Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 27 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region. In Luhansk region, it also observed instances of ceasefire violations, including live-fire training. The Mission’s freedom of movement was restricted, mostly in areas not controlled by the Government.* In Zaitseve, the SMM conducted crater analysis and observed a damaged house. In Marinka it facilitated and monitored repair works on the local gas pipeline.
On 26 January, positioned in Donetsk city centre (“DPR”-controlled), between 20:15 and 22:38hrs the SMM recorded 46 undetermined explosions 10-15km north of its position. In the early hours of 27 January, the SMM heard an undetermined explosion in the city centre, not far from its location. Later that day, at the location where the SMM assessed the explosion to have occurred, the SMM observed slight damage at the pedestal of the Lenin statue.
Between 8:24 and 13:29hrs on 27 January, the SMM – positioned the “DPR”- controlled railway station 6km north-west of Donetsk city centre – heard six undetermined explosions and in addition 17 heavy artillery rounds impacting at locations 2-10km north, north-west, south-west and south of its position.
Whilst in Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk), on 26 January between 18:00 and 18:24hrs the SMM recorded 41 undetermined explosions 5-7km north and north-west of its position and small-arms fire to the north-west. Based in Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) on 26 January, between 18:25 and 21:00hrs, the SMM heard 16 undetermined explosions 5km north of its position and seven bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire to the west.
The SMM recorded 13 undetermined explosions, assessed as training exercises in “LPR”-controlled Miusynsk (62km south-west of Luhansk) and three undetermined explosions assessed as training exercises in “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk). At the government-controlled Trokhizbenka military training area (33km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed an on-going live firing exercise.
Whilst located in government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM recorded about 100 rounds of small arms, approximately 50 bursts of machine-gun fire, and three-five explosions assessed to be outgoing automatic grenade launcher rounds 2-5km west of its position. At the same location, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion, 2-5km east of its position.
In the government-controlled part of Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM followed up on reports about shelling in the evening of 26 January*. The SMM analysed three craters located in the western part of the village close to the contact line. On a residential street, it saw in one crater remnants of a 82mm mortar round assessed as having been fired from the south. About 100m north-east of the first crater, the SMM saw another crater, in which it observed remnants of a 82mm mortar round assessed as having been fired from the south-east. The SMM found in a third crater remnants of a 120mm mortar round, about 1.5km north-west from the first crater, assessed as having been fired from the east.
The SMM spoke to several residents in the “DPR”-controlled part of Zaitseve*, who said that shelling had taken place on 26 January at 18:30hrs and that the roof of a house located in Karbysheva Street 104 was damaged. The SMM saw a hole with a diameter of one meter on the northern side of the roof. Electrical lines within the house were also damaged. According to the residents, the area was affected by frequent shelling, mostly taking place between 18:30 and 21:00hrs, due to the proximity of the “DPR” checkpoint. The SMM observed a “DPR” checkpoint some 300m north-west from the damaged house, adjacent to school #15.
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), three towed anti-tank gun (D-44, 85mm) and one tank (T-64) missing.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: 30 tanks (T-64, T-72) at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Uspenka.
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 such holding areas and observed: eight multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS; 9P140 Uragan, 220mm), 18 towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm), 15 anti-tank guns (2A29, MT-12, Rapira, 100mm) and two automatic gun-mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm).
In a “DPR”-controlled area beyond withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such holding areas and observed: nine mortars (PM-38, 120mm), six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and 11 towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm). It also noted that nine towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm) and eight mortars (PM-38, 120mm) were missing from these areas; two towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm) had been moved from one area to another.
The SMM also revisited an “LPR” permanent heavy weapons storage site and found that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to this site were present.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside holding areas, the SMM observed the following heavy weapons: 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S1, Gvozdika, 122mm) at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Uspenka.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs of critical infrastructure. In Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM monitored the repair works on the gas pipeline north of the village. The SMM observed six workers at the site and new pipes for on-site installation. Between 11:49 and 12:15hrs the SMM heard two undetermined explosions in the area 10km south-west of its position. When the SMM left the area, at 15:50hrs, repair works were still on-going.
In Kharkiv, the SMM followed up on media reports about damage to a World War II monument dedicated to the “warrior liberator” (see Daily Report 21 January 2016). A local police representative told the SMM that two young men had been detained under the suspicion of being involved in the damage to the monument. He said the two individuals intended to sell the brass lettered inscription as scrap metal. According to the interlocutor, criminal proceedings had been opened on charges of “violation of graves or other burial places… for personal gain” (Art. 297 of the Criminal Code).
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:
- An armed “LPR” member denied the SM access to an “LPR” compound located on the eastern outskirts of Luhansk city. This marks the fourth attempt by the SMM to access this particular site and as many denials of access to it.
- At an “LPR” checkpoint north of Diakove (“LPR”-controlled, 70km south of Luhansk), two armed “LPR” members prevented the SMM from accessing the border area. The SMM saw that the armed “LPR” members did not stop any other vehicle heading towards the border area.
- Armed "LPR" members at a checkpoint east of "LPR"-controlled Sokilnyky (38km north-west of Luhansk) prevented the SMM from entering the village, which is on the contact line.
- Armed “DPR” members in Zaitseve insisted on escorting the SMM throughout its visits.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel in Zaitseve insisted on escorting the SMM throughout its visit.
- Near the “LPR” checkpoint at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (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.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restriction to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfillment of its mandate”.
 All times are in Eastern European Time unless otherwise specified.