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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 22 July 2015

Author: Ayre от 23.07.2015, 21:30
(голосов: 1)

The situation in and around Donetsk city (including at the Donetsk airport) was noticeably tenser than during the two previous days. Positioned at the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk central railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk), between 08:25 and 15:35hrs, the SMM observed 76 explosions, 43 incoming and 32 outgoing, one unspecified, consistent with mortar and heavy artillery rounds north-east, north-north-east, north-north-west, west and south-west at distances ranging from 3 to 8km of its position. The SMM observed during the same period sporadic small-arms, automatic grenade launchers and heavy-machine gun fire. Both representatives of Russian and Ukrainian Armed Forces at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) headquarters in Soledar (government-controlled, 77km north-east of Donetsk) agreed on the increased tensions. The SMM continues to follow-up on and observe the aftermath of the shelling in Donetsk city and Avdiivka on 18 July.

Close to Avdiivka (government-controlled, 15km north-north-west of Donetsk), the SMM observed ten fresh craters both on the H20 road and on the surrounding fields. The SMM conducted a crater analysis and estimated that they had been caused by multiple launched rocket systems (MLRS BM-21 Grad) from a north-north-easterly direction. While at the same location, between 13:20 and 14:40hrs, the SMM heard 20 loud explosions of incoming rounds south-east of its position. The SMM estimates that the bombardment was caused by both 120mm mortars and 122mm artillery rounds.

Despite the increased tensions, the SMM facilitated dialogue between the involved stakeholders with a view to continuing the vital repair works (see SMM Daily Report 18 July 2015) on the water pipe lines between Horlivka (“DPR”-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk) and Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk). A localized ceasefire was secured from 12:23hrs onwards allowing workers from the Voda Donbassa utility to proceed with the repair works. A demining team from the “DPR” “emergency service” detected at 12:45hrs and cleared at 13:26hrs one anti-tank mine close to the Maiorsk check point. Daily repair works started at 14:00hrs and ended for the day at 16:30hrs.

The security situation remained calm in Mariupol city. Whilst at a location south of Nova Marivka (“DPR”-controlled, 46km north-east of Mariupol), however, the SMM heard between 12:44 and 13:00hrs, incoming fire 8km north-north-east of its position. The SMM assessed that it was caused by Grad MLRS. The SMM heard eight series of impacts and observed smoke rising from the same location.

The SMM again visited Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). Whilst inside the village, the SMM heard one rifle shot north-west of its position. The SMM noticed that, since its previous visit (see SMM Daily Report 21 July 2015), some properties had been cleaned of broken glass and debris and that plastic sheeting had been put on some windows.

The security situation in Luhansk region remained relatively calm with only two ceasefire violations observed. On 22 July, while stationed between the villages of government-controlled Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk) and Muratove (50km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard between 13:10 and 13:18hrs small-arms fire occurring at a location south-south-east of its position as well as three incoming artillery explosions, 3-5km south-south-east of its position.

In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (17km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM was informed by several interlocutors that houses had been damaged there on the night of 19 to 20 July. On Bukaieva Street, the SMM observed damages on two houses, caused by shrapnel in the first and by small arms in the second case (two broken windows).

On 21 July, SMM spotted two small impacts on the road about 50m from the SMM’s office in Luhansk city: one on the road adjacent to the SMM’s parking lot; another one three meters away from the first close to the edge of the road. An examination of security camera records showed that the impacts occurred at 03:19hrs on 21 July within 2 seconds of each other. The SMM estimated that the impacts and explosive residue were consistent with a grenade fired from an under-barrel launcher from an undetermined direction. The “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) “police” said they were investigating.

The SMM visited for the first time three “LPR” heavy weapon holding areas, whose location complied with the weapons’ respective withdrawal lines. At the first one, the SMM observed nine multipurpose light-armoured towing vehicles (MT-LB) of which four were equipped with surface-to-air missile complex Strela-10. At the second one, the SMM observed six MT-LBs. At the third one, described to the SMM as a facility storing 122mm self-propelled howitzers (2S1 “Gvozdika”), the SMM did not observe any heavy weaponry during the time of the visit. The SMM revisited two “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations comply with the Minsk withdrawal lines. At the first site the SMM observed that two multiple launched rocket systems (MLRS) (GradBM-21) were missing. At the second site, one out of the previously recorded six self-propelled howitzers (122mm 2S1 Gvozdika) was still missing (see SMM Daily Report 20 July 2015). The SMM also visited one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapon holding area whose location complied with the weapons’ respective withdrawal lines. The SMM observed 18 pieces of 152mm towed guns (2A36).

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. Near “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw a concentration of ten tanks (T-64). The SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) observed in government-controlled areas Mykolaivka (37km north-east of Mariupol) anti-aircraft gun fire and in Hranitne (49km north-east of Mariupol) two main battle tanks (MBT). In “DPR”-controlled areas the SMM UAV detected the following: one MBT in Bila Kamyanka (57km north-east of Mariupol), one MBT in Novolaspa (58km north-east of Mariupol), two artillery pieces in Zaichenko (26km north-east of Mariupol) and three artillery pieces in Oktiabr (30km north east of Mariupol). During their operations, the SMM UAVs were exposed to severe and intentional jamming of a military origin; due to that one aircraft crashed.

The SMM continued following up on the Mukacheve 11 July incident. On 21 July, the head doctor of the hospital in Uzhhorod (290km south-west of Ivano-Frankivsk) informed the SMM that, since the incident, they had admitted 11 injured persons (seven police officers, two civilians and two Right Sector members). On 22 July, also in Uzhhorod, the regional chief of police informed the SMM that the police units operating close to the scene of the incident would be removed as soon as the wanted individuals had been arrested.

Updating on the police reform in Kharkiv, director of the University of Internal Affairs there informed the SMM that 800 new police officers would be recruited. He informed that 200 candidates had just started their training and another 300 candidates had been selected.

The head of the regional police in Odessa told the SMM that a new patrol unit made up of 450 members would be formed. Currently 263 trainees were undergoing a 10-week course and another 166 candidates had been selected for training.

On July 21, in Kyiv city, between 19:00 and 21:00hrs, the SMM monitored 2000 Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) members and followers (both men and women, all age groups) rallying on the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in protest against the Government. The SMM observed Right Sector flags, Ukrainian national and regional flags. The SMM saw a vehicle with a government explosive ordnance disposal team and first aid vehicles. No police or other uniformed law enforcement personnel was visible. The leader of the Right Sector addressed the participants, announcing that the group would initiate a nation-wide referendum. He called for the armed conflict in Donbas to be recognized as a war. He further demanded that the Right Sector armed volunteer battalion be legalized. The rally ended peacefully.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Lviv, Kherson 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, particularly those controlled by the “LPR”, have ordinarily been placed off limits to the SMM.  The SMM UAVs cannot operate in Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.

Denied access:

  • The SMM was denied access at four different checkpoints operated by “DPR” armed individuals: at a checkpoint in Bezimenne (30 km East of Mariupol); at a checkpoint in Nova Marivka (46km north-east of Mariupol); at a checkpoint in Hryhorivka (44km north-east of Mariupol); at a checkpoint north of Lukove (41 km north-east of Mariupol).

Interference with the UAV:

  • On 22 July, between 08:00 and 08:50hrs, the SMM UAV experienced severe jamming, which began over government-controlled Chermalyk (33km north-east of Mariupol) and lasted 50 minutes. During the most severe jamming the aircraft lost navigational signal.
  • On 22 July, while flying south of “DPR”-controlled Sontseve (58km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM UAV began to be affected by jamming of its GPS. The decision was taken to abort the mission and return it to base. During the return, the jamming became more severe; due to that, the UAV crashed.

​For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.



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