Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 28 January 2016
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM observed a number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, but none in the area of Donetsk airport. In Luhansk region, it also observed instances of ceasefire violations, including live-fire exercises. The Mission continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons. The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical infrastructure. The Mission monitored the humanitarian situation in villages near the contact line. The SMM’s freedom of movement was restricted in areas not controlled by the Government.
On 27 January, between 16:00 and 23:30hrs, stationed in Svitlodarsk (government controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard sporadic firing of small-arms 4.5km south-southwest of its position. Between 20:10 and 23:30hrs the SMM also heard automatic grenade launcher explosions coming from the same area.
Whilst in Kominternove (23km north-east of Mariupol), on 28 January between 12:32 and 13:10hrs the SMM recorded three undetermined explosions and some 20 rounds of small-arms fire north of its position. On the western edge of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), between 11:20hrs and 11:31hrs, the SMM heard four undetermined explosions north-west of its position and three undetermined explosions north-east of its position.
In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded 29 undetermined explosions, 16 of which it assessed as live-fire exercises at a known training area near “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk).
The SMM followed-up on allegations of anti-tank missile firing across the contact line, into government-controlled Krymske (43km north-west of Luhansk). The SMM visited the site south of Krymske, near a Ukrainian Armed Forces position between 1km and 1.5km from the contact line. The SMM observed a circular blast area of blackened ground and several fragments consistent with an anti-tank wire-guided missile. Approximately 50m south of the blast area, the SMM observed a copper missile control wire running south toward “LPR”-controlled areas.
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storage sites whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and noted that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to these sites were present. The SMM recorded an additional tank (T-64).
The SMM also revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site and noted that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to this site were present.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: 31 tanks (T-64, T-72) at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Myrne (41km south-west of Luhansk) and seven tanks (T-64, T-72) at an “LPR” training area near Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk). The SMM also noted that the training area near “LPR”-controlled Kruhlyk (31km south-west of Luhansk) was empty. There, the SMM had previously noted as many as 31 tanks (T-64, T-72) (see SMM Daily Report 16 January 2016).
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: 12 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS; BM21 Grad, 122mm), 36 towed howitzers (18 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm and 18 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm), 17 self-propelled howitzers (six 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm and 11 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm), 62 anti-tank guns (2A29, MT-12, Rapira, 100mm) and 27 tanks (T-64). In total, the SMM had observed that the following weapons were missing from the areas it revisited: three towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and 31 anti-tank guns (2A29, MT-12, Rapira, 100mm).
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside holding areas or storage sites, the SMM observed the following heavy weapons: 18 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 to critical infrastructure. The SMM facilitated and monitored the repair of the high-voltage power lines in “DPR”-controlled Vuhlehirsk-Makiivka and Vuhlehirsk-Centralna 1 and 2 and repair works to power lines carried out by the energy company in the vicinity of Haharina coal mine on the western outskirts of Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk). A “DPR” demining team was also present near the coal mine. There were no ceasefire violations and the work proceeded as scheduled. The SMM also monitored the repair works on the power line on the outskirts of Artemove (government-controlled, 40km north of Donetsk); the SMM was accompanied by representatives of the Joint Centre for Control and Coo-ordination. The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire on both sides of the contact line for on-going repairs to the Karbonit water system, including repairs to a pipeline running from government-controlled areas near Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk), in the direction of Pervomaisk (“LPR”-controlled, 57km west of Luhansk).
The SMM continued to monitor the humanitarian situation in villages near the contact line. In Kominternove the SMM met with some residents who complained of recent difficulties they and residents of nearby Vodiane (19km north-east of Mariupol) had been facing in travelling to Mariupol. The interlocutors said residents were not allowed to pass through the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoints in the immediate vicinity of the villages and were thus made to use the checkpoint near Hnutove (government-controlled, 20km north-east of Mariupol). A Ukrainian Armed Forces civil-military co-operation representative, also present at the meeting, explained the restriction was related to the rotation of military units and pledged to address the matter. In Kominternove, residents showed the SMM fresh marks of shelling on the wall of a garage and the SMM assessed the shelling had come from the west. The residents also showed the SMM remnants of BMP-1 ammunition in the street. In Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk), a 55 year-old woman told the SMM that the town had no running water.
At the railway station in “LPR”-controlled Sukhodilsk (38km south-east of Luhansk), employees told the SMM that the railway served to transport coal and diesel. The SMM observed 47 coal cars at the station. The employees said the railway was not connected to cross-border railroads. They said they were paid in hryvnia and had to collect their salaries in government-controlled areas. The SMM observed a calm situation in the area.
The SMM visited government-controlled Pantyukhyne (132km north of Luhansk) in the border area. The SMM noted a calm situation in the area, and Ukrainian Border Guard members told the SMM that the situation near the border crossing point, located 500m north of the village,was normal.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Kharkiv, 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.
- The SMM visited Kominternove and was accompanied throughout its visits by “DPR” members.
- At an “LPR” checkpoint in Sverdlovsk (61km south-east of Luhansk), armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM, read its itinerary, recorded SMM monitors’ names and the license plate of the SMM vehicle.
* 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.