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Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 18 October 2018

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The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission followed up on a civilian car carrying a family that was struck by a ricocheted bullet at the entry-exit checkpoint in Marinka. The Mission recorded ceasefire violations near the Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske disengagement areas and observed military presence in the Zolote disengagement area. The Mission’s access remained restricted in all three disengagement areas as well as near Verkhnoshyrokivske and Kovske.* The SMM observed weapons in violation of agreed withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. The Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station; it also facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The SMM observed public gatherings marking the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day in Kyiv, Sievierodonetsk, Mariupol, Lviv and Chernivtsi.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations,[1] including about 200 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 260 explosions).

On the evening and night of 17-18 October, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk) recorded about 13 undetermined explosions, about 45 projectiles in flight (mostly from west to east) and 24 muzzle flashes, all 1-4km at southerly directions.

On the evening and night of 17-18 October, the SMM camera 1.5km north-east of Hnutove (government-controlled, 20km north-east of Mariupol) recorded seven undetermined explosions, about 330 projectiles in flight (most from northerly to southerly directions) and six muzzle flashes, all 2-4 east-north-east, east and east-south-east. The following day, the same camera recorded about eight undetermined explosions, 30 projectiles in flight (all from southerly to northerly directions) and a muzzle flash, all 3-4km east-south-east.

On the evening and night of 17-18 October, while in Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard four undetermined explosions about 20 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 3-4km south-south-east and south-west. On 18 October, from the same location, the SMM heard 34 undetermined explosions and 135 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 3-4km at south-east and south-west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations and no explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (seven explosions).

Positioned in Holubivske (non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 14 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and ten shots of small-arms fire, all 5-7km north-east.

The SMM saw damage to a civilian car carrying a family of a man, woman and two children at the entry-exit checkpoint in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk). In the line for traffic traveling east, the SMM saw a white Skoda Octavia with an 8mm hole in the upper left corner of the rear windshield. About 1.5-2m east of the car, the SMM observed a tall metal support pole that serves as part of an open shelter structure at the checkpoint. About 3.5m high the SMM saw a scratch on the pole about 8mm in diameter, which it assessed was caused by small-arms round (7.62mm) hitting the pole. The SMM assessed that the hole in the rear windshield was caused by a small-arms round (7.62mm), fired from a north-easterly direction in a downward trajectory, which had ricocheted off the nearby metal pole and penetrated the rear windshield. The Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint commander said that the car had been struck by a bullet about two minutes prior and that he had immediately notified the SMM for observation. The Ukrainian Armed Forces commander told the SMM that the driver (male, late twenties) of the vehicle had been standing outside the car with a State Border Guard Service official who was inspecting the car at the time of the incident and that the woman (late twenties) and two children (boys, 18 months and seven years old) had all been in the back seat. The SMM saw the family standing nearby and observed that they appeared to be in shock and none of them could speak.

The SMM continued to monitor and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske, as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted, but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

During the night of 18 October, the SMM camera positioned at the Prince Ihor Monument south-east of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk) recorded two projectiles in flight from west to east 2-4km north (assessed as outside the disengagement area) and ten projectiles in flight from north-east to south-west 3-5km north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

Positioned on the northern edge of the Zolote disengagement area, on 17 October, the SMM saw two Ukrainian military personnel walk south into a field on the northern edge of the disengagement area. On 18 October, the SMM saw a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer carrying a chainsaw exit the disengagement area on the north-eastern edge near Katerynivka (government-controlled, 64km west of Luhansk) and a black Volkswagen sedan with two Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel inside drive into the disengagement area from Katerynivka and travel west. The same day, the SMM observed an IFV (BMP-1) on the northern edge of the Zolote disengagement area.

Positioned about 2km north of Petrivske, the SMM heard three undetermined explosions 2-3km south-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area) and four bursts of small-arms fire 1-2km south-west (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area).

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

In violation of withdrawal lines in a government-controlled area, on two separate occasions, the SMM observed four self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) in the same area being transported on trucks on road T-1306 2-3km east of Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk).

In violation of withdrawal lines in a non-government-controlled area, on 17 October, an SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted 15 tanks (T-72) in a known training area near Boikivske (formerly Telmanove, 67km south-east of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites in government-controlled areas, on 17 October, an SMM mini-UAV spotted seven tanks (T-64), six anti-tank-guided missile systems (9P148 Konkurs, 135mm) and six anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) in a railyard in Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk). On 18 October, the SMM observed four multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) near Rivnopil (65km south-west of Donetsk), eight MLRS (BM-21) near Peredove (68km south-west of Donetsk), six trucks each loaded with a tank (T-72) on the north-western outskirts of Sievierodonetsk and 13 self-propelled howitzers (2S3) and four towed howitzers (type undetermined) at a railway station in Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun[3] and other indications of military presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, on 17 October, an SMM long-range UAV spotted two infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1) near Hnutove (90km south of Donetsk) and an IFV (BMP-1) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol). On 18 October, the SMM observed an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (BTR-4) near Sukha Balka (36km north of Donetsk), five IFVs (BMP-2) on the northern outskirts of Hnutove (20km north-east of Mariupol), three IFVs (BMP-2) north-west of Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol) and an IFV (BMP-1) in Zolote-4/Rodina (60km west of Luhansk).

On 17 October, an SMM long-range UAV spotted at least 25 fresh craters, assessed as caused by (82mm) mortar rounds, in a residential area of Vodiane (government-controlled, 94km south of Donetsk) (some of the impacts were 200m away from the closest house).

On 17 October, about 4km south of Naberezhne (non-government-controlled, 77km south of Donetsk) and 100m north-west of military-type positions, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted four fresh craters, assessed as caused by mortar rounds. The SMM could not assess the direction of fire.

On 18 October, the SMM observed two members of the armed formations reinforcing a trench north of a road about 1km west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government-controlled, 29km north-east of Mariupol). The SMM was restricted three times in this area.*

The SMM continued to observe mines for the first time. On 17 October, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted at least newly laid six anti-tank mines (TM-62) laid across a road on the north-eastern outskirts of Horlivka (non-government-controlled, 39km north-east of Donetsk).

The SMM observed marking of mines and demining. On the western side of road P-66 between Myrna Dolyna (government-controlled 67km north-west of Luhansk) and Toshkivka (government-controlled, 60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM saw six workers wearing clothing with the logo of an international demining organization. They were working in an area about 20m west of the road where the vegetation had been cut and stakes and marking tape were being put in the ground.

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the phenol sludge reservoir near Zalizne (formerly Artemove, government-controlled, 42km north-east of Donetsk), to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk), to water wells near Krasnyi Lyman (non-government-controlled, 30km north-west of Luhansk), to electrical infrastructure in Betmanove (formerly Krasnyi Partyzan, non-government-controlled, 23km north-east of Donetsk) and at the Krasnohorivka gas distribution station between Marinka and Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled, 20km south-west of Luhansk). The SMM continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS, including through monitoring adherence to the ceasefire.

The SMM monitored a border area outside of government control. While at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk) for about 30 minutes, the SMM observed 26 pedestrians exit Ukraine and seven cars (two with Ukrainian, three with Russian Federation and two with Georgian licence plates) and 29 pedestrians enter Ukraine.

In Kyiv, Sievierodonetsk, Mariupol (government-controlled, 102km south of Donetsk), Lviv and Chernivtsi the SMM observed gatherings marking the European Union’s Anti-Trafficking Day. The SMM observed between 20 and 300 people (men and women, mainly young adults) in each city gather and march through central squares, some people carrying banners reading “Walk for Freedom” and “People are not for sale.” The SMM observed peaceful situations at each gathering.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv and Dnipro.