Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 10 February 2017
This report is for the general public and the media.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on reports of civilian casualties. The SMM continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske but its access remained restricted.* Its freedom of movement was further restricted, in particular in areas not controlled by the Government.* The Mission noted that the blockade of a railway track in Hirske continued. It visited one border area currently not under government control. The SMM followed up on reports of vandalism at an art exhibition in Kyiv.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region, including about 180 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period. About one third of the explosions were observed in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area. 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 camera at Oktiabr mine (“DPR”-controlled, 9km north-west of Donetsk) recorded one undetermined projectile in flight from south to north, one undetermined explosion, five illumination flares and a total of 16 tracer rounds in flight from south to north on the evening and night of 9 February, all 4–6km north-north-east, which all began with illumination flares and four tracer rounds fired south to north.
While in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city on the evening and night of 9-10 February the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 6-10km north-north-west.
On the same night, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard seven explosions assessed as outgoing tank rounds, 26 undetermined explosions, and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 8-15km south-south-west, south-west, and north-north-west. While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions south-south-east.
During that night, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded 15 rocket-assisted projectiles fired from east to west and west to east and 70 tracer rounds (45 from west to east, 12 east to west and 13 south-west to north-east), all beginning with 20 direct tracer rounds from west to east.
Positioned near government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about five hours during the day on 10 February the SMM heard 40 undetermined explosions 2-4km south-east. Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for the same amount of time, the SMM heard a total of seven undetermined explosions 2-4km north, north-east and 3-5km west, south-west.
Positioned in Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk) for about four hours during the day, the SMM heard 32 undetermined explosions, some 600 small-arms shots and over 400 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-10km north, north-west, south, south-east. While in Horlivka, the SMM heard two explosions assessed as 152mm artillery fire impacts 6-7km north-west in the morning. While in Svitlodarsk during the day, within three hours in the afternoon, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions as well as uncountable and overlapping bursts of anti-aircraft-gun fire 2-7km south, south-east and west.
Positioned in Novhorodske (government-controlled, 35km north of Donetsk) the SMM heard one explosion assessed as an outgoing artillery round (unknown calibre) 3-5km south.
Positioned in Sartana (government controlled, 15km north-east of Mariupol), within five minutes in the afternoon the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions, assessed as caused by artillery fire about 5km south-east. Positioned 2.5km south-south-east of Lomakyne (government controlled, 15km north-east of Mariupol), within ten minutes, the SMM heard nine undetermined explosions east, bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and small-arms shots north-east and west-north-west, all at an undetermined distance. Positioned near Zaichenko (“DPR”-controlled, 26km north-east of Mariupol), in 20 minutes, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions at an undetermined distance south and three bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire at an undetermined distance west.
In Luhansk region the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations compared with the previous 24-hour period, all of which were explosions (39 compared with 114 explosions).
On the night of 9 February, whilst in Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, “LPR”-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 13 undetermined explosions 5-10km north.
On 10 February the Mission continued to hear explosions in different parts of Luhansk region. Positioned in in “LPR”-controlled Zolote-5 (61km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard two undetermined explosions (weapon type unknown) 10km west-south-west. Positioned in “LPR”-controlled Komisarivka (60km west of Luhansk) the SMM heard one undetermined explosion assessed as caused by artillery rounds (unknown type) 10km north-west. Positioned in Novooleksandrivka (65km west of Luhansk), within 30 minutes the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 10km south-east. Positioned in government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk) in less than ten minutes around noon the SMM heard five series of explosions (3-5 explosions each) assessed as caused by outgoing artillery rounds 4-6km south-east. Positioned in government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard two undetermined explosions 10km south-east. Positioned in government-controlled Krymske (42km north-west of Luhansk), in 15 minutes, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions assessed as caused by rounds of infantry fighting vehicle (BMP) cannon 4-5km east.
The SMM continued to follow up on reports of civilian casualties. At the hospital in Kurakhove (government-controlled, 40km west of Donetsk) medical personnel told the SMM that a woman (about 50 years old) had been admitted to the hospital on 2 February with injuries to the lower part of her left leg with an open fracture. The SMM met the victim, who said she had been injured around 11:00 in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk). The chief of police in Kurakhove told the SMM the injury had been caused by a bullet. At the Avdiivka Police Station the Chief of Police, told the SMM that the police had received information from the Avdiivka City Hospital on 9 February about two men with non-life-threatening shrapnel wounds who had been admitted on 9 February. At the Avdiivka city hospital medical personnel told the SMM that both victims had been admitted on 9 February, but had since been transferred to Military Hospital No. 66 in government-controlled Pokrovsk (formerly Krasnoarmiisk, 55km north-west of Donetsk). According to a Ukrainian officer at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) the incidents had taken place in the old part of Avdiivka and one man had been wounded next to a house on 224 Sobornaia street, while the other had been wounded next to another house on 271 on the same street.
The SMM observed shelling damage. In “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol) a group of residents told the SMM that gas supply had been cut due to shelling on the night of 9-10 February, which had damaged a gas pipeline in an open field, about 50m south from civilian houses on the main road, in close proximity (30m) to a “DPR” checkpoint on the north-western edge of the village. The SMM saw a group of residents repairing the gas pipeline.
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of Stanytsia Luhanska, 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 (see SMM Daily Report 8 February 2017). No armed personnel were observed.
On the night of 8 February, the SMM camera at Stanytsia Luhanska recorded the launch of a rocket-assisted projectile (outside the disengagement area) it assessed as a round of a light portable rocket system (Grad-P, 122mm) flying from south-south-east to north-north-west.
The SMM noted a calm situation while present in the Petrivske 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 the withdrawal lines the SMM observed, in government-controlled areas, three towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) towed by Ukrainian Armed Forces trucks heading north-west near Voitove (33km north-west of Luhansk). In areas not controlled by the Government the Mission observed: eight self-propelled howitzers (2S1, Gvozdika, 122mm) at a compound in Kozatske (36km north-east of Mariupol)*, a self-propelled howitzer (2S1) in Debaltseve, two anti-tank missile systems (9K11 Fagot, 120mm) mounted on infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs; BMP-1) and four stationary tanks (T-64) near Vyshnevyi Dil (13km east of Luhansk).
The SMM revisited a “DPR” weapons storage site, whose location corresponded with the withdrawal lines, and noted that its fence had been taken down and one tank (T-72) was absent for the first time.
Beyond withdrawal lines, but outside storage sites, in government-controlled areas the SMM observed: a tank (T-64) transported on a trailer truck near Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, government-controlled, 67km north of Donetsk). In areas not controlled by the Government, the SMM saw six stationary tanks (T-64) near Zolotarivka (“DPR”-controlled, 29km east 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 four towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm) and noted three were missing, including two for the first time; ten self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and noted 13 were missing, including two for the first time. The SMM found another such area abandoned and noted 14 towed howitzers (eight 2A65 Msta-B, 152 mm and six 2A36) missing.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles in the security zone. In areas not controlled by the Government the SMM observed: one IFV (BMP-1) and one armoured personnel carrier (APC; MTLB) at the north-eastern outskirts of Luhansk city; two IFVs (BMP-1) near the Prince Ihor monument south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), and three IFVs (BMP-1) 2km south of the bridge; three APCs (MTLB) in Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk); and one APC (MTLB) near Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 40km north-west of Luhansk).
In government-controlled areas the SMM saw: one APC (BTR) near Novhorodske, three IFVs (two BMP-2 and one BMP-1-Ksh) and one APC (MTLB without gun) near government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk); five IFVs (BMP-2) in Krymske, 21 IFVs (20 BMP-2, one BMP-1) near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) and two IFVs (BMP-1) in Stanytsia Luhanska (outside the disengagement area).
On 9 February in the northern part of Novohryhorivka (“DPR”-controlled, 61 km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw two children (six-seven years old) playing in the snow about 30 meters from a large unexploded rocket the SMM assessed to be an MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm). A Russian officer of the JCCC was present. The children told the SMM that they had been warned at school not to pick up any remnants of war. The site was not marked or fenced off. Positioned 1km east of Znamianka (“LPR”-controlled, 36km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM saw one shell it assessed as at least 120mm in calibre lying in the snow next to a bus stop shelter. The site was not marked or fenced off.
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). The JCCC gave no updates on demining.
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).
In Bakhmut the SMM saw around 20 people and two tents on the two sides on the road next to a railway crossing at the southern outskirts of the town. Most of the people were wearing camouflage-type clothing and some had insignia from former volunteer battalions. A representative of the group said they had established a protest in this location a week ago against trade with areas not controlled by the Government, and since then there had been no cargo trains trying to pass. He added that the main aim was to stop what he said was illicit trade with non-government-controlled areas and that protesters were planning to block all transport connections, both via road and railway.
In Donetsk city a funeral ceremony for Mikhail Tolstykh (also known as Givi) took place. Traffic in the centre of the city was blocked for four hours during the day for the proceedings, which were attended by hundreds of people.
The SMM continued to facilitate repairs of essential infrastructure. The SMM monitored adherence to the ceasefire and observed on both sides of the contact line repairs to power lines in the area between Svitlodarsk and Luhanske (government-controlled, 59km north-east of Donetsk) which supplies Horlivka and surrounding areas as well as near Zolote (60km west of Luhansk).
The SMM visited one border area currently not under government control. The SMM noted a calm situation while present at the pedestrian crossing point in Novoborovytsi (79km south of Luhansk). Within an hour the SMM saw a woman and a child (around 40 and ten years old, respectively) enter Ukraine and leave the area in a civilian car (with Ukrainian licence plates) with a man inside (around 50 years old), which had arrived about 20 minutes earlier. The SMM noted that the crossing point continued to be unstaffed as has been observed on numerous occasions.
In Kyiv, on 8 February, the SMM followed up on reports of vandalism against an art exhibition related to the Maidan protests of 2014 at the Visual Culture Research Centre on Hlybochytska Street. The SMM saw offensive graffiti had been painted on the walls of the exhibition hall, some walls had been damaged and extensive damage had been done to the exhibits. A woman told the SMM that 15 masked individuals had entered the premises, used pepper spray against the security guard and then damaged the exhibits and the hall. She also said they had left before the police had arrived. The SMM contacted the responsible police department who confirmed an investigation was under way.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Chernivtsi.
*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 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 informed the JCCC.
- “LPR” members did not provide the SMM with security guarantees for fields and side roads in the Zolote disengagement area. Due to the possible presence of mines and UXO the SMM did not proceed and 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 (4km west of Luhansk) and 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 as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- An unarmed “DPR” member denied the SMM access to a weapons storage site. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Armed men denied the SMM access to a compound in Kozatske. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Armed men denied the SMM access to a compound in Kozatske with weapons clearly visible and in violation of withdrawal lines (eight 2S1 self-propelled howitzers). The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Two armed men denied the SMM access to “LPR”-controlled Chervonyi Yar, a north-eastern suburb of Luhansk city. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- Armed men denied the SMM access to the village of Vyshnevyi Dil. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was again allowed to pass through a checkpoint not controlled by the Government near Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk, see SMM Daily Report 10 February 2017) only after an armed man had searched the SMM vehicles. The man cited orders not to allow the SMM to pass without its vehicles being searched. The Mission informed the JCCC.
- An armed “DPR” member imposed an armed escort on the SMM in Petrivske as it sought access to the location of the SMM camera. The SMM informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was stopped at a “DPR” entry-exit checkpoint near Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk) and was allowed to proceed only after 70 minutes through JCCC facilitation.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.