Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 30 January 2017
This report is for the general public and the media.
The SMM recorded a higher number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk between the evenings of 29 and 30 January, with intense fighting in the areas of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata, compared with the previous 24 hours. In Luhansk region the Mission recorded fewer ceasefire violations compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission followed up on civilian casualties and observed impact sites and damage to civilian houses from shelling in several locations. The SMM continued monitoring the three disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* Video footage from the SMM camera in Stanytsia Luhanska revealed ceasefire violations inside the disengagement area on 27 and 28 January. The Mission continued to monitor weapons withdrawal and observed weapons in violation of their respective withdrawal lines. It visited one border area currently outside of government control. The Mission monitored an ongoing blockade of a railway track near Hirske.
The SMM recorded a higher number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including 2,499 explosions, compared with 2,240 explosions in the previous 24 hours.
While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre on the evening of 29 January, the SMM heard 161 undetermined explosions 8-12km north.
On the night of 29-30 January, the SMM camera at “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk) recorded 73 undetermined explosions, 17 illumination flares, and an exchange of fire including 57 undetermined projectiles in flight (16 north to south and 41 south to north), all 5-10km north-east of the camera’s location. On 30 January, the same camera recorded one illumination flare, 93 undetermined explosions and two explosions assessed as impacts, and 153 undetermined projectiles in flight (116 north-west to south-east and 37 south-east to north-west) 6-9km north-east and north-north-east.
On 30 January, positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 1,224 undetermined explosions and about 1,400 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-5km east-south-east, 1635 undetermined explosions and over 200 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 2-7km east-south-east, south-south-east, and 22 outgoing explosions 1-2km north.
On 30 January, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard, 13 undetermined explosions 1km east-south-east, ten undetermined explosions 1-2km south, 38 undetermined explosions 5-8km west, one explosion assessed as impact less than 1km east, seven undetermined explosions 5-6km south, 65 undetermined explosions 5-10km west, west-south-west, and south-west, and saw and heard one airburst 5-7km south-west.
During the night of 29-30 January the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 21 undetermined explosions, in total five rocket-assisted projectiles in flight from east to west and six rocket assisted projectiles in flight from west to east, and in total 11 tracer rounds in flight from east to west and 63 tracer rounds from west to east at an unknown distance north.
During the evening of 29 January while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 20 outgoing explosions, 15 impact explosions, 28 undetermined explosions, and 26 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-8km west, north-west, and south-west.
On 30 January, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Betmanove (formerly Krasnyi Partyzan, 23km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard ten outgoing explosions, eight explosions assessed as impacts and one undetermined explosion, all assessed as artillery rounds (unknown calibre), five outgoing and one undetermined explosion of mortar rounds (unknown calibre), ten explosions of 82mm mortar rounds, 70 undetermined, ten outgoing and one explosion assessed as an impact, all of rounds of an undetermined weapon, ten outgoing shots of infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-2) cannon (30mm) fire, four outgoing explosions of recoilless gun rounds (SPG-9, 73mm), one impact explosion of rocket-propelled grenade, seven explosions of automatic-grenade-launcher rounds (three assessed as impacts and four assessed as outgoing), four bursts and five shots of heavy machine-gun, two shots of small-arms fire, all 3-7km south, south-east, south-west, south-south-east, west-south-west and south-south-west.
While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the evening of 29 January, the SMM heard seven explosions assessed as recoilless gun (SPG-9, 73mm) rounds 2-3km south-east, three undetermined explosions 3-4km south-east, 152 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 7-8km east, 63 explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds 7-8km east, and over 100 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire 1-3km east, south-east east-south-east.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations compared with the previous 24 hours, including 48 explosions compared with 168.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Khrustalnyi (formerly Krasnyi Luch, 57km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as artillery rounds (unknown calibre) 15km west.
Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Malomykolaivka (36km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 30 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and 15 shots assessed as rounds of IFV (BMP-2) cannon (30mm) both assessed as part of a live-fire exercise.
The SMM followed up on civilian casualties and reports of damage in residential areas due to shelling. A doctor at Hospital no. 5 in “DPR”-controlled Makiivka (12km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that three explosions had occurred in the morning at a nearby building on the hospital premises and that as a result some windows of the hospital had been damaged. The SMM observed plastic-covered window frames. He said three male electricity workers had been injured during the incident and transferred to Hospitals no. 1 and no. 2. The owner of the building where the explosions had reportedly taken place told the SMM that there was one female employee onsite at the time of the explosion who had died as a result but did not provide the name or age of the victim. At the morgue in Makiivka, medical staff told the SMM that the body of 56-year-old woman had been brought to the morgue the same day and that cause of death was shrapnel injuries to her head, body and limbs.
At Hospital no. 2 in Makiivka, the SMM saw an injured man on life-support. Medical staff told the SMM that the man, 35-years old, had been operated on the same day as a result of suffered injuries to his abdomen and pelvis and was in critical condition. At Hospital no. 1, the SMM saw an injured man in recovery. Medical staff said that the man, 29 years old, was recovering from surgery following injuries to his chest and lungs.
The SMM visited a military hospital in government-controlled Pokrovsk (formerly Krasnoarmiisk, 55km north-west of Donetsk) where two Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the SMM that they had admitted three civilian casualties from Avdiivka the day before, all with shrapnel-related injuries. They said the victims were transferred to a hospital in Dnipro earlier in the morning.
The SMM followed up on allegations of a male civilian casualty, who according to a “DPR”-affiliated news outlet, had been injured on 29 January at an automobile workshop located on Kuibyshevskyi district in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk as a result of shelling. At a hospital on Leninskyi Prospekt in Donetsk, a doctor told the SMM that he had operated on the injured man on 29 January and that he had been injured when a piece of shrapnel from a 122mm round had penetrated his right arm above the elbow. He showed the SMM pictures of what he said were the wounds and the operation.
In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed fresh impact sites. At the first site, the SMM observed a fresh impact next to a house and significant damage on a west-facing wall of the house, including a gaping hole and a large 4-6cm crack extending from the ground to the roof, a destroyed roof, and a heavily damaged living room. The SMM observed a second fresh impact approximately 2.5-3m wide and 1.5m deep that was located about 20m away from a nearby house. At the second site, adjacent to the first, the SMM observed a fresh impact in a garden some 10m from the house and shrapnel scarring and a broken window on a wall facing west. At the third site, the SMM observed damage to a wall, windows, door, and roof of a house as well as a destroyed barn in the yard assessed as caused by a projectile passing through the house before impacting on the barn. At the fourth site, the SMM observed damage on the village store caused by a shell which had penetrated the west north-west side of the roof and heavily damaged two ground floor rooms and furniture. The SMM observed two additional fresh impacts within 200m to the north-west and south-west of the shop, impacting on the edge of the tarmac street but caused no damage to the houses. The SMM observed staff of an electricity supply company repairing the electricity. The SMM assessed that the impacts were all caused by 122mm artillery fired from a westerly direction. A Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC, a shop-keeper and owner of one of the houses separately said that the shelling had occurred late evening of 29 January.
In “LPR”-controlled Pervomaisk (58km west of Luhansk), the SMM was accompanied by a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC to a fresh impact site on the southern side of a house about 3m from the garage and 6m from the house. The SMM saw six broken windows on the southern side of the house as well as cracks in the ceiling of the house and a pile of metal rubble outside that it assessed a destroyed fence. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a north-westerly direction. A group of 20 workers accompanied by local residents were welding a gas pipeline and repairing an electricity line that had been affected by a fire as a result of the shelling, according to people onsite. The owner of the house said the impact had occurred at 02:00 on 30 January, but nobody had been injured.
In “LPR”-controlled Irmino (54km west of Luhansk) the SMM was accompanied by Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC as well as “LPR”-affiliated media outlets to a fresh impact, which was about 10m east of a house in the garden and about 3m from the neighbour’s shed. The SMM observed six east-facing windows of the house, all broken. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction. The owner told the SMM that the impact had occurred after midnight on 30 January and that no one had been wounded. The roof and one west-facing wall of the neighbour’s shed were partly destroyed with a section of the roof collapsed and a section of the wall missing. The SMM was unable to assess if the damage was fresh. At another site, the SMM observed one fresh 60cm hole on the south-western outer corner of a barn approximately 50cm above the ground. The SMM assessed that the hole was caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a south-westerly direction. The owner said the impact had occurred late evening on 29 January and that no one had been injured.
At a plant on the south-western edge of “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), accompanied by a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer of the JCCC, the SMM observed a fresh impact that it assessed was caused by a 152mm artillery round fired from a northerly direction. According to the plant manager the incident had occurred the evening of 29 January.
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 observed no de-mining activities or disengagement in the three areas.
On 27 January, the SMM camera at Stanytsia Luhanska recorded one small-arms shot (assessed as outside of the disengagement area) around 150m south-south-east and three outgoing explosions assessed as automatic grenade launcher fire (assessed as inside of the disengagement area) and two small-arms shots (one assessed as inside and one outside of the disengagement area) 1.7km south. On 28 January, the same camera recorded one shot (assessed as outside of the disengagement area) 2km south-south-west, and on 29 January, one small-arms shot (assessed as inside of the disengagement area) 1km south-east.
On 29 January, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded an explosion assessed as the impact of a mortar round.
On 30 January, the SMM noted a calm situation while present in all three disengagement areas. In Zolote, the SMM observed six armed Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and one armed “LPR” member inside the disengagement area.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.
In violation of withdrawal lines, the SMM observed two tanks (T-64) between government-controlled Orlivka (22km north-west of Donetsk) and Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk). In government-controlled Talakivka (90km south of Donetsk) the SMM saw two towed howitzers (D-30, Lyagushka, 122mm) towed by two military trucks (Ural). In government-controlled Ivanivka (59km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM saw four multiple rocket launcher systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) at a military compound which were previously seen on 29 November 2016. On 29 January, approximately 2.5km north of government-controlled Aslanove (85km south of Donetsk), an SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted four self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near a tent with two-three soldiers visible and stacks of what appeared to be ammunition boxes.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of assigned areas in government-controlled Novookhtyrka (55km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw three tanks (T-64) on flatbed trucks. South-west of government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed three stationary tanks (T-64). Near government-controlled Pryvillia (85km north of Donetsk), the SMM observed six tanks (T-64) travelling north.
The SMM observed the presence of armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. The SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (MTLB) with a mounted
anti-aircraft cannon (ZU-23, 23mm) near government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk). In Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM saw an IFV (BMP-2) covered with camouflage netting.
The SMM visited a border area currently not under the control of the Government. During some 100 minutes at the border crossing point in Dovzhanskyi (84km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 29 private vehicles (19 with Ukrainian, nine with Russian Federation licence places, and one with “LPR” plates), two minivans (Ukrainian licence plates), two covered trucks (Ukrainian licence plates) and one bus (Ukrainian licence plates) leaving Ukraine, and 22 private vehicles (16 with Ukrainian, five with Russian Federation, and one with Georgian licence plates), two covered trucks (with Ukrainian licence plates), one minivan (with Ukrainian licence plates) and two buses (with Ukrainian and Russian Federation licence plates) entering Ukraine.
The SMM observed that the blockade of a railway track near government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) remained in place, with a minivan with uniformed unarmed personnel delivering supplies to the veterans’ position. (See SMM Daily Report 27 January 2017.)
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:
- A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no demining activities had taken place during the previous 24 hours in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and that, with the exception of the main road, the SMM’s safety could not be guaranteed in the surrounding areas due to the possible presence of mines and/or UXO. The SMM did not consider it safe and informed the JCCC.
- An armed “LPR” member told the SMM that no demining activities had taken place during the previous 24 hours in the Zolote disengagement area. Due to the danger of mines the SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- Due to the lack of security guarantees and possible threat from mines, the SMM could not travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- On the road between government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk), the SMM could not proceed due to the presence of anti-tank obstacles in the road. Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel at the checkpoint also told the SMM that the area is mined. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM could not cross the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were still mines on the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was stopped at a “DPR” checkpoint in Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) and was not allowed to proceed to the city. An armed “DPR” member said that he would not allow the SMM inside the city due to ongoing shelling. The SMM informed the JCCC.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.