Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30, 14 June 2016
This report is for media and the general public.
In Donetsk region, the SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations during the night of 13 June, as compared to the previous night, while it recorded a similarly high level of explosions during the day time of 14 June – compared to the previous day. In Luhansk region, the SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations compared to the previous day. The Mission conducted crater analysis on both sides of the contact line, in Avdiivka, Horlivka and Stanytsia Luhanska. It facilitated adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to infrastructure. The SMM noted long queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. The Mission faced four restrictions to its freedom of movement.* In Kyiv the SMM monitored two public gatherings.
The SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region during the night of 13 June, as compared to the previous night, while it noted a similarly high level of violence with nearly 400 explosions recorded during the daytime of 14 June – compared to the daytime of the previous day.
Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, during the night hours of 13 June, the SMM heard 60 undetermined explosions 3-10km north-north-west and north of its position. The following day, positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 8km north-east and 4-6km west, respectively, of its position.
Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), during the night of 13 June, the SMM heard 31 explosions, 30 of which were assessed as caused by 152mm artillery round impacts 22-25km south and south-west of its position.
Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard and saw 25 air bursts and 101 undetermined explosions – 88 of which were recorded within a half-hour period – at locations ranging from west to north-west 1.5-5km of its position. Whilst in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 93 explosions assessed as caused by various weapons, including: one 122mm artillery round impact, 29 mortar round impacts (82mm), 16 cannon (BMP-1, 73mm) round impacts; all 2-7km south-east and east of its position. During its observation, the SMM heard a whistling sound of a bullet, which it assessed as flying over heads of its members. The SMM immediately left the area.
Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions 3-6km north of its position and 71 undetermined explosions at locations 8-12km west-south-west and west of its position.
Whilst in government-controlled areas north-east of Mariupol including Pyshchevyk, Pavlopil and Chermalyk (25, 26 and 31km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM recorded a total of 50 explosions. Whilst in Pavlopil, the SMM heard 23 explosions assessed as caused by outgoing 120mm mortar rounds 2-7km north-east, east and south-west, and four explosions assessed as caused by 80mm and 120mm mortar round impacts. During its observation in the village, the SMM saw what it assessed to be a tank moving from south to north 4km east of its position. Whilst in Chermalyk, the SMM heard 13 explosions, six of which were assessed as caused by outgoing 122mm artillery rounds 4-5km north-west.
In Luhansk region, the SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations compared to the previous day. Whilst in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard 31 undetermined explosions 3.5-5km south-south-east and south-south-west of its position during the night of 13 June, and three undetermined explosions at locations in an undetermined direction 0.5-1km of its position in the afternoon of 14 June. Whilst positioned in government controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions 5.5km north-north-east of its position.
The SMM followed up on reports of shelling on both sides of the contact line. In the northern part of Avdiivka, the SMM found a crater 3m to the side of the road close to the coke and chemical plant. Analysis carried out by the SMM indicated that the crater was caused by a 122mm artillery round fired from a south-south-westerly direction. The Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM that the crater had been the result of shelling on 13 June.
At the Gagarin coal mine (37km north-east of Donetsk) near Horlivka, the SMM observed two craters and assessed them as caused by 73mm cannon rounds (BMP-1) fired from a north-north-westerly direction. A resident living near the mine told the SMM that the impacts had occurred on 11 June. Whilst in the area, the SMM heard 28 undetermined explosions all 4-10km south-west of its position.
On the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, the SMM saw a fresh crater on the asphalt road just south of a new “LPR” position (see SMM Daily Report, 13 June 2016) and assessed it as caused by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fired from a north-north-easterly direction. An “LPR” member present told the SMM that the impact had been caused the previous night.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of Measures.
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM continued to observe a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10, 120mm) near government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk) (see SMM Daily Report 27 May).
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 notification.
In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such locations and observed: 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm), six towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) and 21 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm). The SMM noted as missing one anti-tank gun (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) as first observed on 25 April.
The SMM observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles in the security zone in a government-controlled area: two armoured personnel carriers (APC; two BRDM) and a tracked APC covered with fabric near Nyzhnie.
The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to infrastructure. Near government-controlled Artemove (42km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair work to a factory. The SMM observed repair workers reinforcing the dyke walls of the sludge reservoir with clay. In “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable assessment of water pipeline for repair works.
The SMM continued to monitor queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. During the morning hours, at an “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge near government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM observed approximately 450 people waiting to cross the bridge towards government-controlled areas. At the government checkpoint north of the bridge, the SMM observed 200 people waiting to cross into government-controlled areas and 176 people waiting to cross on the opposite direction. In the early afternoon, at the same checkpoint, the SMM observed 20 people waiting to walk towards government-controlled area. During the morning hours at one Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed at least 510 civilian cars and 300 pedestrians waiting to travel into government-controlled areas.
In government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM noted newly installed cement triangle-shaped crash barriers on the main street in the southern part of the village, obstructing vehicular passage. A member of a local non-governmental organization (NGO) told the SMM that residents, in particular those living in this part of the village, had to carry food and water on foot or by bicycle to their houses and a car could not reach the kindergarten anymore. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer at the JCCC in Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) said the crash barriers was installed to prevent local residents from smuggling goods to non-government-controlled areas.
The SMM observed a mine hazard sign and unexploded ordnance (UXO). The SMM noted a mine hazard sign (light-brown colour made of plywood, 1m x 1m) in the middle of the asphalt road to “DPR”-controlled Nova Marivka (64km south of Donetsk) from the junction 3km south of Michurine (“DPR”-controlled, 61km south of Donetsk). Two armed “DPR” members arriving in a civilian car told the SMM that the road and the roadsides were mined*. In the village, the SMM observed for the first time an unexploded 82mm mortar round stuck in the middle of the asphalt road – only a part of its tail was visible. The SMM noted the location was marked by a red line with stating “stop” on the road.
The SMM attempted to reach a border area not controlled by the Government, but it encountered a freedom-of-movement restriction. On the road between “LPR”-controlled Nyzhnia Harasymivka and Krasnodarskyi (56 and 58km south-east of Luhansk, respectively), an “LPR” member stopped the SMM and demanded that it leave this border area. *
In Kyiv, the SMM monitored two public gatherings. On Independence Square, the SMM observed a gathering of 200 people (predominantly women), most of whom were carrying flowers. Among the participants, the SMM noted 20 wearing military-style clothing with Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) insignia and two men carrying a flag with two horizontal stripes, one red and one black. One of the participants (middle-aged woman) told the SMM that the event was dedicated to mourning for the Right Sector combatants who had been killed over the weekend. The SMM noted several patrol police officers present nearby. In front of the Cabinet of Ministers building, the SMM observed a gathering of 150 people (men and women aged between 20 and 60), calling for more assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and protesting against what they said was discrimination against IDPs. The event passed off peacefully, overseen by 20 police and five National Guard officers.
*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate
The SMM’s monitoring is restrained by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines and unexploded ordnance, and by restrictions of its freedom of movement and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations.
Denial of access:
- At a checkpoint on the eastern edge of government-controlled Talakivka (16km north-east of Mariupol), Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel did not allow the SMM to proceed further east, referring to security concerns. They stated their positions had been shelled ten minutes prior to the SMM’s arrival. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- While stationary at a checkpoint in the western part of Mariupol (102km south of Donetsk), Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel asked the SMM to leave the location.
- On the road between “LPR”-controlled Nyzhnia Harasymivka and Krasnodarskyi, an “LPR” member stopped the SMM and demanded that it leave these border areas. He escorted the SMM up to “LPR”-controlled Sorokyne (formerly Krasnodon, 43km south-east of Luhansk). The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was not able to access Nova Marivka due to mine hazard sign in the middle of the road from the west to the village. The SMM also noted an improvised sign road saying “No entry” at the road from south to the village.