near “LPR”-controlled Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk). Additionally, aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed a concentration of military hardware was observed on 22 January: 12 towed artillery pieces, 55 military-type trucks, 120 armoured vehicles, and 115 pieces of unidentified equipment at a training area near “DPR”-controlled Ternove; 53 armoured vehicles, 35 military-type trucks, and 30 pieces of unidentified equipment near Buhaivka.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs of critical infrastructure. In an area between government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk) and Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk), representatives of an energy and a water company told SMM that only 30 per cent of the planned repair works on both the high-voltage power lines and water supply pipes had been completed to date. The SMM monitored the repair works on the high-voltage power line on the outskirts of government-controlled Artemove (42km north of Donetsk). During its monitoring, it heard four shots of small arms outgoing at locations 500-700m east of its position.
The SMM visited a woman injured during shelling in Zaitseve. At hospital No. 2 in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), a resident (woman aged 60) of Zaitseve informed the SMM that while, walking on the Brusilova street in Zaitseve with her granddaughter (aged 14) and three other members of their family at around 10:30hrs of 24 January, a grenade launcher round impacted 4m away from them, wounding her and her granddaughter. She told the SMM that she had two shrapnel wounds to the right-side of her chest under the armpit.
The SMM followed up on media reports of water shortages in the eastern and central parts of Luhansk city (“LPR”-controlled) due to alleged technical failure at a water reservoir in Petrivske (government-controlled, 86km north of Luhansk) on the evening of 21 January. The head of the water company in government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the repair work on the water pipeline had been completed and water flow from the Petrivske water reservoir to “LPR”-controlled areas had resumed at around 11:30hrs of 25 January. He explained that the water disruption was due to the poor conditions of some sections of the water pipeline.
The SMM met the head of the Jewish community in Kolomyia (50km south-east of Ivano-Frankivsk) who spoke about two incidents which damaged gravestones at the Jewish cemetery. According to him, on the night of 25 to 26 December 2015, a number of gravestones were knocked down and smashed; and on the night of 13 January 2016, 42 gravestones were damaged. An attempt was made to burn down the chapel at the cemetery and four security cameras were stolen, he added. The SMM reported two incidents on alleged arson attacks that had caused damages to a chapel at the Jewish cemetery in September and November 2015 (see SMM Daily Report 10 November 2015).
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, 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 near Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk), armed “LPR” members did not allow the SMM to proceed further towards the government-controlled areas.
- In “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (57km west of Luhansk), an armed “LPR” member refused to allow the SMM access to a compound (see SMM Daily Report 23 January).The SMM could not follow up on allegations that the compound was storing artillery pieces.
- On the eastern outskirts of “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city, armed “LPR” members refused to allow the SMM access to a compound (see SMM Daily Report 21 January), citing absence of written “permission”. The SMM could not follow up on allegations that the facility was being used to store heavy weapons.
- At a checkpoint in “LPR”-controlled Parkhomenko (29km east of Luhansk), “LPR” members demanded that the SMM show its patrol plan. After providing the requested item, the SMM was allowed to proceed after five minutes.
- Near the “LPR” checkpoint at the Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM, recorded SMM monitors’ names and ID numbers and inquired about the purpose of the SMM’s visit.
- At an “LPR” checkpoint near “LPR”-controlled Pionerske (19 km east of Luhansk), armed “LPR” members allowed the SMM to continue into the village on condition of accepting an escort. The armed members accompanied the SMM throughout its visit to the village, including during its conversation with local interlocutors.
 All time references are in Eastern European Time.