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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 13 July 2015

Author: Ayre от 14.07.2015, 22:30
(голосов: 1)

The SMM from its base in “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk city centre heard at least 16 incoming and outgoing artillery explosions 3km to the south-south-west in the early morning hours. The security situation calmed during the day, with fewer observed explosions than in previous days. Between 08:00 and 18:00hrs at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard 50 mortar explosions and small arms and light weapons (SALW) fire[1]  – a significant reduction from three days earlier on 10 July, for example, when the SMM observed more than 600 explosions there (see SMM Daily Report 11 July 2015).

The SMM followed up on observations and reports of shelling by visiting towns including Krasnohorivka (government-controlled, 21km west of Donetsk). There, the head of the civilian-military administration and, independently, several civilians described incoming tank fire between 3:30 and 4:00hrs. The SMM observed six fresh craters and one impact on a residential building – and concluded that the craters had been caused by 125mm main battle tank (MBT) incoming rounds fired from the east-south-east.

The SMM continued, for the second week, to facilitate vital repair work to the water-supply system around “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) – following the cancellation of planned work on 12 July because of security concerns after ceasefire violations the previous two days (see SMM Daily Report 13 July 2015). The SMM continued to hear sporadic mortar shelling in the morning, 32 mortar (82mm) explosions west of the SMM’s position in Horlivka – though the SMM could not determine if the mortar rounds were incoming or outgoing. While at the government-controlled checkpoint at Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk), after 13:00hrs the SMM also heard sporadic incoming and outgoing mortar shelling (82mm and 120mm) to the north-east and then, after 15:30hrs, SALW fire to the east-south-east. The SMM maintained close contact with JCCC representatives at Soledar headquarters as well as with Ukrainian Armed Forces and “DPR” commanders on site to help maintain the ceasefire. The repair crew was able to complete its work for the day by 16:30hrs.

At the Novoazovsk (“DPR”-controlled, 53km east of Mariupol) international border crossing point between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the SMM observed a calm situation with a dozen trucks waiting to cross into the Russian Federation. The “DPR” “border guard” “commander” said an average of 150 trucks passed back and forth daily – bringing food, diesel fuel and construction material to Ukraine, and transporting Ukrainian food and steel/metal products to the Russian Federation. He added that four of the trucks, which the SMM saw had Russian Federation license plates, had delivered a shipment of humanitarian aid in the form of bottled water to “DPR”-controlled Donetsk region.

At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near government-controlled Volnovakha (53km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed a 2.4km line of civilian vehicles waiting to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas of Donetsk region – more than twice as long as in recent weeks. Travellers, six men and four women, spoke of wait-times of up to eight hours. Meanwhile, on the other side of the checkpoint, the SMM observed 800m line of civilian vehicles waiting to cross into government-controlled areas.

The general security situation in Luhansk region remained relatively calm, though the SMM observed three ceasefire violations in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). Some of the fire was observed at what the SMM concluded was a government training ground next to the town. The SMM also heard the sounds of five to seven single gunshots and two mortar rounds being fired near the contact line to the south. Later in the afternoon, the SMM heard at least 17 explosions caused by what it concluded to be incoming mortar and grenade fire to the south-south-west.

In Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM spoke with three civilians, two women and one man in their seventies, who identified themselves as residents of nearby Malynove (government-controlled, 19km north-east of Luhansk). They described the security situation in their village as calm during the day, but said they were regularly hearing SALW fire during the night. All three complained about the closure of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, saying it made it impossible for them to visit relatives or sell agricultural produce in “LPR”-controlled areas of the region.

The SMM revisited one "DPR" heavy weapons holding area. As on previous visits, the SMM observed one previously recorded towed howitzer (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) to be missing – with the site personnel saying, as they have before, that it was away for training.

Despite claims by all sides that heavy weapons had been withdrawn, the SMM continued to observe heavy weapons in areas proscribed by the Minsk arrangements: in “DPR”-controlled areas, a 120mm towed mortar. In government-controlled areas, the SMM observed a column of five MBTs (T-64). In addition, SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) observed in “DPR”-controlled Komsomolske (45km south-east of Donetsk) one self-propelled howitzer and in “DPR”-controlled Bila Kamyanka (52km south of Donetsk) five MBTs.

The SMM continued to monitor the security situation in Mukacheve (Zakarpattia region, 152km south-west of Ivano-Frankivsk, 605km south-west of Kyiv), following the armed incident on 11 July which left reportedly two people killed and several others wounded (see SMM Spot Report 12 July 2015). The SMM observed an increased police presence. Residents expressed their concern that tensions might escalate. The deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine, who is leading the government task force investigating the Mukacheve incident, meanwhile informed the SMM that they continue to search for the Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) members involved in the incident.

The SMM meanwhile continued to observe rallies in other parts of Ukraine by Right Sector members and supporters, many of whom were demanding an investigation into the Mukacheve incident while also protesting against what they described as state corruption, the slow pace of reform and the government’s policies towards volunteer battalions. The SMM visited an improvised checkpoint 5km west of Kyiv city on the side of highway M-06, consisting of tires, sandbags and pieces of metal. Seven young men were present, some wearing military uniforms with Right Sector insignia and some wearing balaclavas. The checkpoint was on the side of the highway and not blocking traffic – but the “commander” said it served as a symbol of Right Sector protest and also allowed them to track any movement of military equipment west. Outside the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs office in Odessa on 12 July, the SMM monitored a peaceful protest of some 125 Right Sector supporters – between 25 and 45-years old, including ten women. More than half of the protestors were wearing camouflage fatigues. The recently appointed Odessa chief of police addressed protesters – pledging to work with self-defence groups such as  the Right Sector and encouraging them to report any police wrongdoing. The SMM monitored a demonstration on Liberty Square in Kharkiv on 12 July, attended by some 100 Right Sector supporters, men and women, many wearing military fatigues. The square was closed to the public and guarded by a cordon of 50 police officers. The SMM in Dnepropetrovsk also monitored a peaceful protest on 13 July outside the city’s regional police headquarters by some 50 Right Sector supporters. Members of other volunteer battalions, Aidar and Dnipro-1, were also observed among the protesters. The SMM also monitored a smaller Right Sector rally in Zaporizhzhia.

The SMM continued to monitor the situations in Kherson, 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 – 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, particularly those controlled by the “LPR”. The SMM UAVs cannot operate in Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.

Denied access:

  • “DPR” armed persons at a checkpoint at Novoazovsk (40km east of Mariupol) refused the SMM entry to the town after a pre-arranged meeting with a military-police investigator there was unexpectedly cancelled, saying that because the meeting had been cancelled the SMM had no other reason to be there.

Interference with the UAV:

  • While flying over “DPR”-controlled Dzerkalnyi train station (45km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM UAV was jammed for three minutes.

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

 

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