Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 5 February 2016
This report is for media and the general public
The SMM observed a significant number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and several in Luhansk region. It continued to visit heavy weapons holding areas and permanent storage sites. The Mission encountered freedom-of-movement restrictions, the majority in areas not under government control.* Residents and Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the SMM that the Maiorsk checkpoint had been closed for pedestrians and traffic.
The SMM observed ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Whilst at the “DPR”-controlled central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) between 8:11 and 11:50hrs and 12:52 and 15:00hrs, the SMM heard 202 undetermined explosions, assessed to include 82mm mortars, as well as automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades accompanied by an exchange of small-arms and heavy-machine-gun fire 2-5km north-east, north and north-west of its position. At 15:00hrs when the SMM left its position, the exchange of fire was still on-going.
In Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 58km north-eat of Donetsk) between 9:42 and 9:59hrs the SMM heard 11 undetermined explosions 6-15km west and north of its position. Between 10:24 and 10:56hrs it heard 13 undetermined explosions 10-25km west and north-west of its position; and between 13:57 and 15:02hrs it heard 65 undetermined explosions and six bursts (five rounds each) assessed as 30mm cannon, 8-25km west and north of its position.
Whilst facilitating and monitoring repairs to gas pipelines in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 57 undetermined explosions of 82mm mortars 6-10km north-east of its position.
In Luhansk region, the SMM observed multiple explosions at various locations north, north-west, west, south-west and south of Luhansk.
The SMM followed up on reports about shelling in the evening of 4 February* in Petrovskyi district (“DPR”-controlled, 20km west of Donetsk) of Donetsk city. On Shestakova Street 57 the SMM saw two buildings – a house and a shed – both with visibly shell-damaged roofs. The SMM observed that the roof of the house was damaged on its western side, which, according to the owner, was the result of shelling the previous day at around 20:00hrs. At the second location, on Shestakova Street 51, the SMM saw a house with a shell-damaged roof. The SMM observed a hole in a window on the western side as well as a hole in an internal wall of the house. The SMM assessed that one round of heavy-machine-gun fire from a south-south-westerly direction had penetrated the window, and had then hit the wall inside the house. The owner of the house stated that shelling had occurred on 4 February at around 20:00hrs. Whilst in Petrovskyi district, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 3-5km north from its position.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of Measures, the SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines and noted that seven anti-tank guns (D-44, 85mm and D48, 85mm) previously recorded were missing.
Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: 33 tanks (T-64 and T-72), five mortars (120mm) at a shooting range in “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk). In an “LPR” training area near Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM saw six tanks.
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 it 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 locations and observed: nine towed anti-tank guns (2A29/MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), 18 towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and 18 towed guns (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm), 12 self-propelled multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS, BM-21 Grad, 122mm) and ten mortars (2B11, 120mm). It found 15 towed anti-tank guns (2A29/MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) previously recorded missing, as observed since 9 December 2015.
In areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines not controlled by the Government, the SMM revisited such locations and observed: nine MLRS (BM-12 Grad, 122mm) and six self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm).
In violation of respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed three towed anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) at a shooting range in “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk).
The SMM monitored the presence of other hardware. It observed, at a shooting range in Ternove 30 armoured vehicles (BTR), 32 military-type trucks and about 200 armed men in military-type clothing. The SMM saw three multi-purpose light-armoured towing vehicles (MTLB) and three military-type trucks in the area of Mykolaivka (“DPR”-controlled, 34km east of Donetsk). In the vicinity of Torez (“DPR”-controlled, 60km east of Donetsk) the SMM observed one military-type truck (Ural) and two BTRs being towed by two military-type trucks (Kamaz). In Trudovskyi district of Donetsk city (“DPR”-controlled, 20km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM saw one MTLB with a ZU-23/2 anti-aircraft gun mounted, moving towards the city centre. Close to Zuhres (“DPR”-controlled, 35km east of Donetsk) the SMM observed four modified military-type trucks (with added improvised armour and spray-painted windows) with one towing an MTLB. Near Shakhtarsk (“DPR”-controlled, 50km east of Donetsk) the SMM observed three military-type trucks towing two BTRs heavily camouflaged with tree branches. In Donetsk, the SMM observed a convoy consisting of four BTRs, three military-type trucks and towed excavators. At the southern entrance of Komsomolske (“DPR”-controlled, 42km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 11 armed men in military-type clothing marching north towards the village.
The SMM went to the hospital in Kurakhove (government-controlled, 40km west of Donetsk) to follow up on reports about a civilian injured during shelling in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk). A nurse told the SMM that a 63-year-old man from Marinka had suffered shrapnel injuries to his face, right leg and shoulder and both arms including the loss of two fingers on his right hand. The SMM spoke with the injured man who said that an exchange of small-arms fire had occurred at 19:00hrs on 4 February, which then turned into an exchange of shelling. According to him, he had heard at least ten impacts in his neighbourhood before he got injured by multiple fragments of shrapnel from an impact that had occurred less than 2m from him.
The SMM continued to observe the presence of mines, noting eight wire anti-tank mines in the vicinity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Marinka.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation affecting the civilian population near the contact line. Two men in Yasynuvata (“DPR”-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Maiorsk had been closed to all traffic. The SMM spoke to the Ukrainian Armed Forces representatives at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in Dzerzhynsk (government-controlled, 58km north of Donetsk) and the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander of the checkpoint, who both confirmed that nobody was allowed to pass through the checkpoint.
At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint close to Marinka the SMM observed in the morning hours a queue consisting of 284 civilian cars, lined up to proceed towards government-controlled areas and 168 civilian cars lined up to proceed towards “DPR”-controlled areas. Later in the afternoon the SMM observed at the same checkpoint 120 civilian cars lined up to proceed towards government-controlled areas and 15 civilian cars lined up to proceed towards “DPR”-controlled areas. At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint close to the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed 100 people waiting to cross into areas not controlled by the Government. The SMM did not observe any civilians queuing in the opposite direction towards areas controlled by the Government. Several people expressed their concerns to the SMM about a possible closure of the bridge. They said it would have an immense negative effect on their lives.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, 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:
- In government-controlled Novozvanivka (71km south-east of Luhansk) Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel demanded from the SMM to leave the area;
- “LPR” members denied the SMM access to a permanent heavy weapons storage site.
- Armed security guards at the civil-military administration in Sievierodonetsk delayed the SMM for 20 minutes to attend a press briefing;
- Armed “LPR” members delayed the SMM for 25 minutes at a checkpoint near Irmino (54km west of Luhansk);
- In government-controlled Pryvilne (31km north of Mariupol), the SMM had to wait 35 minutes before it was allowed to visit a military compound.
- Armed “DPR” members in Petrovskyi district insisted on escorting the SMM throughout its visits;
- In “LPR”-controlled Rovenky (55km south of Luhansk), armed “LPR” members insisted on inspecting SMM monitors’ driving license and seeing their patrol plan;
- Armed “LPR” members in “LPR”-controlled Sverdlovsk (61km south-east of Luhansk) insisted on seeing SMM monitors’ identification and their patrol plan;
- Armed “LPR” members at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge insisted on seeing SMM monitors’ identification and patrol plan.
 All times in this report are in Eastern European Time.