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Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 10 February 2019

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Ukraine
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OSCE
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This report is for the media and the general public.

Summary

  • Compared with the previous reporting period, between the evenings of 8 and 9 February, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

  • Compared with the previous 24 hours, between the evenings of 9 and 10 February, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

  • In Kadiivka, the Mission saw gunfire damage to a truck that was reportedly collecting coal as part of humanitarian aid.

  • The SMM saw fresh mortar impact craters near residential houses in Kriakivka and near the checkpoint of the armed formations on the southern edge of the disengagement area near Zolote.

  • The Mission recorded ceasefire violations inside and near the Zolote disengagement area.

  • It facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to essential civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

  • Restrictions of the Mission’s access continued in all three disengagement areas. It was also restricted in Khlibodarivka, near Verkhnoshyrokivske, near Izvaryne and Novoazovsk, close to the border with the Russian Federation, as well as at a permanent storage site in a non-government-controlled area of Donetsk region.*

  • The Mission learned of a reported temporary school closure due to shelling in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka.

Ceasefire violations

In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 8 and 9 February, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, however more explosions (about 50), compared with the previous reporting period (about 30 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded at south-easterly areas of Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk) and at south-easterly directions of Avdiivka (government-controlled, 17km north of Donetsk).

Between the evenings of 9 and 10 February, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 30 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours. The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded at southerly directions of the Donetsk Filtration Station (DFS) (15km north of Donetsk), including six explosions assessed as impacts 0.3-1km from the SMM camera at the DFS and in areas south-east, south-south-east and south of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol).

In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 8 and 9 February, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including 24 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 480 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded north-east of Holubivske (non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk) and at south-easterly directions of Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk).

Between the evenings of 9 and 10 February, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 15 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours. The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-south-east of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk) and areas west-south-west and north-north-east of Pervomaisk (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk).

Damage from gunfire to a truck in Kadiivka

The SMM continued to follow up on an alleged incident of a truck, reportedly collecting coal as part of humanitarian aid, damaged by gunfire on the south-eastern outskirts of Holubivka (formerly Kirovsk, non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk). In the north-western outskirts of Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, non-government-controlled, 50km west of Luhansk) at a repair shop, the SMM saw a truck with fresh gunfire damage visible on its left rear side. The SMM noted that the rear left tires of the truck had been replaced, however some damage was still visible, including a bent steel tailgate, bent and partly broken suspension leaf spring and bent left rear wheel well, as well as several 1cm holes, assessed as caused by shrapnel, under the tailgate. The SMM observed that the front licence plate of the truck matched a damaged licence plate observed by the Mission on 7 February at the site of the incident. A man (about 55 years old), identifying himself as the driver of the damaged truck, told the SMM that on 6 February, while driving south from Donetskyi (non-government-controlled, 49km west of Luhansk) to Kadiivka to collect coal on behalf of an international organization, he had felt the truck “jumping”, after which he continued driving to safety for 1.5km.

Disengagement areas

Fresh mortar impact craters near the checkpoint of the armed formations on the southern edge of the Zolote disengagement area

On 8 February, the SMM saw 12 fresh impact craters on both sides of a road about 600m east of the checkpoint of the armed formations on the southern edge of the disengagement area near Zolote. About 150m east of the first impact site, the SMM saw five additional fresh impact craters on both sides of the same road. The SMM assessed that all abovementioned craters were caused by mortar rounds fired from a north-north-easterly direction (for similar recent observations near the same checkpoint, see SMM Daily Report 31 January 2019).

On the evening and night of 8-9 February, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded 12 projectiles in flight (eight from east-north-east to west-south-west, three from south-west to north-east and one from north-east to south-west) at an assessed range of 1.5-3km south-east (assessed as inside the disengagement area) and seven projectiles in flight from south-south-west to north-north-east at an assessed range of 1.5-3km east-south-east (one assessed as outside the disengagement area; the Mission could not assess if the remaining six projectiles were inside or outside the disengagement area).

On the evening and night of 9-10 February, the same camera recorded three projectiles in flight (one from west to east and two from north-north-east to south-south-west) at an assessed range of 1.5-3km east and south-east, assessed as inside the disengagement area and two projectiles in flight from north to south at an assessed range of 1.5-3km east, assessed as outside the disengagement area. During the day on 10 February, the same camera recorded a projectile in flight from south-south-west to north-north-east, at an assessed range of 2-3km south-south-west, assessed as inside the disengagement area.

During the day on 9 and 10 February, positioned inside the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) and north of the disengagement area near Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), the SMM observed calm situations.

Fresh mortar impact craters near residential houses in Kriakivka

On the western outskirts of Kriakivka (government-controlled, 38km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed four fresh craters, two on either side of a road. The SMM assessed them as caused by 82mm mortar rounds fired from a southerly direction. All craters were located around 30m west from the nearest inhabited residential house and 100m north-east from a checkpoint of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Two residents of Kriakivka (women, 35-60 years old) together told the SMM that they had heard shelling in the village on the evening of 8 February (for similar observations see SMM Daily Report 1 February 2019).

Reported temporary closure of the school in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka

On 8 February, while visiting the school of around 100 students in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km west of Luhansk), a female staff member told the SMM that their students had been sent home that day and will not be returning to school until further notice. She added that heavy shelling that morning had forced them to gather all the students in the basement for safety. The school has been damaged by gunfire on four occasions since 25 December 2018 (see SMM Daily Report 22 January 2019).

Withdrawal of weapons

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

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites:

Government-controlled areas

9 February

The SMM saw:

  • four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm) being towed by trucks moving east near Rivnopil (65km south-west of Donetsk).

Non-government-controlled areas

9 February

The SMM saw:

  • two tanks (type undetermined) and a piece of self-propelled artillery (type undetermined) in a training area near Pokrovka (36km east of Donetsk).

Weapons that the SMM could not verify as withdrawn: At heavy weapons holding areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines in non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk region

9 February

The SMM observed that two towed howitzers (D-30, Lyagushka, 122mm) and seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1_ Gvozdika, _122mm) remained missing.

Indications of military-type presence in the security zone

Non-government-controlled areas

8 February

An SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted:

  • an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) mounted on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) and two APCs (BTR-80) in Luhansk city and
  • an APC (MT-LB) in Smile (31km north-west of Luhansk).

Government-controlled areas

9 February

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • three APCs (BTR-80) near Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol).

The SMM saw:

  • an APC (Saxon) near Valuiske (20km north-east of Luhansk) and
  • an APC (BTR-60) near Novobakhmutivka (28km north of Donetsk).

9 February

The SMM saw:

  • an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) near Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk).

SMM facilitation of repair works to civilian infrastructure

On 9 and 10 February, the SMM monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works to a power line in the area of Pervomaisk and Zolote-5/Mykhailivka and the inspection of a water pipeline in Obozne (non-government-controlled, 18km north of Luhansk). It continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS and to monitor the overall security situation in the area of the pumping station in Vasylivka (non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Donetsk).

Border areas outside of government control

On 8 February, while at a border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk) for about 50 minutes, the SMM saw 13 cars (four with Ukrainian and four with Russian Federation licence plates, and five with “DPR” plates) two minivans with Ukrainian licence plates and a bus marked “Moscow-Donetsk” with “DPR” plates exiting Ukraine. During the same time, the SMM saw nine cars (two with Ukrainian and four with Russian Federation licence plates, and three with “DPR” plates), two minivans with Ukrainian licence plates, a covered cargo truck with Russian Federation licence plates and a bus marked “Moscow-Donetsk” with “DPR” plates entering Ukraine.

On 10 February, while at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM observed six cars (two with Ukrainian, two with Russian Federation and two with Belarusian licence plates), three covered cargo trucks with Belarusian licence plates, and eight pedestrians (five women, 20-40 years old and three men, 18-35 years old) entering Ukraine. After five minutes, a member of the armed formations approached the SMM and told it to leave the area.*

The Mission continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, 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 Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government (for example, see below). The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April 2017 near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

Denial of access:

  • On 9 February, the SMM was unable to enter a permanent storage site in a non-government-controlled area of Donetsk region because the gate was locked. A civilian guard at the site told the SMM that the site had been closed and it should return on another day.
  • On 9 February, an armed member of the armed formations denied the SMM passage twice through a checkpoint west of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, non-government controlled, 29km north-east of Mariupol), citing “instructions from his superiors” and the need for “written permission to cross or for a list of destinations.”
  • On 10 February at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (non-government-controlled, 52km south-east of Luhansk), a member of the armed formations told the SMM to leave the area.
  • On 10 February, at the railway station in Khlibodarivka (government-controlled, 65km south-west of Donetsk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer told the SMM to leave the railway station and observe from outside of it.
  • On 10 February, at a checkpoint north of Novoazovsk (non-government-controlled, 40km east of Mariupol), four members of the armed formations (two visibly armed) denied the SMM passage south to Novoazovsk and east toward the Russian Federation border, citing an “ongoing special forces operation”. While at the checkpoint, the SMM saw civilian vehicles crossing the checkpoint in all directions.

Regular restrictions related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The sides continued to deny the SMM full access to the three disengagement areas, as well as the ability to travel certain roads previously identified as important for effective monitoring by the Mission and for civilians’ movement, through failure to conduct comprehensive clearance of mines and UXO.