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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 6 July 2015

Author: Ayre от 7.07.2015, 22:30
(голосов: 1)

The situation at and around Donetsk airport was tense. Between 07:30 and 17:30hrs, at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (“Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled, 8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard over 60 explosions, consistent with incoming and outgoing mortar fire, as well as bursts consistent with small-arms, automatic grenade launcher, heavy machine-gun (HMG) and anti-aircraft gun fire. The SMM assessed that the explosions occurred at locations to the north-east, north, north-west and west at distances between 3 and 8km from its position. (For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the table below under “Related”.)

The situation in and around Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) remained calm. From its observation points located 1.5km and 3.5km west of Shyrokyne, the SMM did not observe any military activity.

For the third consecutive day the SMM facilitated and monitored a local ceasefire and repair works of a major water pipeline leading north-south across the contact line between Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north of Donetsk) and Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 29km north-east of Donetsk), following demining of the area which was also facilitated and monitored by the SMM (see SMM Daily Report 6 July 2015).

At the government-controlled checkpoint in Novotroitske (39km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed 39 civilian vehicles waiting to cross into government-controlled areas and 29 civilian vehicles waiting to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas. At the government-controlled checkpoint north of Volnovakha (52km south-south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a queue of 167 civilian vehicles and 16 trucks from the International Committee of the Red Cross waiting to cross to government-controlled areas and an equally long queue of civilian vehicles waiting to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas.

At the international border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation near Uspenka (“DPR”-controlled, 72km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 100 civilian vehicles waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. Some of the queuing civilians said they had been waiting for over seven hours adding that the average time to cross was 24 hours.

In Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk) local inhabitants told the SMM that they heard shelling on the night of 6 July between 24:00 and 04:00hrs noting that night-time shelling had increased over the last three days. The SMM observed that the bridge in Shchastia was closed for traffic. Following negotiations with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”), the Ukrainian Armed Forces temporarily removed the anti-tank mines they had previously placed at the southern end of the bridge, and the SMM was able to cross the bridge for the first time since 16 May 2015.

At a bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed that 12 civilians, mostly women and children, attempted to cross into government-controlled areas and were denied access at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint. Some of these interlocutors stated that they had been coming to the checkpoint on a daily basis for more than a week. The SMM also monitored the impacts of machine gun fire, mortar and artillery in and around the Ukrainian Armed Forces and “LPR” checkpoints.  The “LPR” and the Ukrainian Armed Forces present at the checkpoints separately told the SMM that fighting starts every evening at around 20:00hrs and ends at 02:00hrs.

The SMM visited the vicinity of a military training camp near Uspenka (“LPR”-controlled, 23km south-west of Luhansk), which was guarded by two armed “LPR” members. It observed 18 main battle tanks (T-64), six military trucks and three armoured personnel carriers (BTR) at 100-500 meters west of the main road, performing live-fire exercises.

In “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city, the SMM observed a press conference by the "LPR" “deputy chief prosecutor” on the status of the draft “criminal procedure code” and the functioning of “courts” in “LPR”-controlled areas. He said that at present the Ukrainian Criminal Procedure Code was in force. He stated that 150 people convicted under Ukrainian law before the conflict remained in prison and had not had the opportunity to appeal their sentences due to the lack of functioning of the courts.

The SMM revisited five “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, the locations of which complied with the respective withdrawal lines. At three of these sites all weapons were in situ, while at the fourth site, one self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122m) was missing. At the fifth site, the SMM was asked to wait for ten minutes before being allowed to observe the weapons from a distance following which only two SMM monitors were allowed to enter, but were not allowed to verify the serial numbers of the weapons systems.*

In Kharkiv city on 6 and 7 July, there were two false bomb alerts, the first in a notary’s office on Petrovskoho Street and the second in the city’s Moscow district court. The police told the SMM that both locations had been searched and evacuated and no explosive device had been found.

On 6 July, the SMM contacted the Odessa regional Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to follow up on a media report that it had arrested alleged members of an organization called “Odessa Underground” who allegedly committed a number of terrorist acts, including the bombing of the "U Angelovykh" restaurant (see SMM Daily Report 2 July, 2015). The SBU told the SMM that it had carried out searches of 18 houses during which they had seized 10 kilograms of explosives, arrested seven persons including the organization’s alleged leader and that an investigation for terrorist act and preparation of a terrorist act (Criminal Code of Ukraine, article 258 P.2 and article 14) was underway.

On 4 July, the SMM monitored the weekly gathering at Kulikove pole in Odessa. An anti-Maidan group consisting of some 75 participants above 40 years, mostly women, commemorated the 2 May 2014 events. They released black balloons with hand written notes attached while chanting, “We won’t forget, we won’t forgive”. The SMM observed a small counter demonstration of some 20 pro-Maidan mostly female activists, aged between 30 and 60. Access to Kulikove pole was closed to the anti-Maidan activists and around 100 police officers and “Sthorm” volunteer battalion members (Ministry of Internal Affairs) ensured that the two groups were separated. A small scuffle occurred between the groups who were then separated by the law enforcement officers. The event ended peacefully.

On 4 July on Kyiv’s Sofiiska Square, the SMM monitored the oath ceremony of 2,000 officers of the newly created traffic police, which was attended by President Poroshenko, the Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs. On 6 July, the SMM monitored a briefing about the work of the new traffic police unit held by the deputy minister of internal affairs who stated that 200 teams had been dispatched throughout the weekend and that the previous traffic police structure would be phased out within a week.

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

 

* 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 – and lack of information on the whereabouts – of mines, and damaged infrastructure. The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere. Self-imposed restrictions on movement into high-risk areas have impinged on SMM patrolling activities, particularly in areas not controlled by the government. Most areas along the Ukraine-Russian Federation international border have ordinarily been placed off limits to the SMM by both “DPR” and “LPR”.  The SMM UAVs cannot operate in the Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.

Delay/prevention:

  • At a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area the SMM was asked to wait for ten minutes before being allowed to observe the weapons from a distance. Only two monitors were allowed to enter the site and were prevented from checking the serial numbers on the systems.

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