Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30, 6 January 2017
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer ceasefire violations in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The SMM continued monitoring the three disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* The SMM continued to monitor queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line in Marinka and the situation of civilians living near the contact line in Novoluhanske.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including nearly 170 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (109 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations, including more than 80 per cent of all explosions, were recorded in the areas of Svitlodarsk and Debaltseve.
During the evening of 5 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard eight explosions assessed as the impacts of 122mm artillery rounds 3-4km south-east, as well as 12 explosions assessed as 82mm mortar rounds, three explosions assessed as rounds from a recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm), and five explosions assessed as rounds from an automatic-grenade launcher, all 3-8km south-east or south-south-east. During the morning of 6 January, while in the same location, the SMM heard ten explosions assessed as outgoing 122mm artillery rounds, five explosions assessed as the impacts of artillery rounds (undetermined calibre), four explosions assessed as outgoing 82mm mortar rounds and four explosions assessed as the impacts of 82mm mortar rounds, all 4-8km east-south-east.
During the evening of 5 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 90 undetermined explosions and about 100 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 6-8km north-west.
During the morning hours, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing 152mm artillery round 4-5km east-north-east, and 14 undetermined explosions 10-15km south-east.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for more than four hours, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions 2-3km west-south-west and west. Positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for five hours, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions 3-5km east-south-east or east.
Positioned in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM heard six-eight undetermined explosions 2-3km south and one undetermined explosion 2-3km south-west.
During the early hours of 6 January, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded one undetermined explosion at an unknown distance north-east of the camera.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including seven explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (22 explosions). Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 10km west. Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 10km north-north-east. Positioned in government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard three explosions assessed as outgoing rounds from an undetermined weapon 2-3km south-east.
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September. The SMM’s access to all three areas remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*
The SMM noted no demining or fencing-off of mines at the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area.
The SMM observed a calm situation in the Zolote-Pervomaisk and the Petrivske disengagement areas. In Petrivske, armed “DPR” members insisted on escorting the Mission to the SMM camera location for the fourth consecutive day.*
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside assigned sites the SMM observed in government-controlled areas: two tanks (T-64) on stationary transporters near Kostiantynivka (60km north of Donetsk); and two surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa, 210mm) heading west near Novoaidar (49km north-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 government-controlled areas, the SMM noted that seven sites remained abandoned and the following weapons absent: 51 self-propelled howitzers (33 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm and 18 2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and 60 tanks (T-64) (as first noted on 1 February, 19 May, 23 and 27 September, and 28 October 2016)
The SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. The SMM noted as absent: 28 tanks (T-64) and seven mortars (five 2B9M, 82mm and two M120-15, 120mm).
The Mission revisited an “LPR” permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and noted that all previously observed weapons were present.
The SMM observed armoured vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the Mission observed two infantry fighting vehicles (IFV; BMP-2) heading south near Avdiivka. In areas outside government control the SMM observed: one armoured personnel carrier (BTR-80), heading north-east at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre); one stationary IFV (BMP-1) near “DPR”-controlled Styla (34km south of Donetsk); and one anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23) mounted on a military-type truck, heading north-east near “DPR”-controlled Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol) .
The SMM continued to observe queues at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. During the morning, at a checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka the SMM observed 44 civilian cars and about 50 pedestrians queuing to enter government-controlled areas and 55 civilian cars waiting to travel in the opposite direction. An officer of the State Border Guard Service told the SMM that the maximum authorized weight of goods per person to be transported into non-government-controlled areas had been increased from 50 to 75kg according to amendments to Order 415 of 28 November 2016. In the morning, at a “DPR” checkpoint 17km south-west of Donetsk the SMM observed 20 civilian cars queuing to travel toward government-controlled areas and 32 civilian cars waiting to travel in the opposite direction. An armed “DPR” member present told the SMM that each traveller could not bring more than 50kg of products into “DPR”-controlled areas.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians living near the contact line. In government-controlled Novoluhanske (53km north-east of Donetsk) an employee of the village council told the SMM that since 30 December the bus service from the village to “DPR”-controlled Horlivka had been suspended, adding that residents had to go to government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk) in order to cross the contact line. In Novoluhanske a police officer told the SMM that there had been no police presence in the village, but that a unit had been deployed there on 3 January.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.
*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate
The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), 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. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance.
Denial of access:
- The SMM was unable to access areas other than the main road in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, as a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC present told the SMM that no demining had been taken place. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was unable to travel south-east into Zolote-Pervomaisk disengagement area using a secondary road east of government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), as a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC present said he could not assist in ensuring the security of the Mission due to the possible presence of mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Due to the residual threat of mines and UXO, the SMM was unable to access secondary routes in the Zolote-Pervomaisk disengagement area from the “LPR”-controlled side. An armed “LPR” member said there had been no further demining activities on these routes. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- In “DPR”-controlled Petrivske, the SMM was unable to travel west toward the disengagement area, as an armed man was unable to tell the Mission whether demining had been conducted. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- On two separate occasions, the SMM was prevented from travelling on the road between government-controlled Katerynivka and Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) due to the presence of anti-tank obstacles and mines on the road. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM could not travel south from the Shchastia bridge (20km north of Luhansk), as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said they could not guarantee the Mission’s safety due to the possible presence of mines or UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- A Ukrainian Armed Forces unit commander denied the SMM access to a heavy weapons holding area, saying he lacked permission from higher command. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel prevented the SMM from entering a military compound in government-controlled Lisne (20km north-west of Mariupol), citing a lack of permission from their superior. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- While the SMM observed the searching of a vehicle at a “DPR” checkpoint 17km south-west of Donetsk, an unarmed “DPR” member told the SMM to leave the area.
- In Petrivske, an armed “DPR” member stopped the SMM. After six minutes, another armed member escorted the Mission while it accessed the SMM camera. The SMM informed the JCCC.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.