Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 26 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations across Donetsk region. In Luhansk region, it also observed instances of ceasefire violations, including live-fire training. It continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons. The Mission continued also to facilitate repairs to vital civilian infrastructure. The SMM met with a civilian wounded by a booby trap in Zaitseve. The SMM faced restrictions to its freedom of movement once in a government-controlled area and three times in “LPR”-controlled areas.*
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations spread out across Donetsk region. Whilst positioned at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard a total of 40 undetermined explosions, ranging from locations 3-10km to the west, south-west and south of its position. The SMM also heard a total of 19 undetermined explosions in southern Donetsk region, as well as small-arms fire, including near Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). The monitors heard a hand grenade explode and a burst of machine-gun fire, followed by automatic grenade launcher fire, which it assessed as training, near government-controlled Vasyukivka (82km north-east of Donetsk).
In Luhansk region, the SMM observed that the overall situation remained relatively calm. Though it recorded eight instances of ceasefire violations, the Mission assessed the majority were related to live-fire training at the “LPR”-controlled Myrne training area (28km south-west of Luhansk) and training near government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north of Luhansk).
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent weapons storage sites whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed three mortars (2B9, 82mm) missing from one site and one T-64 and seven T-72 tanks and two mortars (2B9, 82mm) missing from another site.
The SMM also revisited “DPR” permanent weapons storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines and confirmed that all weapons, previously verified as withdrawn to the sites, were present. At one, as previously reported (see SMM Daily Report 21 January), the SMM observed 15 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), which are regulated by the Minsk Package of Measures and, so, are stored in violation of these weapons’ withdrawal lines. Also, the serial number on one of the anti-tank guns was missing.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed in “LPR”-controlled areas: seven tanks (T-64 and T-72) driving near the Shymshynivka training area (27km south-west of Luhansk); three T-72 tanks in the Shymshynivka training area; and 25 tanks (T-64 and T-72) taking part in training at the Myrne training area (28km 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 Mission monitors 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 such holding areas and observed: 32 towed howitzers (14 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm and 18 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm), 12 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs; BM-21 Grad, 122mm), 40 self-propelled howitzers (22 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm, and 18 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), nine anti-tank guns (six D-48, 85mm and three M-44, 85mm), ten mortars (2B11, 120mm), and one surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10). The SMM noted seven towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), two surface-to-air missile systems (9K35 Strela-10), five self-propelled howitzers (two 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm, and three 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), and six anti-tank guns (D-48, 85mm) missing from the areas.
In violation of the relevant withdrawal lines, the SMM observed three self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and two towed howitzers (M-30, 122mm) in the “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka training area (28km south-west of Luhansk).
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside holding areas, the SMM observed in “LPR”-controlled areas: 13 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) at the Uspenka training area (23km south-west of Luhansk).
Also, for the first time, the SMM observed 11 anti-tank mines and one Claymore anti-personnel mine making up part of a UAF defensive position in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk).
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs of critical infrastructure. In Donetsk region, the SMM monitored explosive ordnance disposal and repairs to high-voltage power lines in the area of government-controlled Kodema (57km north-east of Donetsk) and “DPR”-controlled Holmivskyj (49km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM conducted a mirror patrol on both sides of the contact line around government-controlled Marinka and the Petrovskyi district of Donetsk city (“DPR”-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk city centre) to oversee demining work in preparation for gas line repairs. Two other mirror patrols were forced to leave off the monitoring of demining and power line repairs: one patrol after hearing two mortar impacts 2km south of its position in Dzerzhynsk (43km north of Donetsk) and the other patrol after hearing five-seven rounds of small-arms fire 2.5km north-east of its position in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk). In Luhansk region, the SMM observed ongoing demining and water pipe repairs in the government-controlled part of Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk).
At Hospital No. 2 in Horlivka, the SMM visited a 58-year-old man wounded when he tripped a booby trap in Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk) on 26 January. The SMM saw that the man had a shrapnel wound to his left, upper leg. His neighbour, a 58-years-old woman was also wounded in the same incident, according to her doctor, and also sustained non-life-threatening shrapnel wounds – to her legs and shoulder.
In Kyiv the SMM monitored a peaceful protest in front of the Parliament building by approximately 50 people (mainly elderly men and women) demanding a new election for the mayor of Kryvyi Rih (137km south-west of Dnepropetrovsk). At the same time, starting at approximately 10:00hrs, a second group of approximately 30 supporters of the Donbas battalion, mainly men aged 35 and older and most wearing camouflage fatigues, also demonstrated outside the Parliament building, some holding signs criticizing Ukraine’s political and military leadership. The SMM observed approximately 50 uniformed police monitoring the protests, which ended peacefully around noon.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, and Chernivtsi.
*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:
- On the western edge of Pryovrazhne (government-controlled, 19km north-east of Mariupol), armed men in military fatigues, with no insignia, stopped the SMM and refused to allow it to travel east. The SMM noted that the men were not operating a formal checkpoint, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces later told the SMM that they were not aware of the existence of this checkpoint.
- In “LPR”-controlled Komisarivka (61km south-west of Luhansk), an armed man with “DPR” insignia denied the SMM access to an “LPR” military compound, where the SMM had previously, on 5 January, seen eight 122mm mortar tubes stored.
- In western Luhansk city, an armed “LPR” member denied the SMM entrance to a military-type facility for the third time in as many attempts (see SMM Daily Report 21 January).
- 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’ visit.