Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 12 June 2015

This report is provided for the media and the general public.

The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”. Its monitoring was restricted by third parties and security considerations*. The SMM observed continued ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport. The SMM conducted impact crater analysis and visited heavy weapons holding areas of Ukrainian Armed Forces and “DPR”.

From the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at the Donetsk central railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM saw and heard 142 explosions from unspecified types of weapons and 34 anti-aircraft gun bursts at a distance between three to seven kilometres north-north-east, north, north-west and west-north-west of the SMM’s location.[1]

From the observation post at the railway station, the SMM observed a large fire approximately 2.5km north of its position and on the other side of the destroyed new terminal at Donetsk airport (“DPR”-controlled, 12km north-north-west of Donetsk airport).

On 11 June, the SMM observed nine impacts consistent with shelling in Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 37km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM conducted crater analyses and assessed that most of the impacts originated from a north to south direction. The SMM spoke with 25 residents (male and female, different age groups) who said that shelling had occurred during the night on 10 June and that three women (37, 47 and 68 years old) had died and another three individuals were wounded. The SMM observed several damaged buildings (walls, roof and stairs to the roof), two burned cars and three damaged garage doors. The SMM observed impact craters with diameters of one metre, three metres, 4.9 metres, two metres, and 1.8 metres). The SMM assessed one crater to have been caused by artillery (122 or 155mm) while the other craters were caused by unspecified type of weapons. The SMM had previously visited the morgue and met with the director who said that the SMM should contact the police for information. The SMM contacted by phone a “DPR” “police officer” for further information, but he did not provide any details.

On 11 June, the SMM conducted several crater analyses in Lebedynske (government-controlled, 16km east-north-east of Mariupol). The SMM assessed that the craters were caused by artillery (152mm) and mortar (120mm) shelling originating from a north-eastern direction. In addition, the SMM observed damage caused by shrapnel to various houses. The SMM conducted 11 crater analyses in Krasnyi Oktiabr (“DPR”-controlled, 55km north-east of Mariupol) and concluded that the craters were the result of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) shelling from a south-western direction.

On 12 June, at 08:15hrs, the SMM observed around 450 civilian vehicles queuing to pass through a government-controlled checkpoint near Berezove (32km south-west of Donetsk) from “DPR”- to government-controlled area. No civilian vehicles were observed queuing in the opposite direction. At 17:30hrs, the SMM observed around 50 civilian vehicles queuing on each side of the checkpoint. The SMM assessed the high number of vehicles could have been caused due to the recent closure of government-controlled crossing points.

In Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM spoke with the head of the village administration, who said  the village was facing a lack of electricity supply and running water due to damages of the electrical lines caused by shelling in “DPR”-controlled areas where the electricity provider is located. All mobile network coverage had been out of order since 1 April, she added.

The SMM observed that the overall situation in Luhansk region was calm. However, on 11 June, in government-controlled Karbonit (part of Zolote, 60km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 16 incoming and outgoing artillery explosions and six mortar explosions at five to ten kilometres east, south-east, south-west, and west of its position. On 12 June, from its position in the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Tsvitni Pisky (11km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard three heavy artillery shots incoming at a distance of 15km from a western direction. The SMM also saw a column of black smoke in a northern direction in government-controlled area.  

Near a checkpoint in government-controlled Novotoshkivkse (53km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM inspected mortar impacts. The SMM observed one unexploded mortar shell (120mm) with its tail pointing at a 135 degree angle, assessed to have originated from a south-eastern direction. The SMM observed the impact of two more shells detonated in nearby trees.

The SMM observed a railway bridge three kilometres south-west of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk) that had been damaged by an explosion caused by an improvised explosive device, consisting of at least two artillery shells (152mm). 

On 11 June, in “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (50km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed that an unspecified type projectile had completely destroyed the roof of a residential building, but it had not pierced the concrete deck under the roof. The SMM assessed the projectile to have originated from a northern or north-western direction. In a playground, 15m north of the same residential building, the SMM observed a crater approximately one metre in diameter, caused by an unspecified weapon.

The SMM spoke to five male residents (between 25-50 years old) in “LPR”-controlled Hrushove (52km south-west of Luhansk) who said that they were facing problems with irregular water supply, shortage of medicines, difficulties with receiving permits when traveling to government-controlled areas, and high food prices.

The SMM visited, for the second time, an “LPR” military training and firing range area, with two parking sites. At one parking site, where the SMM had previously had no access, the SMM observed 15 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika SPH, 122mm), 12 towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm), six anti-tank guns (T-12 Rapira, 100mm), and 11 MLRS (BM-21 GRAD). At the second parking site, the SMM observed six towed howitzers (2A65 “Msta-B”, 152mm) and 18 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika SPH, 122mm). The SMM was escorted* by a “military police” car.

The SMM revisited five “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, all in compliance with the weapon’s withdrawal lines according to the Minsk Package. At one site, the SMM observed that three anti-tank guns (Rapira, 100mm) previously recorded were missing. At a second site, the SMM observed that all four previously recorded MLRS (Grad BM-21, 122mm) were in situ. At a third site, the SMM observed that three MLRS (Grad BM-21, 122mm) had different serial numbers from those previously recorded and two previously recorded towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm) were missing. At two other sites, the SMM observed that all previously recorded weapons were in situ.

The SMM revisited seven Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas, all in compliance with the weapons’ withdrawal lines according to the Minsk Package. At one site, the SMM observed that all previously recorded weapons were in situ. At the other six sites, the SMM observed that in total in all the six sites 17 previously recorded heavy weapons were missing: one towed howitzer (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm), four MLRS (BM-21 GRAD, 122mm), six towed howitzers (2A65 “Msta-B”, 152mm), and six anti-tank guns (100mm 2A19 MT-12 Rapira).

On 11 June, in government-controlled Plotyna (28km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed one tank (T64). Also on 11 June, in a government-controlled area near the contact line, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle spotted two surface-to-air missile systems (S-300).  On 12 June, in the vicinity of government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed three howitzers (Giatsint B 152mm) on hangers towed by three military trucks.

The SMM monitored the sites of two explosions that had occurred on 12 June in Odessa city. The police told the SMM that in both cases a non-fragmentation explosive device, equivalent to 200gr of TNT, had been placed on the metal framework of two billboards bearing Ukrainian patriotic messages. No casualties were reported and the police are investigating. At the first site, the SMM observed damage to the central section of the billboard. The explosion had also slightly damaged some nearby kiosks and windows of a building opposite the billboard. Broken glass and metal fragments from the billboard frame were visible on the street. At the second site, the SMM observed damage to the left side and to the tube lighting system of the billboard.

In Kyiv, the SMM attended a conference of the International Centre for Policy Studies on “Women’s access to politics in Ukraine at national and regional level”. An associated gender expert of the centre said that although women are well educated and engaging in economic activities, the number of active female politicians remains low. The head of the parliamentary committee on European integration stated that gender equality in the country was improving, as not only the number of female politicians is increasing but also the positions they are holding are more prominent.

The SMM followed up the situation concerning the fire that broke at a fuel depot on 9 June in Vasylkiv district (30 km south-west of Kyiv city)[2]. The SMM saw that the fire had been completely extinguished. The SMM observed approximately 35 parked fire trucks, two ambulances and several tents being broken down, that had been used to house the emergency crews working at the site. The SMM saw only one fire unit which had a steady stream of water coming from the hose in order to keep the surrounding areas moist as a preventive measure.

On June 11, in Kharkiv the SMM observed  a group of 80 people (male and female, aged 18-30) protesting outside the Russian Federation Consulate, where a celebration event on the occasion of Russia’s National Day was taking place. No media were present. The SMM observed the building cordoned by 40 police officers preventing the activists from accosting around 20 guests (both Ukrainians and internationals) at the entrance. The activists were holding Ukrainian and Civil Guard flags. The SMM saw protesters throwing bottles of green disinfectant liquid at the walls of the Consulate. The event ended with no further incidents.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi.

* Restrictions on SMM monitoring, access and freedom of movement:

The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by third parties and security considerations including the presence of mines, the lack of information on whereabouts of landmines, as well as damaged infrastructure.

The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere. Since 6 June persistent mobile network connection problems in Donetsk and Luhansk coupled with the self-imposed restriction of movement into high risk areas have impinged on SMM patrolling activities particularly in areas not controlled by the government.

  • In “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), the local “LPR” “military commander” told the SMM that it was not allowed to proceed to “LPR”-controlled Sokilnyky (38km north-west of Luhansk) without further permission from his superiors. The SMM was not allowed to proceed.  
  • At a checkpoint south of “LPR”-controlled Smile (32km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM was stopped and told by “LPR” members that it could not precede without the local commanders’ approval. The SMM was held for 25 minutes and then was allowed to proceed.  
  • The head of the “village administration” in “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Kut (55km south-west of Luhansk) informed the SMM that the “village administration” had received a letter from the head of “LPR”-controlled Antratsyt (51km south-west of Luhansk) “district administration” stating that the “district administration” must pre-approve any SMM visits to the village. Due to this reason, the SMM could not visit Antratsyt.
  • At a checkpoint near Starohnativka (government-controlled, 53km north-north-east of Mariupol), the Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel did not allow the SMM to proceed, citing security reasons
  • The SMM was not allowed access to a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, where it had previously recorded eight anti-tank missile systems (9P149 “Shturm-S”).  

[1]   For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.

[2] Please see SMM 10 June daily report at http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/163441

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