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

Author: Ayre от 14.07.2015, 07:30
(голосов: 1)

The level of violence at and around the destroyed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled airport (12km north-west of Donetsk) decreased compared to previous days. Positioned at the “DPR”-controlled central railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk), on 11 July, between 13:23 and 18:15hrs the SMM heard the sounds of 57 incoming, 39 outgoing and 62 indeterminate rounds. The sounds – either artillery or mortar rounds – were heard occurring at locations 1.5-6km to the north-east, north, north-west and west of the SMM’s position. At the same position on 12 July, between 08:00 and 13:00hrs, the SMM heard and saw 102 explosions, of which 19 were outgoing, 66 incoming and 17 indeterminate rounds.  The sounds occurred at locations 3-8km to the north-east, north, north-west and west of the SMM’s position.[1]

From its observation point located on the eastern outskirts of Berdianske (government-controlled, 1.5km west of Shyrokyne), the SMM did not observe any violence during 11 and 12 July.

The SMM went to Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) and saw no military presence. Ammunition and weaponries left behind by “DPR” remained in the same places, as noticed during the last SMM visit to the village.

The SMM continued to facilitate on-going repair to the water-supply system around “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk). However, due to shelling from a north-easterly direction, as heard by the SMM, the repair work was suspended at around 14:30hrs on 11 July. Due to security reasons related to reported shelling in the area on 12 July, the SMM was not present in Horlivka.

In Maryinka (“DPR”-controlled, 78km east of Donetsk) at the international border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the SMM observed a queue of 49 civilian vehicles waiting to cross the border into the Russian Federation. Within approximately 45 minutes the queue expanded to about 80 civilian vehicles. The SMM spoke to several passengers (different gender and age), who said that they had been already waiting between four and eight hours. A male bus driver said that it took five to eight hours to cross the border. While at the border crossing point, the SMM observed a minivan with “DPR” registration plates and “Vostok Battalion” insignia, carrying three armed uniformed persons, crossing the international border into Ukraine.

At the international border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation in Uspenka (“DPR”-controlled, 72km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed 87 civilian cars and 18 civilian trucks waiting in a queue to cross into the Russian Federation. According to one male passenger, he had already been waiting in the queue for 12 hours.

In Nyzhnyi Minchenok (government-controlled, 33km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed the aftermath of shelling and saw one fresh crater. The remains of a shell were still in the crater. The SMM identified the calibre of the shell as 152mm. The SMM met with a Ukrainian Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) member and a Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), who both told the SMM that during the night of 11 July from 02:30 until 03:00hrs, “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) had fired seven artillery rounds at the village, in the interlocutors’ view trying to hit a Ukrainian Armed Forces position located in the close vicinity. No casualties were reported.

The SMM met with a Cossack leader in Rovenky (“LPR”-controlled, 55km south of Luhansk), who identified himself as the commander of an “LPR” battalion, composed of Cossacks and other armed personnel in his area of responsibility at the line of contact.  According to him, members of his unit also co-operated with the “LPR” “police”, “ministry of emergency situations” and the “prosecutor” office in Rovenky. He said that his battalion was conducting disarmament of illegal armed groups in co-operation with “LPR” “military police”.

Residents of “LPR”-controlled Volodarsk (53km south-east of Luhansk) told the SMM that since one week the village had not been receiving any water. The SMM observed villagers collecting water from wells in canisters.

Despite previous claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was complete, the SMM saw on “LPR”-controlled areas, three main battle tanks (MBT) (T-64) in stationary positions and one platoon-sized unit of “LPR” armed personnel standing nearby.

Furthermore, the SMM saw in the vicinity of an “LPR” training camp on 11 July, 14 MBTs (T-64), three infantry fighting vehicles (BMP), and ten military trucks (Kamaz) loaded with ammunition. The following day, the SMM noted at the same location 17 MBTs (T-64), three BMP and six military trucks (Kamaz) in stationary position and many ammunition boxes on the trucks.

In addition, SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) continued to observe concentrations of military hardware in and around “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske (45km south-east of Donetsk, 98km north-east of Mariupol), noting on 11 and 12 July at least 14 main battle tanks (MBT), 40 armoured personnel carriers (APC) and more than 40 military-type trucks.  In areas adjacent to Komsomolske, SMM UAVs also observed an additional 16 military-type trucks, two MBTs and one self-propelled howitzer (most likely 2S1 Gvozdika). On 11 July the UAV observed 5km south of Komsomolske, in “DPR”-controlled Vesele (3km south of Komsomolske, 47km south-east of Donetsk) one anti-aircraft short-range surface-to-air missile system (9K35 “Strela-10”). In government-controlled Hranitne (63km south of Donetsk) the UAV spotted one MBT. On 12 July the UAV recorded an exchange of tank fire between government-controlled Starohnativka (52km south of Donetsk) and “DPR”-controlled Bila Kamyanka (52km south of Donetsk). Three MBTs from the government-controlled side and one MBT from “DPR” were engaged in the exchange.

After an armed incident that occurred on 11 July in Mukacheve (Zakarpattia region, 605km south-west of Kyiv), resulting in the death of two Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) members and several others wounded, the SMM dispatched a team from Ivano-Frankivsk to monitor the situation in the wake of the incident (see SMM Spot Report 12 July 2015). On 12 July, in Ivano-Frankivsk, the SMM saw that men in camouflage with Right Sector badges, wearing balaclavas, had blocked two streets leading to the regional state administration building. Both roadblocks were manned by four individuals respectively. They directed traffic towards other streets; pedestrians were allowed to pass. There was also a gathering of men in camouflage in front of the regional state administration building and close to the nearby Right Sector office. There were some 15 uniformed Right Sector members and no police presence in the area.

The SMM observed other protest gatherings of the Right Sector across the country. On 11 July the SMM observed peaceful gatherings of supporters and members of Right Sector, numbering about 100 people, outside the regional state administration building in Lviv. On 12 July, the SMM observed a peaceful gathering of some 100 people outside the presidential administration building in Kyiv; protesters demanded the resignation of the Minister of Internal Affairs and the chief of the Zakarpattia region police. The number of protesters later grew to 250 persons. At a distance of about 300 metres from the building some 20 National Guard members and five police officers formed a cordon between the protestors and the building itself. The protest remained peaceful and continued when the SMM left the scene. The presence of demonstrators was observed also on 12 July in Dnepropetrovsk, but not in Lviv. In Chernivtsi, the SMM saw at the central square about 15 male individuals dressed in camouflage with Right Sector insignia gathering peacefully. Four police officers were visible in the vicinity of the gathering.

The SMM visited the Chonhar and Kalanchak crossing points at the Administrative Boundary Line between Kherson region and the Crimean peninsula. At the Chonhar crossing point several drivers said that they had been queuing for more than three hours waiting to cross into Crimea. Several civilian truck drivers at the Kalanchak crossing point told the SMM that waiting time amounted to 4-5 days. The Ukrainian border guard representative at the Chonhar crossing point attributed queues at passport controls to the large number of arriving passengers. According to him, there were no queues in the evening and during night.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv and Odessa.

* 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, particularly those controlled by the “LPR”.  SMM UAVs cannot operate in the Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.

Delay:

  • On 12 July at 09:40hrs, at a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in the vicinity of government-controlled Shchastia (23km north of Luhansk), the personnel asked SMM for national passports. The OSCE red book was not accepted. After checking the passports (personal data, entry/exit stamps and visa of foreign countries) the SMM vehicle was searched. After approximately five minutes, the SMM was allowed to pass through the check point.
  • On 12 July, between 13:20 and 13:30hrs, 5km south of “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM was approached by two armed men in military uniform. The interlocutors claimed to be “LPR” “military intelligence”. The two armed individuals took photos of the SMM vehicle, asked for documents and patrol plans. They were determined in their requests and asked to be informed whenever the SMM would be in the area. The SMM could not identify, whether the two armed individuals were “LPR” members.

 

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

 

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