Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30, 3 August 2016
This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM noted a similar number of ceasefire violations recorded in Donetsk region compared to the day before. In Luhansk region the SMM noted an increase in recorded ceasefire violations compared to the previous day, with many concentrated around government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska and Trokhizbenka. The SMM analysed craters in Stanytsia Luhanska, Pobeda and Hnutove. It observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles and anti-tank missiles in the security zone. The SMM followed up on reports of civilian and military casualties. The SMM continued to observe queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. It monitored border areas not controlled by the Government and encountered one restriction. It faced another freedom-of-movement restriction, also in an area not controlled by the Government*.
The SMM noted a similar number of ceasefire violations recorded in Donetsk region compared to the previous reporting period.
On the evening of 2 August, while in Donetsk city centre the SMM heard 22 undetermined explosions 7-10km north-west of its position.
Whilst in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard in the late evening of 2 August explosions assessed as 20 artillery impacts (122mm), eight mortar impacts (120mm) and seven mortar impacts (82mm) 2km south- east its position; and 23 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds (122mm) 3km south of its position.
Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard seven explosions assessed as outgoing recoilless-gun fire (SPG-9, 73mm) 0.7-1.5km north of its position and ten explosions assessed as outgoing mortar fire (82mm), 1-10km north of its position.
On 3 August, positioned during the day in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk city) the SMM heard 56 undetermined explosions 3-5km west, north-west and west-south-west of its position.
Positioned during the day in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk city) the SMM heard 49 undetermined explosions 4-5km south-east, south-south-east and south of its position.
Whilst in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) throughout the day, the SMM heard five single undetermined explosions 6-12km ranging from north-north-west to south-west of its position.
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 government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) and government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). While in Stanytsia Luhanska in the late evening of 2 August, the SMM heard during a two hour period 48 undetermined explosions 3-5km south and south-south-west of its position; 14 explosions assessed as outgoing 73mm recoilless-gun (SPG-9) fire and 14 impacts of 73mm SPG-9 rounds, 17 rounds of outgoing automatic-grenade-launcher fire (AGS-17) and 17 AGS-17 impacts, and intensive small-arms and heavy machine gun-fire 3.5-4km south of its position.
On 3 August in the morning while positioned in Trokhizbenka, the SMM heard 81 undetermined explosions 5-6km south of its position. In Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk) throughout the day, the SMM heard ten undetermined explosions within a 40 minute period in the morning, 5km south of its position.
The SMM conducted crater analysis and followed up on reports of civilian and military casualties. At the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, approximately four metres south of the Ukrainian Armed Forces position closest to the bridge, the SMM observed a crater containing pieces of shrapnel which it assessed as caused by 82mm mortar rounds fired from an undetermined direction. Near the same location the SMM observed three fresh craters assessed as caused by grenade launcher (AGS-17) rounds fired from an undetermined direction. The SMM observed 25m south of the “LPR” forward position at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, grenade launcher shrapnel lying on the ground. At the “LPR” checkpoint south of the bridge the SMM saw grenade launcher shrapnel lying on the ground approximately 15-20 metres north of the checkpoint. No craters were observed in either location.
The SMM observed four fresh craters at a farm in government-controlled Pobeda (27km west of Donetsk). Due to security concerns the SMM could not conduct crater analysis. The SMM saw from a distance that the craters were in soft ground and contained fragments of 125mm shells. The SMM saw that one shell had hit a concrete fence facing a southerly direction, while another shell had hit a pigsty. The director of the farm told the SMM that shelling had occurred on 2 August.
In government-controlled Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM observed damage to a fence surrounding a house and damage to the roof of the house. The SMM saw shattered windows and shrapnel damage on the house’s wall facing a southerly direction. The SMM did not observe any crater.
In Stanytsia Luhanska medical personnel of the emergency department at the hospital confirmed to the SMM that two wounded Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers had been hospitalized on 2 August. Both soldiers had surgery at the hospital and one of them had been transferred on 3 August to a military hospital.
At the hospital in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM followed up on the condition of the two civilians (a woman and a man) injured during the shelling in the night of 1-2 August (see SMM Daily Report, 3 August 2016). The medical personnel told the SMM that both patients were in critical condition. According to medical personnel, the female patient was still in the recovery unit, while the other had been transferred to Luhansk hospital for further treatment.
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.
An SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and one tank (T-72) in government-controlled Kirove (44km north-east of Donetsk), in violation of the respective withdrawal lines.
Beyond the respective withdrawal lines, but outside assigned areas, the SMM observed: 15 towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) in government-controlled Khlibodarivka (65km south-west of Donetsk); and ten stationary tanks (T-64) at the training area near “LPR”-controlled Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk). Aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence on 31 July of the 26 towed artillery pieces and 35 tanks together with other hardware including 96 armoured vehicles, 80 military-style trucks and 14 trailers near “LPR”-controlled Buhaivka (37km south-west of Luhansk).
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 “DPR”-controlled area beyond the respective withdrawal lines the SMM saw 16 mortars (PM-38, 120mm), 15 towed howitzers (D30, 122mm), could not account for two towed howitzers (D30, 120mm) and noted five additional such heavy weapons .
The SMM revisited permanent storage sites, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. At a Ukrainian Armed Forces site, the SMM noted that 40 tanks (T-64), seven anti-tank guns (five D-44, 85mm and two D-48, 85mm) and nine mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) remained missing (first eight observed missing on 19 April, the last on 29 June 2016).
At a “DPR”-controlled site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, the SMM observed that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to the site were present.
The SMM observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles (ACV) and anti-tank missiles in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw: two infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs, BMP-1) and two armoured personnel carriers, one of which had six anti-tank missiles mounted on its roof near Avdiivka (17km north-west of Donetsk); and at the northern outskirts of Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) the SMM saw an IFV (BMP-2), travelling north and one IFV (BMP-2) travelling towards the bridge.
In addition, an SMM UAV spotted one IFV (BMP) in government-controlled Kirove (44km north-east of Donetsk).
The SMM followed up on the incident on 2 August when SMM monitors were stopped at a known Ukrainian Armed Forces position on the road from Lopaskyne (government-controlled, 24km north-west of Luhansk) to Lobacheve (government-controlled, 17km north-west of Luhansk (see SMM Spot Report, 3 August 2016). At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in government-controlled Soledar (79km north of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Armed Forces chief-of-staff told the SMM that an investigation was currently on-going and that findings should be soon presented.
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 (government-controlled, 60km north-west of Luhansk).
The SMM continued to observe queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. At the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint at the H15 highway near Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed in the morning about 500 pedestrians and 145 civilian vehicles waiting to exit government-controlled areas. The SMM observed that the queue moved approximately 30 meters every 10-20 minutes. The SMM saw that three drivers alighted from their cars and walked towards the checkpoint. At this stage there were about 10—15 vehicles in front of them. They returned after 15 minutes and then drove their cars directly to the checkpoint surpassing the cars in front of them. The SMM spoke separately to several passengers and bus drivers who said that they have heard about bribery taking place at the checkpoints, but could not give concrete examples. At the first Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint north of the bridge at Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed in the morning approximately 200 pedestrians (mostly elderly people) waiting to proceed towards areas not controlled by the Government. The SMM observed that the elderly people in the queue were suffering from the heat. In the afternoon within 40 minute period the SMM saw 104 pedestrians leaving government-controlled areas and 84 pedestrians entering government-controlled areas.
The SMM monitored two border areas not controlled by the Government and was prevented from doing so by armed “LPR” members in Makariv Yar (formerly Parkhomenko, 28km east of Luhansk).* At the Marynivka border crossing point (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 45 civilian cars (the majority with Ukrainian license plates and one with a “Novorossiya” sticker partially covering the plate) and two covered commercial trucks (also Ukrainian license plates) lined-up in a queue waiting to exit Ukraine.
*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 the border crossing point near “LPR”-controlled Makariv Yar an armed “LPR” member told the SMM to leave the area and checked ID cards of the SMM monitors. The JCCC was informed.
- Armed “LPR” members 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 and ID card numbers of SMM monitors.