Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 7 February 2017
This report is for the general public and the media.
The SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region compared with the previous 24-hour period. The SMM and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) facilitated repair of power supply to the Donetsk Water Filtration station and Avdiivka, which restored water, electricity and heating in the town. The Mission confirmed a report of a civilian fatality in Kurdiumivka and observed damage caused by shelling in Pikuzy, Donetsk and Novooleksandrivka. The SMM observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* The Mission followed up on the relocation of civilians from Avdiivka. The SMM visited three border areas currently not under control of the Government. The blockade of a railway track in Hirske continued.
The SMM recorded a similar number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including about 700 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period.
While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre on the night of 6-7 February the SMM heard 35 undetermined explosions, 6-15km north-west and north-north-east.
On the night of 6-7 February the SMM camera at Oktiabr mine (9km north-west of Donetsk city centre) recorded 27 undetermined explosions and four airbursts 6-10km north-east, and 24 projectiles (seven in flight from south-east to north-west and 17 from north-west to south-east). On 7 February the camera recorded 32 undetermined explosions 4-10km north-east and three projectiles (two in flight from west to east followed by one from east to west) 5-7km north-east.
On 7 February, positioned in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for over two hours the SMM heard 49 outgoing explosions assessed as artillery rounds 5km south-east, and 24 undetermined explosions and uncountable overlapping bursts from automatic-grenade-launcher and heavy-machine-gun fire, 2-4km south-east and south-south-east. Positioned to the east of “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about an hour, the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions and shots of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-5km west. Positioned at the Donetsk Water Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) for about 5.5 hours, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as mortar (82mm) rounds 2-3km north, and five undetermined explosions and uncountable overlapping bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun 3km west.
While in “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (58km north-east of Donetsk) on the night of 6-7 February, the SMM heard 133 undetermined explosions7-9km north-west.
While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) on the same night, the SMM heard 199 explosions: 49 assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 5-7km south-south-east, seven assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 5-7km north-north-east, 15 assessed as impacts of artillery rounds 5-7km south-south-east, and 138 undetermined 5-7km south-south-east and south-east.
On 7 February, while in the same location the SMM heard 120 undetermined explosions and 12 explosions assessed as outgoing rounds from unidentified weapons, all 4-7km south-south-east. Later the same day the SMM heard 20 outgoing explosions assessed as artillery rounds, 40 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-7km north-east, and uncountable overlapping explosions assessed as undetermined artillery rounds and uncountable overlapping bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 4-6km south-south-east.
On the night of 6-7 February the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 16 undetermined explosions north-north-west, north and north-north-east of the camera. Thereafter, the camera recorded 47 tracer rounds in flight from west to east, and 55 tracer rounds from west to east, all north-north-east and east-north-east.
On 7 February positioned 4km north of government-controlled Novotroitske (36km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as mortar impacts 1-2km north-east. Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Bezimenne (30km east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 16 undetermined explosions 3-5km north-north-west. Positioned in government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard five explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds 2km north-north-east, and subsequently explosions assessed as their impacts 2km south-south-west, all within five minutes.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations compared with the previous 24-hour period, including 227 explosions.
On 6 February, while in government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 22-25 undetermined explosions 25km south-east.
On the night of 6 February, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 124 explosions assessed as artillery rounds and 60 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and 2,000 shots of small-arms fire, 5-10km west-south-west. On the morning of 7 February while in Kadiivka, the SMM heard five explosions assessed as impacts of artillery rounds at an undetermined direction and distance and 25 undetermined explosions 10km north-west.
On 7 February, positioned in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (32km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard seven undetermined explosions and seven explosions assessed as IFV (BMP-1) cannon (73mm) fire 5-7km south-west and south-south-west.
The SMM continued to follow up on reports of civilian casualties. In government-controlled Kurdiumivka (54km north of Donetsk) the SMM observed a fresh crater on an asphalt road in front of a house, and assessed it as caused by a 122mm artillery or 120mm mortar round fired from a southerly direction. The SMM saw shrapnel damage to the garden gate, and walls and ceiling inside the house. A family member and another resident told the SMM that shelling had occurred at 21:30 on 6 February, and a boy (16 year-old) had been struck by shrapnel in his heart and had died immediately as he was walking by the front door of the house. They said that police arrived at the scene and the body was taken to a hospital in Toretsk (formerly Dzerzhynsk, 43km north of Donetsk) and would be released for funeral on 9 February.
The SMM observed shelling damage on both sides of the contact line. In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM observed shattered windows as well as fresh damage to the east facing wall of a storage room. The interior of the room was completely burned, with fresh smoke stains on the walls. The SMM assessed that the damage was caused by a projectile fired from a westerly direction. A man (around 60 years old) told the SMM about damage to his house which he said occurred during the evening hours of 6 February. He showed the SMM ammunition, which he said he had found after the fire. The SMM assessed this ammunition as 12.7mm incendiary ammunition but observed no chemical traces in the burned room. The SMM was accompanied by a Russian officer of the JCCC and a “DPR” member.
On Chapaieva Street in Donetsk the SMM observed damage to a large apartment building. The SMM observed a 1m diameter hole in a wall at the level of the fourth and fifth floors. In the bedroom of one apartment the SMM observed a hole in the wall beneath the shattered window but was unable to assess the type of weapon used or the direction of fire. A woman (about 60 years old) told the SMM that the impact occurred at around 10:00 on 7 February and that a girl and a reporter visiting the building were injured when another shell landed on the ground in front of the door. The SMM could not locate the alleged impact with fresh snow on the ground. The SMM observed impacts and shattered windows in the surrounding buildings but was unable to assess the type of weapon used or the direction of fire.
In Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed four fresh craters 15m south-east from an inhabited house, assessed as caused by 82mm mortar rounds. Due to fresh snow coverage it was impossible to assess the direction of fire. The SMM also saw a hole in the north-west facing wall of the house, and assessed it as caused by a 5.56mm bullet fired from a west-north-westerly direction. The SMM observed two impacts on the south-west facing wall of a barn. Four locals (one female, three males, all about 45 years-old) told the SMM that shelling had occurred at 05:50.
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.*
Inside the Zolote disengagement area in violation of the Framework Decision the SMM observed one stationary high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) and one man wearing a regular Ukrainian Armed Forces uniform without any visible unit badge with a pistol in a holster who told the SMM only that he was a deminer.
The SMM noted a calm situation while present at the Petrivske and Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement areas.
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 the respective withdrawal lines, in areas not under government control, the SMM observed: a stationary tank (T-64) in Lyman (12km north-west of Luhansk), and four howitzers (D-20, 152mm) moving north-west in Brianka (46km south-west of Luhansk). An SMM mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted three self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) near government-controlled Aslanove (85km south of Donetsk) on 6 February.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, in government-controlled areas the SMM observed: three tanks (T-72) and a military heavy equipment transport vehicle west of Zaliznianske (79km north 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 government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed eight self-propelled howitzers (2S3) and six towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm), which it observed for the first time.
The SMM also noted as absent 20 self-propelled howitzer (2S3) and seven towed howitzers (2A65), six of which were noted as absent for the first time. In areas not under government control beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed for the first time that a site was abandoned, with six self-propelled howitzers (2S1) and four multiple-rocket launcher systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) missing.
The SMM revisited a permanent storage site in government-controlled areas, whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and noted that the site continued to be abandoned with the following weapons missing: 64 tanks (41 T-72 and 23 T-64) and six mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm).
Despite the joint statement of 1 February by the Trilateral Contact Group, the SMM received no information in relation to withdrawal of weapons from the area between Donetsk airport, Avdiivka and Yasynuvata.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV) and anti-aircraft weapons in the security zone. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed: one infantry fighting vehicle (IFV; BMP-2) on a flatbed truck in Makarove (19km north-east of Luhansk), three armoured tracked vehicles (MTLB) moving south of government-controlled Nyzhnia Vilkhova (27km north-east of Luhansk), one flatbed truck transporting an APC (BTR-80) in Vrubivka (72km west of Luhansk).
In areas not under government control the SMM observed: one IFV (BMP-2) and two armoured tracked vehicles (MTLB) near Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk), two armoured tracked vehicles (MTLB) near Khoroshe (36km west of Luhansk), one IFV (BMP-1) in dugout “LPR”-position south of the Shchastia bridge (20km north of Luhansk), one armoured tracked vehicles (MTLB) in Holubivske (formerly Kirovsk, 50km north-west of Luhansk), and a military-type truck with an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2, 23mm) in Zolote-5 (60km west of Luhansk).
On 1 February, an SMM mini UAV spotted positions in government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk). The imagery did not reveal if they were occupied. On 5 February the UAV spotted one infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP), trenches and fortified positions in government-controlled Novozvanivka (70km west of Luhansk).
In “LPR”-controlled Oleksandrivsk (10km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed four military-type trucks (Ural), each of which had a warning explosives sign on the left front bumper and a red type flag attached to the right side. An armed “LPR” member present did not allow the SMM to see inside, citing the absence of permission from his “superior”.
The SMM followed up on the recent reported evacuation of some civilians from Avdiivka. A government official told the SMM that the situation had somewhat stabilized with electricity, heating and water in the city, with more repairs taking place. According to the official, the local hospital had all necessary medication, and humanitarian assistance was being co-ordinated in Kramatorsk. The administrator of a sanatorium where IDPs from Avdiivka are housed told the SMM that six people had arrived there on 6 February. The SMM observed candles and diapers being distributed, as well as water containers being unloaded by a local humanitarian organization at a local school.
The SMM, in co-ordination with the JCCC, facilitated the repair of infrastructure, resulting in the restoration of water, electricity and heating in Avdiivka. At the Donetsk Water Filtration station the SMM facilitated dialogue in order for the repairs to be conducted and to enable renewed functioning of the station. A Voda Donbasa employee told the SMM that all employees had been deployed to their duty stations. The SMM observed that the power supply was restored to the station. At the end of the day, Voda Donbasa representative informed the SMM that the station had been restarted successfully and the water supply would reach the residents of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata and Donetsk later in the evening.
The director of the coke plant in Avdiivka told the SMM that repair of a power line near the Donetsk Water Filtration Station was critical as the available mega-wattage was insufficient for meeting both the plant’s and the town’s demand for heating and electricity. According to him the repair would not take long but first required demining.
The SMM asked the JCCC for an update on its co-ordination of mine clearance along several roads with a view to removing long-standing restrictions to the freedom of movement of SMM monitors and other civilians (See SMM Daily Report 19 January). There were no updates on demining the disengagement areas or priority roads.
The SMM visited three border areas currently not under control of the Government. At the border crossing point in Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), for about an hour, the SMM observed a total of 26 cars (20 with Ukrainian, five with Russian Federation, and one with Latvian licence plates), seven covered trucks (four with Ukrainian and three with Russian Federation licence plates) waiting to exit Ukraine and nine covered trucks (three with Ukrainian, three with Russian Federation and three with Belarusian licence plates) entering Ukraine. Thirty-five pedestrians left and 20 entered Ukraine.
At the border crossing point in Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk), for 20 minutes, the SMM observed no vehicles queuing in either direction. Four civilian vehicles with Ukrainian licence plates were parked before the border crossing point. The SMM talked to a “DPR” member who said that Ulianivske is only meant for pedestrians and he was not in a position to answer any more questions. No movement of vehicles or pedestrians was observed.
At the border crossing point in Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) for 30 minutes, the SMM observed six civilian vehicles as well as five trucks queuing to leave Ukraine (all with Ukrainian licence plates with the exception of one truck with Belarusian licence plates).
The SMM observed that the blockade of a railway track in government-controlled Hirske (63km west of Luhansk) remained unchanged (see SMM Daily Report 27 January 2017). The SMM talked with seven unarmed men and a woman wearing military-type uniforms with badges of various former voluntary battalions, whose tent next to the railway tracks was decorated with Ukrainian national flags and flags with two horizontal stripes, one red and one black.
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:
- Armed “LPR” members told the SMM that they could not guarantee the safety of the SMM in fields and side roads of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- A Ukrainian 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 UXO. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel prevented the SMM from entering a residential house inside the Zolote disengagement area. The SMM had observed an armed Ukrainian Armed Forces serviceman entering the building. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was unable to travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske due to the lack of security guarantees and possible threat from mines. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Anti-tank obstacles on the road and the presence of a mine hazard sign prevented the SMM from travelling between government-controlled Katerynivka and government-controlled Popasna. Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel told the Mission that the area had not been demined and that further permission from their headquarters would be required for the SMM to pass. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was prevented entering a heavy weapon holding area. An armed “DPR” member told the SMM that he was not allowed to let the SMM enter. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- While approaching an “LPR” position west of Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM was waved back by three armed “LPR” members who refused to talk with the SMM. The SMM left the location.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.