Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30, 2 August 2016
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM noted a decrease in the number of ceasefire violations recorded in Donetsk region compared to the day before. In Luhansk the SMM noted an increase in recorded ceasefire violations on the day before, with many concentrated around “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov). A peaceful protest was held outside the SMM’s base in Kadiivka. Later, at the same location, the SMM heard bursts of small-arms fire in the vicinity of their base and saw an individual running from the area. An armed man at a known Ukrainian Armed Forces position threatened the SMM at gunpoint in Lobacheve. The SMM analysed craters on both sides of the contact line. It observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines. “LPR” members prevented the SMM from monitoring in border areas.
The SMM noted a decrease in the number of ceasefire violations recorded in Donetsk region compared to the day before.
On the evening of 1 August, while in government-controlled Mariupol, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions at an unknown distance east and east-north-east of its position. On the same evening, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded fighting in the following sequence: five explosions (impacts) north-east, and fifty bursts of tracer fire from east in an unknown direction; four bursts of tracer fire from south-east to north-west; four undetermined explosions; 12 bursts of tracer fire from east to north and 34 air bursts from south-east to north-west.
While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre in the early morning hours of 2 August, the SMM heard 67 undetermined explosions 5-15km north and north-west of its position.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk city) the SMM heard 21 undetermined explosions 2-5km west and north-west of its position. Later, positioned at the Yasynuvata railway station the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 4-6km north-west.
Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk city) the SMM heard
16 undetermined explosions and two explosions of automatic grenade launcher fire 3-4km ranging from south-east to south-west.
Positioned in government-controlled Mykolaivka (57km north of Donetsk) the SMM heard 22 mortar impacts (120mm), 30 mortar impacts (82mm) and 50 automatic grenade launcher impacts 5km south-east.
Positioned in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) on the evening of 2 August, the SMM heard 23 undetermined explosions, 14 airbursts from an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) and multiple bursts of small-arms and heavy machine gun-fire 1-2km north.
The SMM noted an increase in the number of ceasefire violations recorded in Luhansk region compared to the day before, with the majority taking place in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk). While in Kadiivka in the early morning of 2 August, the SMM heard 91 explosions, some of them assessed as impacts and some as outgoing rounds, 32 of which were in areas 5-10km north-north-west and 59 in areas 5-10km west and south-west. For an hour during this period of shelling, the electricity supply to the city was cut.
At 20:34 on 2 August, the SMM, positioned in one forward patrol base in Kadiivka, heard three bursts of small-arms fire 50-100m north of its location. At 20:45, while positioned at another patrol base, the SMM heard 4-5 bursts from an automatic rifle fired in the air 10-15m away, just beyond the perimeter fence. In the darkness the SMM observed a person running from the area. The SMM informed the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and armed “LPR” members controlling the area.
In government-controlled parts of Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) while monitoring adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works, the SMM heard a mortar impact (possibly 82mm) and saw smoke rising approximately 1.5km east of its position. A short time later the SMM heard a further two mortar impacts approximately 1km east. Approximately an hour later the SMM heard six undetermined explosions 3-4km north and north-east of its position.
The SMM followed up on recorded ceasefire violations and conducted crater analysis. In “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka, the SMM observed craters at two locations. In Oleha Koshevoho Street in a residential area in the south of the town the SMM analysed a fresh crater and assessed that it was caused by artillery (calibre unknown) fired from a westerly direction. A woman told the SMM that children had taken remnants of a shell from the crater. The SMM observed damage to adjacent houses, including shattered windows and shrapnel-damaged walls. Two residents (a 60 year-old man and a 70 year-old woman) said that the shelling, which had begun at about 01:30, had critically wounded a 50 year-old man who was taken to hospital.
At a second impact area in a residential area in the north of Kadiivka the SMM observed shell damage and analysed craters. The SMM observed a crater in the yard of a house, which it assessed to have been caused by artillery or rocket fired from a north-westerly direction. The SMM observed damage to the exterior walls of the house, broken windows and saw that the interior ceiling was damaged by shelling. A second crater was analysed in this area, and was assessed to have been caused by artillery or rocket fired from a westerly direction. A tree had sustained a direct hit from a shell. According to Russian Federation officers at the JCCC who were present, armed men had visited these impact sites and removed pieces of shrapnel. Nevertheless, the SMM observed pieces of shrapnel at these sites that indicated the use of artillery or rockets. Residents told the SMM that two women (70 and 79 years-old) were injured in the shelling and that both were hospitalized in Kadiivka, with one of them subsequently moved to Luhansk for further treatment.
On 1 August, near the government-controlled Maiorsk checkpoint (45km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw damage to checkpoint barriers and nearby trees. The SMM analysed a fresh crater and assessed it to have been caused by multiple-launch rocket systems (122mm, Grad) fired from a south-south-westerly direction. A Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier at the checkpoint nearby told the SMM that heavy shelling had taken place on the night of 31 July.
An armed man at a known Ukrainian Armed Forces position stopped two SMM vehicles in government-controlled areas travelling east on the road from Lopaskyne (government-controlled, 24km north-west of Luhansk) to Lobacheve (government-controlled, 17km north-west of Luhansk). The armed man, wearing military-style clothing with no marking, threatened at gunpoint one of the SMM monitors and said in Russian, “Stop. You are not going anywhere”. Later, four armed men arrived, some in military-style clothing and appearing to be intoxicated, carrying assault rifles (AK-74). After 15 minutes the SMM was allowed to leave the area and proceed to Lobacheve (See SMM Spot Report, 3 August 2016).
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Minsk Memorandum.
In violation of the respective withdrawal lines the SMM observed 15 anti-tank guns (MT-12, Rapira 100mm) in “DPR”-controlled Zelene (28km east of Donetsk).
The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage does not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification. In a government-controlled area beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM saw 18 towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm). In another government-controlled area the SMM saw 17 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) but could not account for one. When the SMM asked a Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier why one anti-tank gun had black soot on its muzzle break he said it was because it had recently been used in training exercises. One government-controlled area continued to be abandoned, as it has been since 19 December 2015, with all 12 mortars (2S12 Sani, 120mm) missing. The SMM observed that one area continued to be abandoned, as it has been for since 12 July 2015, with all six self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) missing.
The SMM revisited permanent storage sites, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. At one site in “DPR”-controlled areas the SMM observed that two tanks (T-64) were missing for the first time and other weapons had been added. Tank ammunition was seen stored next to tanks.
The SMM observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles (ACV) and anti-aircraft weapons in the security zone: two armoured personnel carriers (BTR-60) and two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM) near government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk). In “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka, the SMM observed an armoured tracked vehicle (MT-LB) travelling west in the direction of the contact line in a convoy of 20 military-type vehicles, one of which the SMM observed to be carrying approximately 125 anti-tank mines.
The SMM observed new mine hazard signs. Between Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk) the SMM observed two new mine hazard signs on the sides of the road in the area of the proposed disengagement area.
The SMM requested that “DPR” members and officers at the JCCC follow-up the incident on 29 July when SMM monitors were threatened at gunpoint by aggressive armed “DPR” members near Lukove (72km south of Donetsk) (See SMM Spot Report, 30 July). In Lukove, the SMM met with “DPR” members, including from the “ministry of defence”. A “DPR” member who had threatened the SMM, apologised. “DPR” members told the SMM that an investigation is planned. The SMM await the response of “DPR” members to the violation.
During the afternoon of 2 August a group approximately 30 protestors (mainly young people) gathered in front of the SMM base in Kadiivka, some carrying signs with slogans such as, “OSCE is blind”. Local “police” was present. The protestors dispersed peacefully after an hour. At the same time in another part of Kadiivka, a stone was thrown at an SMM vehicle, causing no damage.
The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to essential infrastructure. Positioned on both sides of the contact line, the SMM monitored the cleaning of canals that provide water to the Shchastia power plant and repair works to the Mykhailivka-Lysychansk high power line near Zolote. Following explosions in the area of Zolote the SMM left the area due to security concerns.
The SMM attempted to monitor border areas not controlled by the Government but was prevented from doing so by armed “LPR” members who stopped the SMM near Diakove (70km south-west of Luhansk).*
*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:
- Armed “DPR” members prevented the SMM from travelling through a checkpoint towards the west of Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk). The JCCC was informed.
- A Russian Federation Armed Forces officer at the JCCC office in Yasynuvata denied the SMM access to the roof of the building to conduct ceasefire monitoring, citing security concerns. He refused to share his ceasefire violation log with the SMM.
- On 1 August, water company officials refused to meet the SMM in “LPR”-controlled Sorokyne (formerly Krasnodon, 43km south-east of Luhansk), claiming that the SMM needed permission from the “municipality” to hold such a meeting.
- On 1 August, in Sorokyne, the “director” of the cultural centre and the “deputy head” of the “culture department” in the town asked for the SMM’s patrol plan and to produce some sort of “registration” from “LPR” members in order to have a meeting. The SMM refused and left.
- Two armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM near Diakove and asked for a signed and stamped patrol plan in the Russian language. The SMM informed the JCCC. After 40 minutes of waiting the SMM left, and were unable to travel to their planned destination, “LPR”-controlled Leonove (formerly Chervonyi Zhovten, 82km south of Luhansk). The JCCC was informed.
- Armed “DPR” members allowed the SMM to proceed through a checkpoint near “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve after checking the trunk of SMM vehicles.
- An armed “LPR” member at a checkpoint immediately south of the bridge at Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north of Luhansk) allowed the SMM to proceed only after taking the names of SMM monitors.