The SMM observed a calm situation in Donetsk region. At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at “DPR”-controlled Donetsk railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard what it assessed was a controlled explosion.
The “DPR” announced at a press conference and on “DPR” websites that, from 1 September, the Russian rouble had become the “sole accounting currency” in “DPR”-controlled areas. The “finance minister” said the “DPR” was shifting to the floating rouble exchange rate – which is closer to three-to-one to the Ukrainian Hryvnia than the current two-to-one rate on offer at exchange bureaus in “DPR”-controlled areas.
The SMM observed that 18 of 20 checkouts at a grocery store in Donetsk city were accepting roubles only. Several female shop assistants and a male shop owner (in their thirties, forties and sixties) and two male bus drivers (40 and 60 years old) informed the SMM that prices remained the same. The shop assistants also told the SMM that people were worried and wondering if their pensions and wages would be raised accordingly.
The SMM visited the humanitarian and logistic centre near government-controlled Zaitseve (50km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM observed a newly-constructed underground shelter for 40 people, 20m from the centre. The centre includes a military security station, a police station, and a customs/fiscal station. The prices at the market are comparable to or lower than those in government-controlled Artemivsk (67km north of Donetsk) and Kramatorsk (80km north of Donetsk) and are much cheaper than in non-government-controlled areas. Customers that the SMM spoke to come from government and non-government-controlled (Antratsyt, Horlivka and Makiivka) areas.
In Luhansk, the SMM recorded no ceasefire violations.
In government-controlled Bolotene (21km east of Luhansk), two women and two men (aged 60) told the SMM that the whole area around the village was mined and full of booby-traps, therefore the villagers could not collect firewood and were concerned about the upcoming winter. Also in Bolotene, the SMM met the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander who said the situation was calm in the area since 1 September.
A female 40-year-old teacher at a school in government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk) said the roof and windows of the school were repaired after heavy shelling, but not the heating system and water pipes. All repairs were funded by parents of pupils, she said. In government-controlled Popasna (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM met the director and deputy director (male and female aged 60) of School #1. They stated that the windows and heating system were repaired after shelling but the roof still requires repairs. The interlocutors said both schools have basements for shelter.
The head of the primary and secondary school in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Zhovte (17km north-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that a total of 85 children were enrolled compared to 130 in 2014. The “LPR” “ministry of education” delivered textbooks for pupils of grades 1, 2, 10 and 11. The head said as per a decision of the school council in 2015, all subjects were now taught in Russian, and Ukrainian lessons were reduced from five to four hours per week. According to the head, all pupils received mine awareness and safety briefings from a trained teacher. The head of the school in “LPR”-controlled Metalist (6km north of Luhansk) told the SMM that the school council adopted a new curriculum this year and now all subjects are taught in Russian. According to the interlocutor 120 pupils attend the school compared to 220 in 2014 and all pupils received mine awareness and safety briefings.
At an “LPR” training area in "LPR"-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM counted seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 "Gvozdika" 122mm) compared to four tanks and four self-propelled howitzers on 1 September. The SMM revisited an “LPR” training area in "LPR"-controlled Myrne (28km south-west from Luhansk) and again did not see five main battle tanks (T-64) normally present (absent since 23 August).
The SMM revisited nine Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines. In the first area all previously recorded weapons were present. At a second area, the SMM observed one anti-tank gun (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) missing. At a third area, the SMM observed that two self-propelled artillery guns (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) and a self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) were missing. At a fourth area, the SMM observed three anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) were missing and six others had different serial numbers from what the SMM had previously recorded. At a fifth area, the SMM observed one anti-tank gun (MT-12 Rapira, 100 mm) was missing. The SMM found a sixth area abandoned. At the seventh area, the SMM was allowed to record the serial numbers of every weapon for the first time. At the eighth area the SMM was denied access. At the ninth area the SMM was told by the Ukrainian Armed Forces commander that the collection point had moved and he would not provide the SMM with any further information
The SMM revisited three “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas whose locations corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines but all previously recorded weapons were present at only one area. At a second area, the SMM was denied access and the SMM found a third area abandoned.
The SMM observed weapons’ movements in areas that are in violation of respective withdrawal lines. The SMM saw a BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle with a 30mm cannon and an anti-tank guided missile system (AT-4 "Fagot” 135mm) loaded on top of a BMP-2 on the T103 road approximately 500m east of government-controlled Novotoshkivske (53km north-west of Luhansk).
On 2 September, the SMM met with the deputy head of the district administration in Pavlohrad (61km east of Dnepropetrovsk) who stated that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had stopped and seized two trucks with over a million pieces of ammunition (5.45 and 7.62 rounds) from a local factory in the area. This was confirmed to the SMM by the chief of police in Pavlohrad.
On 2 September, the SMM visited Brody (103km east of Lviv) where the deputy mayor informed the SMM that 14 servicemen from Brody had died in the conflict zone. He said that there were no more land plots available for Anti-Terrorism Operation servicemen as the 12 available plots were had been allocated to the families of fallen servicemen.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kharkiv, Kherson, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Kyiv.
*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate:
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. Members of the “LPR” continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring most areas close to the border with the Russian Federation.
- At a Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapons holding area, Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel denied access to the SMM.
- At a “DPR” checkpoint 2.3km east of government-controlled Staromarivka (46km north-north-east of Mariupol), an armed “DPR”-member denied the SMM passage citing insecurity in the area.
- At a “DPR” checkpoint 1.4km east of Hryhorivka (“DPR”-controlled, 44km north-east of Mariupol) an armed “DPR” member refused the SMM passage, citing insecurity and fighting in the area.
- At “DPR” Checkpoint Shyrokyi (10km south of Donetsk city centre) a “DPR” member affiliated with the “DPR” “ministry of interior” stopped the SMM and delayed them for 30 minutes.
- At a “DPR” checkpoint near highway H15 (“DPR”-controlled, 12km south-west of Donetsk) a “DPR” member stopped and delayed the SMM without explanation for 30 minutes.
- At a “DPR” controlled checkpoint in Bezimenne, (30km east of Mariupol). a “DPR” member delayed the SMM for 22 minutes.
- At the checkpoint 1km west of “LPR”-controlled Stakhanov (50km west of Luhansk) “LPR” armed members stopped the SMM and escorted them by vehicle to “LPR” controlled Kalynove (58km west of Luhansk) and back to the checkpoint in Stakhanov.
- At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint the SMM in Hranitne (government-controlled, 47km north-north-east of Mariupol), checkpoint personnel stopped the SMM and insisted that Ukrainian Armed Forces escort the SMM .
* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate”.