Spot Report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM): SMM vehicle hit by bullet, and SMM threatened at gunpoint in Smile
On 7 April at 9:45hrs, while an SMM patrol, comprised of four SMM members in two armoured vehicles, was 3.5km north-east of Snizhne (“DPR”-controlled, 72km east of Donetsk) near the administrative boundary between Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the driver of the front SMM vehicle heard the trunk window crackling. After stopping to inspect the vehicle, the SMM noted on the lower right part of the trunk window a hole, 5mm in diameter, assessed to be caused by a bullet. This window was not bullet-proof, whereas a bullet-proof glass divides the trunk and the passenger cabin of the car. On the latter the SMM noted a small chip, 3mm in diameter, possibly caused by the same bullet. The SMM further observed a bullet exit point on the left side of the trunk window, a hole 15mm in diameter. No bullet or projectile was recovered from inside the vehicle. No SMM members were hurt and the patrol returned safely to its base in Luhansk city at 12:30hrs. Due to the fact that no shot was heard, the SMM cannot ascertain at what time and location it was hit.
In a separate incident at 14:22hrs on the same day, a different SMM patrol, comprised of five SMM members in two armoured vehicles, was stopped on the P-66 highway at a checkpoint north of Smile (“LPR”-controlled, 32km north-west of Luhansk) by a senior member of a local “LPR” armed formation known to the SMM, wearing military-type clothes. The same patrol had passed through the checkpoint earlier in the day without problems. The SMM patrol leader got out of the car to speak with the man. Angrily addressing the SMM patrol leader, the man insisted that the SMM had no right to be in the area. After the SMM explained its freedom of movement as provided by its mandate, upon the interlocutor’s order, another man charged his weapon and pointed it at the patrol leader from a distance of 7m. The patrol leader then immediately got into the vehicle and the SMM patrol left the area. It returned safely to its base in Stakhanov at 16:15hrs.
The SMM informed both Ukrainian and Russian representatives at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination about both incidents, asking them to take follow-up actions.