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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 21 May 2015

Author: Ayre от 22.05.2015, 23:30
(голосов: 1)

The SMM observed continuous ceasefire violations in and around Donetsk airport (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 12km north-west of Donetsk). At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at the Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), between 7:30 and 16:30hrs, the SMM heard over one hundred explosions caused by incoming and outgoing artillery, mortar fire and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) as well as bursts of anti-aircraft gun and heavy machine gun. The SMM assessed that the explosions occurred at locations to the west, north-west and north, in areas adjacent to the Donetsk airport including Pisky (government-controlled, 7km west of Donetsk) and Opytne, Zhabunky and Spartak (“DPR”-controlled, 7km, 10km and 14km north-west of Donetsk).

The area of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) remained tense. During the morning from its observation post (government-controlled, 4.5km south-west of Shyrokyne, 16km east of Mariupol) the SMM heard multiple bursts consistent with machine-gun and small-arms fire, from 8-10km north-east and north-north-east of its position. Throughout the day, the SMM heard 84 explosions caused by mortar fire (82mm and 120mm) and multiple bursts of heavy machine-gun and small-arms fire.

In Slavne (government-controlled, 25km south-west of Donetsk) the local commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces informed the SMM that the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not have a complete overview of mined areas around the village. In Taramchuck (government-controlled, 30km south-west of Donetsk) the local commander said that the road towards Oleniivka was mined and that there were neither proper markings nor a complete overview of mined areas around the village.

At the headquarters of the JCCC in Soledar (government-controlled, 77km north of Donetsk), the SMM met the Russian Colonel-General, Representative of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to the JCCC and the Ukrainian Major-General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC. The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major-General said that the situation around Horlivka remained tense. He added that he was working closely with the Russian Colonel-General to establish observation posts in Luhanske (government-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk) and Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 55km north-east of Donetsk) to have direct and joint observations of ceasefire violations around the contact line in the vicinity of Horlivka.

In Debaltseve the SMM met the acting “chief of police” who said that burglaries and drug and alcohol related incidents were the most common offences but that recently there had been four cases of homicide related to domestic violence. He added that additional “police officers” will be recruited among the local population and that the “police station” is scheduled to be rebuilt.

In Dymytrov (government-controlled, 52km northwest of Donetsk) representatives of the local police explained to the SMM that the lack of shelter for victims of domestic violence within the entire Donetsk region was problematic as it impedes the ability of many victims to co-operate with the police. In Dymytrov alone they said that there had been 23 cases of domestic violence recorded in 2015 only three of which remain active due to the victims’ inability and/or unwillingness to co-operate with the police.

In Mariupol (government-controlled, 103km south of Donetsk) the local Imam said to the SMM that the attitude of the general population towards its 2,500 to 3,000 strong Muslim community remained good. The SMM also met the local Rabbi who said that the Jewish community in Mariupol currently amounts to approximately 5,000 members and that 200 members had left due to the conflict.

On 20 May, while in Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed several craters and damages to garages which the Ukrainian side of the JCCC and local residents confirmed to have occurred on 20 May at 01:10hrs. Crater analysis conducted by the SMM showed that the shelling had been caused by mortars (82mm and 120mm) fired from the south.

The SMM met the head of the district military-civil administration of Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk). He explained that the administration was registering all cases of complaints by civilians over the use of their properties by the military. He said that de-mining activities were on-going. He added that, due to the difficult situation faced by the population, a decision had been made jointly with the Ukrainian Armed Forces to ease the passage of the checkpoint towards the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled territories and allow people to transport food across the bridge. At the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska the SMM observed that people quite freely crossed the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint and re-entered the “LPR”-controlled territories with substantial amounts of goods.

The SMM met in Luhansk city an “LPR” member from the “commission for reconstruction and renovation” who said that the “LPR” were in the process of introducing a new humanitarian aid distribution system with delivery control mechanisms at the community level. He added that the reconstruction priority was currently on public buildings and that resources were not available to support the reconstruction of private properties.

The SMM met with the “chief of police” in Krasnodon (“LPR”-controlled, 43km south-east of Luhansk) who said that most of the current “police officers” were working for the police prior to the conflict. He said that the “prosecutor’s office” was operational but the court was closed. He added that the “police” had authority over crimes committed by armed “LPR” members.

The SMM revisited two heavy weapons holding areas of the Ukrainian Armed Forces where all recorded weapons were in situ.  The SMM visited another Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area for the first time and recorded six anti-tank guns and a canon. All three holding areas were consistent with the Minsk withdrawal lines.

Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was complete, the SMM observed the following presence and movements of heavy weapons in areas that are in violation of the Minsk withdrawal lines: in government-controlled areas, five 100mm anti-tank guns (MT-12) and five main battle tanks (T-64).

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Zaporizhzhia (67km south of Dnepropetrovsk) confirmed to the SMM that a joint operation between the police and SBU had resulted in the recent discovery of an explosives cache in Zaporizhzhia and the arrest of an individual suspected of smuggling. The cache contained several explosive devices including, in total, over 100 kilograms of TNT as well as six mortar shells and detonators.         

According to public statements from the police and the prosecutor’s office, a young man was stabbed to death on 19 May in Dniprodzerzhynsk (33km west of Dnepropetrovsk) following a brawl sparked by political remarks. Two suspects have been arrested.

The deputy head of the Kherson regional public peace and order department said to the SMM that the police would increase its presence in the southern touristic seaside districts when the holiday season begins on 15 June. He also said that the Ministry of Social Policy launched a project for the Kherson region, which intended to support servicepersons returning from the conflict zone. Those who wish to participate in the programme will receive a two-week training after which they will be able to take part in community safety work for a six-month period and assist local police with low risk public events. He added that 300 people are currently in the programme.

The SMM monitored a protest in front of the Lviv city council which was attended by approximately 250 people, mostly women vendors of the local Pryvokzalnyi market who alleged that the private company currently managing the market is demanding bribes in order for them to retain their right to sell at the market. In response, the city council set up a commission comprised of both vendors and officials to address all concerns. The police were present and the event ended peacefully.

The SMM monitored the Lviv city council adopt a draft decision presented by the Svoboda party group of councillors on the removal of Soviet era symbols from public spaces.

In Kyiv the SMM monitored the “financial maidan” protest in front of the Parliament, which took place for the third consecutive day. The protest was attended by approximately 500 people of various ages, mostly men who voiced their strong discontent with the lack of support by the government for people who had taken foreign currency loans prior to the fall of the Hryvnia. By 18:00hrs the size of the crowd had remained intact and the situation had become tense with protestors burning tires. Police increased their presence from 50 to 500 and ambulances and a fire brigade were on standby. The event ended peacefully.

The SMM monitored a protest held in front of the Kyiv city hall. The protest was attended by approximately 300 participants, mostly elderly women, who demanded that the city demolish illegal constructions in the Osokorky district of Kyiv and preserve recreational spaces. The police were present at the scene as well as unidentified security personnel in full crowd and riot control gear securing the city hall building. The event ended peacefully.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Odessa, Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk.



* Restrictions on SMM 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 lack of information on whereabouts of landmines.

The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere.

  • The SMM was stopped at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in the south-western outskirts of Volnovakha (government-controlled, 51km south-west of Donetsk) and was asked about the nationalities of the patrol members. The SMM was allowed to proceed after 15 minutes.
  • In Slavne (government-controlled, 25km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM was delayed without explanation for ten minutes at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint on the western side of the village.
  • The SMM was stopped at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk) and was allowed to pass after 17 minutes.
  • The SMM was denied access to a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area.



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