Latest Report From OSCE Special Monitoring Mission To Ukraine

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 10 March 2017

OSCE SMM monitoring the movement of heavy weaponry in eastern Ukraine (16544235410)

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. In Pikuzy two 82mm mortar rounds impacted near the SMM. It observed damage from shelling in Sartana, Luhanske and Borivske. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas in Stanytsia Luhanska, Petrivske and Zolote but its access remained restricted.*

The SMM saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The sides prevented the Mission from monitoring the withdrawal of weapons on four occasions. The Mission continued to monitor the blockade of routes crossing the contact line at three locations. The SMM visited two border areas currently not under government control in Marynivka and Novoborovytsi. In Odessa the SMM followed up on reports of vandalism against a bank.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including about 1,260 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (680 explosions). Over three quarters of the explosions were recorded during the night of 9-10 March in areas west and north-west of Donetsk city.

On the night of 9-10 March, while in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre the SMM heard 379 undetermined explosions 3-5km west and 69 undetermined explosions 6-10km north-west.

During the day of 10 March, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded 46 undetermined explosions and one airburst, mostly 2-5km south-east of the camera location. Positioned in Avdiivka for about four and a half hours, the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions 2-4km east and 90 undetermined explosions 1-10km south-east. Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five hours the SMM heard 112 undetermined explosions 3-5km at directions ranging from south-west to south-east. Positioned in government-controlled Kamianka (20km north of Donetsk) for two and a half hours the SMM heard 19 undetermined explosions 5km south-west and 68 undetermined explosions 1km south.

On the evening of 9 March, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 52 undetermined explosions 8-12km south-west and 23 undetermined explosions 9-11km north-north-west.

On the evening of 9 March, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard 17 undetermined explosions, 120 bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, and 50 shots of anti-aircraft-gun (ZU-23) fire 2-4km at directions ranging from south-south-east to south-west. After midnight of 9-10 March, while in the same location, the SMM heard eight explosions assessed as the impacts of 82mm mortar rounds 4km south and south-west. On the afternoon of 10 March, while in Svitlodarsk the SMM heard 37 explosions assessed as impacts of mortar rounds (22 as impacts of 82mm rounds, 15 of mortars of unknown calibre), ten explosions assessed as outgoing rounds from a 73mm infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) cannon, and three undetermined explosions, all 3-5km south-east and south-south-east.

During the evening of 9 March the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded a total of seven undetermined explosions, 12 projectiles (eight in flight from east to west, three from west to east, and one from south-west to north-east), 80 tracer rounds (56 in flight from east to west, 23 from west to east and one from south-west-west to north-north-east), all beginning with four tracer rounds in flight from east to west and one undetermined explosion, all at unknown distances north and north-east. On the evening of 10 March, the same camera recorded nine explosions assessed as the impacts from unidentified weapons and one airburst 3-10km north, followed by 24 airbursts and seven undetermined explosions at unknown distances north.

Positioned in government-controlled Lebedynske (16km north-east of Mariupol) the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as outgoing artillery rounds of unknown calibre at unknown distances east-north-east, and subsequently explosions assessed as their impacts at unknown distances north-east. Positioned at the same location, the SMM heard 135 explosions: nine explosions assessed as outgoing rounds from unidentified weapons at unknown distance east-north-east, seven explosions assessed as the impacts of rounds from unidentified weapons 1km east, and 119 undetermined explosions at unknown distance north-north-east, north-east and east-north-east.

Positioned on the western edge of “DPR”-controlled Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove, 23km north-east of Mariupol) while monitoring adherence to the ceasefire during repairs to gas pipelines, the SMM heard and felt the shockwaves of two explosions and saw the impacts of 82mm mortar rounds 30m north (See SMM Spot Report 11 March 2017). The SMM immediately left the area.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 420 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (30 explosions). Most explosions were recorded on the early morning of 10 March in the western parts of the region.

On the early morning of 10 March, while in government-controlled Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard over 340 undetermined explosions 25km south-south-east and 38 undetermined explosions 20km east-south-east.

During the day of 10 March, positioned 6km east of government-controlled Voronove (66km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard six undetermined explosions assessed as caused by 152mm artillery rounds 7-10km south. Positioned 3km south-west of government-controlled Krymske (42km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five explosions assessed as the impacts of 82mm mortar rounds 2-3km south-west, and two undetermined explosions 5-6km south-west. Positioned in government-controlled Smolianynove (61km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard five explosions assessed as the impacts of artillery rounds of unknown calibre 15km south. Positioned in government-controlled Peredilske (24km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard three explosions assessed as the impacts of artillery rounds of unknown calibre 10-15km west. Positioned on the western outskirts of government-controlled Lobacheve (17km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw and heard one explosion assessed as the impact of an 82mm mortar round 1.5km south-west, that is on the southern bank of the Siverskyi Donets river.

The SMM followed up on reports of damage caused by shelling. On the north-western edge of government-controlled Sartana (15km northeast of Mariupol) the SMM observed six fresh craters in an open field 2km north-north-east of a Ukrainian Armed Forces compound, and assessed them as having been caused by multiple-launch rocket system (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) rounds fired from a south-south-easterly direction.

In “DPR”-controlled Luhanske (15km south-west of Donetsk) the SMM, accompanied by a Russian officer of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) and a “DPR” member, observed 15 impact sites. On 7/1 and 7/2 Sadova Street, the SMM saw a fresh crater in the yard of a house, and assessed it as having been caused by a 152mm artillery round. The SMM observed the destroyed roof and wall of its kitchen outbuilding, and broken roofing tiles and rubble in the yard. On 41 Ushakov Street the SMM saw two fresh craters 10-15m from two inhabited houses. The SMM observed a greenhouse located 5m from one of the craters that had been completely destroyed and broken windows of both houses. On 26 Klubana Street the SMM saw about 30 small holes on the ground caused by shrapnel and shredded branches from a tree in the yard of a house. The SMM assessed that an airburst of an artillery round (with calibre higher than 122mm) had occurred at the spot. On the same street the SMM saw shrapnel damage to the west-facing façade of another house (two broken west-facing windows). The SMM assessed the damage as having been caused by an airburst. On 2/1 Sosnova Street the SMM observed three craters in and around a house – two in its yard, and the third 30m south-west from the house. The SMM observed shrapnel damage to the west-facing windows, wall and roof of the house and its two outbuildings, and two broken north-facing windows. The SMM also saw a crater on the roadside of the same street, shattered branches of a tree nearby, and shrapnel damage to the façade of a house nearby. On the same street the SMM observed a crater 5m from a barn, four craters in a field nearby, and one crater in the garden of a house at 3/1 Sosnova Street. Several residents separately told the SMM that five of the afore-mentioned impacts had been caused by shelling that had occurred on the early morning of 10 March, and ten of those by shelling on the night of 5 March.

On the north-eastern outskirts of government-controlled Borivske (65km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM, led by Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel, observed two fresh craters in a wooded area, and assessed them as having been caused by 152mm artillery rounds. The SMM also saw that an electrical cable; located 2-3m from one of the craters, was dangling down from the pylon and assessed that it had been damaged by shrapnel.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas of Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

Positioned in Petrivske the SMM heard one shot of small-arms fire 1-3km west-north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

On the night of 8 March the SMM camera in the Zolote disengagement area recorded one undetermined projectile in flight from south to north 2-3km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures, its Addendum, and the Memorandum.[2]

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, in areas not controlled by the Government, the SMM saw: three self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) in a firing position with their barrels oriented west near Khreshchatytske (formerly Krasnoarmiiske, 33km north-east of Mariupol); and four stationary tanks (T-64) near Veselohorivka (64km west of Luhansk).

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines in government-controlled areas the SMM saw: one anti-tank guided missile system (9M113 Konkurs, 135mm) near Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk); six towed howitzers (D-30, 122mm) in Bohoiavlenka (46km south-west of Donetsk); and 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) in Zelene Pole (40km north-west of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites the SMM saw 30-40 stationary tanks (type not identified) inside an agricultural compound and another tank (type not identified) in a training area in “DPR”-controlled Ternove (57km east of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed five tanks (T-64) near Zelene Pole.

The SMM observed weapons that could not be verified as withdrawn, as their storage did not comply with the criteria set out in the 16 October 2015 notification. In government-controlled areas beyond respective withdrawal lines the SMM saw: 12 self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), two of them for the first time; ten towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 155mm); 61 tanks (T-64), 31 of them for the first time; five mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm); and two surface-to-air missile systems (9K33 Osa, 210mm). The SMM noted as missing: 20 self-propelled howitzers (2S1), one of which was observed as missing for the first time; seven towed howitzers (2A36), one of which was observed as missing for the first time; six tanks (T-64); 26 mortars (13 2B11, five PM-38 120mm, two 2B9 Vasilek, 82mm, six PM-42, 120mm) and six mortars (PM-120), which were observed missing for the first time.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[3] in the security zone. In areas currently not under the control of the government the SMM saw: one armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MTLB) near Khreshchatytske; one stationary IFV (BMP) in “LPR”-controlled areas south of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (outside the disengagement area); one stationary APC (MTLB) near Lobacheve (13km east of Luhansk); and two stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near Lyman (12km north-west of Luhansk); three stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near Tsvitni Pisky (11km north of Luhansk).

In areas controlled by the government the SMM saw: 11 stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk) on 9 March; one stationary IFV (BMP-1) parked in the yard of a civilian house in Stanytsia Luhanska (outside the disengagement area); and one IFV (BMP-2) heading west near Krymske.

Aerial imagery revealed the presence of 18 armoured vehicles on 9 March, in “DPR”-controlled Svobodne (73km south of Donetsk), in a zone within which deployment of heavy armaments and military equipment is proscribed according to Point 5 of the Memorandum of 19 September 2014.

In government-controlled Zolote the SMM observed one set of eight anti-tank mines (TM-62M) on the sides of a road and another set of four anti-tank mines (TM-62M) on the sides of another road. No mine hazard signs were observed nearby.

In government-controlled Zolote the SMM, in co-ordination with the JCCC, monitored and facilitated demining activity. A Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that demining works had been completed and that four pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) (rounds of RPG-7) had been successfully removed.

The SMM continued to monitor the blockade of railway routes that lead across the contact line. At railway crossings near the government-controlled towns of Hirske (63km west of Luhansk), Shcherbynivka (44km north of Donetsk) and Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk), the SMM continued to observe activists present at the blockade sites. An employee of the Debaltseve railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that since the blockage had started, the volume of freight transportation through that station had decreased by 50 per cent.

The SMM monitored two border areas currently outside government control. At the Marynivka border crossing point (78km east of Donetsk) the SMM* saw 25 civilian cars (at least one with “DPR” and one with “LPR” plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine, in under half an hour. The SMM spoke to seven people (four men and three women, all middle-aged) separately, all of which said that they mostly crossed to visit family and friends. At the Novoborovytsi pedestrian border crossing point (79km south of Luhansk), the SMM noted that it was unstaffed as observed on numerous occasions. There, in over an hour, the SMM saw two middle-aged women exit and one elderly woman enter Ukraine.

On 9 March the SMM followed up on media reports of vandalism against a bank in Odessa city that had allegedly occurred on 7 March. The SMM saw a poster placed on a column in front of the bank with negative messages related to the bank and residue from red paint that had apparently been thrown on the walls and pavement in front of the building. The SMM also saw a maintenance worker cleaning spray paint from the exterior wall.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv.

 

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and other impediments, which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance.

 

Denial of access:

  • At the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, a Ukrainian officer of the JCCC told the SMM that its safety could not be guaranteed in the areas surrounding the main road due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • The possible presence of mines and UXO prevented the SMM from travelling further south-east into the Zolote disengagement area from government-controlled Katerynivka (64km west of Luhansk).
  • At an “LPR” checkpoint at the edge of the Zolote disengagement area, armed men told the SMM that its safety could not be guaranteed in the fields and side roads due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM could not travel south of the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) as Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel stopped the SMM on the road from Katerynivka to government-controlled Popasna and told the Mission that it could not proceed without authorization from senior Ukrainian Armed Forces officers. On the road ahead the SMM observed anti-tank barriers (“Czech hedgehogs”) and mine warning signs. The Mission informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM was unable to travel west from “DPR”-controlled Petrivske due to a lack of security guarantees and the possible presence of mines and UXO. The Mission informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM was unable to travel east from government-controlled Bohdanivka (41km south-west of Donetsk) due to the possible presence of mines. The Mission informed the JCCC.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel denied the SMM access to a compound in government-controlled Sartana (15km north-east of Mariupol). The Mission informed the JCCC.
  • Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel denied the SMM access to a compound in government-controlled Bobrove (56km north-west of Luhansk). The Mission informed the JCCC.
  • Three armed men denied the SMM access to a compound near “DPR”-controlled Markyne (49km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM observed relatively fresh tracks of heavy vehicles going out of the compound. The Mission informed the JCCC.
  • Two “DPR” members, one of them armed with an assault rifle (AK-47), demanded that the SMM move back about 100m from the entrance of the Marynivka border crossing point. The SMM informed the JCCC.
  • Three armed men stopped the SMM in an aggressive manner 4.5km east of Veselohorivka as the SMM was approaching four tanks (see section on weapons in violation of withdrawal lines above). The Mission informed the JCCC.

Conditional access:

  • The SMM was again allowed to pass through a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk) (see SMM Daily Report 2 March 2017) only after an unarmed man had searched the SMM vehicles. The Mission informed the JCCC.

[1] Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report.* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”.

[2] Despite the joint statement of 1 February by the Trilateral Contact Group and the consent reached on 15 February, the sides have not yet provided the baseline information requested by the SMM related to weapons to be withdrawn and locations of units and formations.

[3] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/node/304741

[Source: OSCE-Media Relations]

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