The SMM, from their position at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre) and from an area nearby, observed a marked decrease in fighting over recent days with only one explosion observed in the area around Donetsk airport on 29 August and six on 30 August.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces Major-General, head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC told the SMM that the number of ceasefire violations had significantly decreased.
In government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces at the JCCC sub-office told the SMM on 30 August that there had been no ceasefire violations in the area over the last three days. On 30 August in government-controlled Dzerzhynsk (40km north of Donetsk) the SMM was informed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces representative at the JCCC sub-office that the ceasefire had largely held over the last three days.
On 28 August in government-controlled Avdiivka (15km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM saw two craters and an impact to a wall of a residential building. In the SMM’s assessment, the impact to the wall was caused by ordnance (type unknown) fired from the south. Two apartments had been heavily damaged, with holes in roofs and blown out windows observed by the SMM. No injuries were reported.
In “DPR”-controlled Telmanove (50km northeast of Mariupol) the SMM saw evidence of shelling - a destroyed house, damaged outbuildings and damage to a gas pipeline - said by JCCC representatives to have occurred on 27 August. The SMM found weapon fragments from what it assessed was a 122mm artillery shell.
On both sides of the contact line in Donetsk region, the SMM observed schools being repaired in preparation for the start of the school year in many towns, including in “DPR”-controlled Vuhlehirsk (47km north-east of Donetsk) and Horlivka (37km north-east of Donetsk), and in the government-controlled towns of Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk) and Krasnohorivka (21km west of Donetsk). In these towns the SMM observed (and were told by interlocutors) that although schools should be operational for the start of the school year, nine schools in the aforementioned towns, and in other locations, will not be ready.
Although the security situation remained tense in Luhansk, the SMM recorded only one ceasefire violation over 29-30 August.
The SMM saw a destroyed electricity station in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk), which a female resident in the town (and “LPR” members at a checkpoint on the outskirts) said had been damaged by shelling that had taken place on 27 August. According to the resident, the damage cut power and water supply - electricity is needed to supply wells - for Raivka and local villages. The station, previously shelled, had been repaired when the SMM monitored a local ceasefire, facilitated by the JCCC, to enable repair works (see SMM Daily Report, 18 July).
In “LPR”-controlled Pryshyb (33km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM saw six shell impacts close to a house. The SMM conducted analysis on craters which were assessed to have been caused by 82mm mortar fired from a northerly direction. Six residents (four women in their fifties and two men, aged 30 and 60 years old respectively) said the shelling had taken place the previous night and had caused no casualties or damage.
On the “LPR”-controlled side of the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw approximately 15 civilians waiting to cross into government-controlled areas. Between 10:50 and 11:33hrs the SMM counted 28 people (mostly women, including 11 children) crossing from the government to the non-government controlled side. Some people, on the “LPR” side, told the SMM they had been waiting for two and three days at the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint to cross into “LPR”-controlled areas.
Following reports of pontoons being built across the Siverskyi Donets river, the SMM observed all access points to the river along the Ukraine-Russian Federation international border in the area between “LPR”-controlled Kruzhilivka (28km east of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Parkhomenko (20km east of Luhansk). During the SMM’s last visit to the area (see SMM Daily Report, 28 August) the SMM saw no pontoons, bridges or works. The SMM observed no changes compared with the previous visit.
At an “LPR” training area near Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed eight self-propelled artillery weapons (type 2-S1, 122mm calibre) being used in live-fire exercises on 29 and 30 August, and 26 main battle tanks (MBTs) (T-64). An elderly woman approached the SMM and said she was tired of the exercises. On 30 August, in “LPR”-controlled Myrne (28km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed 22 stationery MBTs (T-64), in what the SMM assessed was a training area.
In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), a woman and a young girl told the SMM that as the local school had been destroyed by shelling, children would be split up and taught at different locations in the town. According to the interlocutors, 40 children would attend school.
The SMM revisited two Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. At one holding area, seven 100mm calibre anti-tank gun systems (2A29, MT-12 Rapira) were missing. At a second holding area, three 100mm calibre anti-tank gun systems (2A29, MT-12 Rapira) were missing.
The SMM revisited two “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. At one area, the SMM were told by a “DPR” member that all weapons had been removed. The SMM was prevented access*, but could see that the six self-propelled howitzers and two 100mm calibre anti-tank gun (MT-12 Rapira) previously observed at the holding area were missing. At a second holding area, all six 100mm calibre anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira) were missing, the site abandoned.
The SMM observed the following weapons’ movements in areas that are in violation of respective withdrawal lines. In “DPR”-controlled areas, the SMM saw a 122mm calibre howitzer in a field. In a government-controlled area the SMM saw two MBTs (T-72).
The SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) continued to observe heavy weapons in areas in violation of respective withdrawal lines. On 29 August, in government-controlled areas, the SMM UAV saw five MBTs across three locations and on 30 August, also in a government-controlled area, an SMM UAV spotted 2 towed artillery weapons. On 29 August, in “DPR”-controlled areas, an SMM UAV saw one surface-to-air missile system near Sontseve (59km north-east of Mariupol), five 122mm self-propelled howitzers (2-S1 Gvozdika) near Rozdolne (47km south-east of Donetsk) and seven MBTs in three different areas. On 30 August, an SMM UAV observed the following: in “DPR”-controlled areas, one R-330ZH Zhytel mobile jamming station near Telmanove (48km north-east of Mariupol) and five 122mm self-propelled howitzers (2-S1 Gvozdika) near Vasylivka (64km north-east of Mariupol). On 29 and 30 August, the SMM UAV’s video and global positioning system (GPS) were jammed in the vicinity of “DPR”-controlled Novolaspa (61km north-east of Mariupol), Bila Kamyanka (55km north-east of Mariupol), Starolaspa (52km south-east of Donetsk) and near government-controlled Vodiane (24km north-east of Mariupol).
The Kherson Chief Prosecutor told the SMM that regional public prosecutors have instructed district prosecutors to request prison sentences for people convicted of avoiding mobilisation into the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Chief Prosecutor said that most cases, if they were not dismissed by the court, resulted in offenders being given one or two years’ probation with no prison term.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, and Kyiv.
*Restrictions on SMM monitoring, access and freedom of movement:
The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by the 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.
- “LPR” members prevented the SMM from travelling towards the border in an area 6km west of “LPR”-controlled Izvaryne (63km south-east of Luhansk), claiming the SMM did not have authorization. “LPR” members escorted the SMM out of the area.
- The SMM was denied access to a weapons training area in “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk) by a “DPR” member present on site, who said that the SMM should request access from senior “DPR” members.
- At the entrance to “DPR”-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-west of Donetsk) the SMM was asked to provide passports and patrol plans. The SMM was asked to wait for a “DPR” “commander”. After waiting for 50 minutes, the SMM was informed by the “DPR” that the “commander” would not be coming. The SMM then left the area.
- The SMM was prevented access to a “DPR” heavy weapons holding area.
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.