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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 23 July 2015

Author: Ayre от 24.07.2015, 22:30
(голосов: 1)

The level of ceasefire violations at and around the remains of “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), between 09:00 and 11:20hrs, the SMM heard eight explosions at locations ranging from 3 to 5km from the south-west to the north-west of the SMM’s position. The SMM also heard multiple bursts of small arms and light weapons fire.[1]  

From its location in the “DPR”-controlled city centre at approximately 7:45hrs, the SMM observed about 300 people, mainly women and children, walking past the parking lot and gathering in front of the SMM’s location. The SMM also observed a large civilian bus and two vehicles blocking the parking lot, thus preventing OSCE vehicles from leaving the area. About six men in civilian clothing were standing in front of an OSCE vehicle and preventing it from leaving the parking lot. The SMM called “DPR” “police” for assistance at approximately 8:30hrs - after the crowd had grown and become more vocal. About two dozen  “DPR” armed men and as many as eight “DPR” “police” members - standing in groups of two or three - moving around the SMM’s location, were observed. “DPR” members did not prevent the crowd from gathering, nor did they deal with the blocked parking lot entrances. The “DPR” “deputy minister of defence” stayed at the gathering for five minutes, but did not address the crowd. Some of the protesters entered the hotel lobby, shouting. The SMM met with 11 representatives of the protesters, led by Donetsk “mayor”, and explained the SMM’s mandate. Signs with messages directed towards the SMM and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were displayed by the crowd in front of the location. The signs showed closed eyes and/or had slogans such as “Peace to Donbas” or “Time to open your eyes” in Russian and “Open your eyes!” in English. The SMM saw people spray-paint 30 SMM and 11 ICRC vehicles. The graffiti on OSCE vehicles also included painted eyes, slogans such as “Peace Donetsk”. The crowd dispersed at approximately 11:30hrs.

In the Luhansk region, the SMM did not observe any ceasefire violations.

The SMM visited the last “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled checkpoint before the government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) bridge. The SMM spoke with the “LPR” “commander”, who said the “LPR” checkpoint had been shelled with 82mm calibre mortars three times around 12:30hrs that day, prior to the SMM’s arrival. The SMM saw one armed “LPR” member wearing a bandage, with small shrapnel wounds bleeding on his back. In addition, the SMM saw one unexploded mortar and what “LPR” members identified as three impact craters.

The SMM visited for the first time one “LPR” heavy weapon holding area. At the location, the SMM saw seven main battle tanks (MBT) (T-64), one MBT (T-72), three armoured personal carriers (BTR-8) and eight military-type transport trucks. The location visited by the SMM complies with the respective withdrawal lines. The SMM revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapon holding area which was in compliance with respective withdrawal lines. The SMM observed that ten self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and two self-propelled guns (2S3 Akatsyia, 152mm) previously recorded were missing.  

In a Ukrainian Armed Forces  training field located in a government-controlled area 32km from the line of contact, the SMM observed from a distance 14 towed howitzers (S21, Gvozdivka, 122mm), and five mortars (2S12, SANI 120mm). Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said that due to security reasons the SMM could not take the serial numbers of the weapons*.

The SMM continued to observe heavy weapons in areas proscribed by the Minsk arrangements. In areas controlled by “LPR”, the SMM saw at one place four self-propelled howitzers. In government-controlled areas the SMM observed at one place one anti-tank gun (MT-12, Rapira 100mm). In addition, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted a total of 11 MBTs and 21 armoured personnel carriers (APC) near “DPR”-controlled Sontseve (59km north-east of Mariupol) and Krasnyi Oktiabr (55km north-east of Mariupol). In government-controlled Bila Kamianka (51km north-east of Mariupol), near “DPR”-controlled Novolaspa (49km south of Donetsk), the UAV spotted three MBTs and four APCs. Near government-controlled Hranitne (63 km south of Donetsk), the UAV spotted one MBT.

In Chernihiv (140km north-east of Kyiv), the SMM met separately with the chief of the regional police, an advisor from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and representatives of the district election commission. All interlocutors indicated security concerns in regard to upcoming parliamentary by-elections on 26 July. While in Chernihiv, the SMM also observed that some 250 people, mainly elderly people (majority women), had gathered on the street and blocked two roads in support of the UKROP party candidate. Six police officers were present in the vicinity. The protestors disbursed peacefully within one hour.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Dnepropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Kharkiv, Kherson, Lviv 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, 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 to a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapon holding area, where it saw from a far distance several anti-tank guns (Rapira 100mm). The Ukrainian Armed Forces cited the absence of his commander as the reason for the access denial.
  • In a Ukrainian Armed Forces training field, 32km from the contact line, where the SMM saw from a distance 14 towed howitzers (S21, Gvozdivka, 122mm), and five mortars (2S12, SANI 120mm). The SMM was told by the Ukrainian Armed Forces that it could not take serial number of the weapons due to security reasons.

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.

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

 

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