Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30, 4 August 2016
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared to the day before including more than 520 explosions. In Luhansk region the SMM noted a decrease in recorded ceasefire violations compared to the previous day. On the night of 4 August, the SMM heard single shots of small-arms fire in close proximity to its base in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov). The SMM analysed craters in Zaitseve, Luhanske and Novozvanivka. It observed weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line, and noted the absence of numerous weapons from permanent storage sites in government-controlled areas. The SMM followed up on reports of water and power supply cuts in areas of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata due to shelling. It faced four freedom-of-movement restrictions – two in government-controlled areas and two in areas not controlled by the Government.
The SMM noted a higher number of ceasefire violations recorded in Donetsk region compared to the previous reporting period, including more than 520 explosions.
On the evening of 3 August, while in Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard 48 undetermined explosions 8-15km north-west of its position.
On the same night, whilst in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 104 undetermined explosions 7-10km north, and 12 explosions assessed as outgoing armoured personnel carrier (BMP-1, 73mm) cannon fire 5-8km north of its position.
The SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) between 21:35 and 22:31 of 3 August, facing north-east, recorded 63 undetermined explosions and 30 bursts in the following sequence: five bursts of undetermined tracer fire and 25 bursts of direct tracer fire from east to west, north to south, south to north, north-west to northeast, north-east to north-west, east to north-west, north-east to west, south-east to north-west.
The following day, positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of the city centre), the SMM heard 236 undetermined explosions all at locations 3-10km ranging from north-west to north-east of its position. The most intense violence was noted between 08:14 and 08:42, when the SMM recorded 100 undetermined explosions 4-6km north-north-east of its position.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 25 undetermined explosions and 13 outgoing explosions assessed as caused by automatic-grenade-launcher fire 1-7km west-south-west, west, west-north-west, north, north-north-east and north-east of its position. Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions 3-5km east and south-east of its position.
In Luhansk region the SMM noted a decrease in recorded ceasefire violations compared to the previous day, with no ceasefire violations recorded during the night of 3 August. Whilst in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 32 undetermined explosions 5-6km south of its position. While positioned 1.5km north-west of “LPR”-controlled Hannivka (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard, within a half-hour period, more than 100 bursts of small-arms fire 1.5km east-south-east of its position – the location of a known shooting range – and assessed them as live-fire exercise – within the security zone – in violation of the ceasefire and of the Trilateral Contact Group decision on the prohibition of live-fire exercises within the security zone. Subsequently, while in the vicinity of a shooting range, the SMM saw five armed “LPR” members wearing ski masks with sniper rifles.
At 21:45 on 4 August, the SMM while at its base in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), heard 16 single shots of small-arms (pistol) fire at an undetermined location 100-150m away from the base. The SMM informed the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and armed “LPR” members controlling area.
The SMM conducted crater analysis. In “DPR”-controlled parts of Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw a fresh crater in a field 60m away from a house and assessed it as caused by a mortar (82 or 120mm) round fired from a north-westerly direction. Residents told the SMM that shelling had occurred during the night of 2-3 August. Across the street, the SMM also saw a completely burnt and destroyed house and two neighbouring houses with minor damage. No casualties were reported.
In government-controlled Luhanske (59km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw four relatively fresh craters with fragments of 120mm mortar rounds and 122mm artillery rounds in a garden of an inhabited house. The SMM was unable to determine the direction of fire due to contaminated craters after the recent heavy storms.
In government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk), the SMM saw four craters near an inhabited house and assessed two of them as caused by 82mm mortar and the other two as caused by 122m artillery rounds, all fired from an easterly direction. Two residents told the SMM that shelling had taken place during the night time two days prior.
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 line, the SMM observed in government-controlled areas: five self-propelled howitzers (2S1Gvozdika, 122mm) in Tarasivka (43km north-west of Donetsk); four self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152 mm) in a military compound in Donske (57km south of Donetsk); one radio-guided anti-tank system (9K114 Shturm, 134mm) mounted on a stationary armoured tracked vehicle (MT- LB) in Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk). Aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence on 3 August of 12 tanks together with other hardware including 19 armoured vehicles and 44 military-type trucks in an industrial complex in “DPR”-controlled Budonivskyi district of Donetsk city.
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 six towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm), while it noted as missing six towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) as first observed on 8 July. The SMM also observed that two areas continued to be abandoned, as they have been since 3 July, with 12 towed howitzers (D-30, 12mm) and six Addendum-regulated mortars (2B11, 120mm) missing.
The SMM revisited permanent storage sites, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. At Ukrainian Armed Forces sites, the SMM noted that 22 tanks (T-64) and seven mortars (five 2B9M, 82mm; and two BM-38, 82mm) remained missing. In addition, the SMM also observed missing for the first time 36 tanks (T-64) and seven mortars (BM-37, 82mm). The SMM noted that one of those sites continues to be abandoned and another site has been newly abandoned.
The SMM observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles (ACV) and anti-aircraft weapons in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM saw: one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) near Lomakyne (15km north-east of Mariupol); one light-armoured vehicle (Kraz Cougar) mounted with a heavy machine-gun heading north near Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk). In “LPR”-controlled areas, the SMM saw: one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) at an “LPR” checkpoint south-east of Shchastia across the contact line; one infantry fighting vehicle (BTR) heading north near Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk). Aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence on 3 August of 33 armoured vehicles and 169 military-type trucks in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city, in addition to aforementioned present in the same compound as the tanks (see above).
The SMM followed up on reports about cuts to water and power supply in areas of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata due to shelling. In Avdiivka, the Ukrainian Armed Forces officer at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) told the SMM that at around 23:00 on 3 August, water and power supply to the town had been interrupted as shelling had caused damage to power transmission lines and to the Donetsk water filtration station located between Avdiivka and Yasynuvata. At Yasynuvata railway station, an employee (a woman in her thirties), stated that at approximately 04:00 of the day the water supply had been interrupted affecting large parts of the town. She added that most residents currently used water from private wells and bottled water.
The SMM continued to follow up on the incident of 2 August when SMM monitors were threatened at gunpoint at a known Ukrainian Armed Forces position on the road from government-controlled Lopaskyne to Lobacheve (24 and 17km north-west of Luhansk, respectively) (see: SMM Spot Report, 3 August 2016). At the JCCC in government-controlled Soledar (79km north of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Armed Forces chief-of-staff told the SMM that the perpetrators had been identified. The SMM also requested the meeting with a senior “DPR” member to follow up on the incident of 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 2016). He subsequently refused the request.*
The SMM observed the presence of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM for the first time saw a tailfin of a multiple-launch rocket system (BM-27 Uragan, 220mm) stuck in soil 30m away from an inhabited house and some 50 rusty shells of 82mm mortars (without fuses) scattered in a nearby field.
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 and widening of canals that provide water to the Shchastia power plant, repair works to the Mykhailivka-Lysychansk high power line near Zolote (government-controlled, 60km north-west of Luhansk), repair works to gas pipelines in areas between “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk and Pryshyb (28 and 34km north-west of Luhansk, respectively).
The SMM continued to observe queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. In the morning, at a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed 132 cars waiting in a queue to cross into government-controlled areas and six cars in the opposite direction. A man in his forties told the SMM that he had been waiting for four hours since 06:00. A man in his early thirties with his wife and 8-year-old son stated that they were travelling to receive medical treatment for his son in government-controlled areas, expressing his concern as his son should not stay in the sun for a long time.
*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:
- In government-controlled Hranitne (25km north of Mariupol), armed Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel did not allow the SMM to enter a military compound. The JCCC was informed.
- Armed Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel denied the SMM access to a military compound in government-controlled Myrne (40km north-east of Mariupol), citing orders from their superior. The JCCC was informed.
- A senior “DPR” member refused to meet with SMM, when it attempted to follow up on the incident 29 July near Lukove.
- 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.