Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 14 December 2015
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations than on previous days in Donetsk and Luhansk regions*. The SMM revisited permanent weapons storage sites on both sides of the contact line in relation to the implementation of the Addendum of the Package of Measures. The SMM facilitated and monitored repairs to water and electricity infrastructure. The SMM observed the distribution of humanitarian aid in Luhansk region.
The SMM observed a smaller number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared to the previous two days. Positioned at an observation point at the “Donetsk People’s Republic”(“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre) between 8:00 and 14:00hrs, the SMM heard a total of six undetermined explosions and sporadic bursts of small-arms fire at locations ranging from 5-10km south, west and north-west of its position. The SMM patrolled in two of four prioritized areas where demining work is expected to be conducted jointly with the facilitation of the SMM. The SMM noted ceasefire violations in both areas. In “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard several bursts of small-arms fire. Whilst in government-controlled Avdiivka (15km north of Donetsk), the SMM heard three mortar impacts at a location 4km north-east of its position.
In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded three explosions and two single shots of heavy machine-gun.
In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of measures, the SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines. All weapons previously verified as withdrawn to the sites were present. The SMM revisited “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines and found that all weapons previously verified as withdrawn to the sites were present.
Aerial surveillance imagery available to the SMM revealed the presence, on 7 December, of one tank near government-controlled Dzerzhynsk (43km north of Donetsk) in violation of the withdrawal lines stipulated in the Addendum.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of measures. The SMM is yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October notification (see SMM Daily Report 14 December2015).
The SMM revisited an “LPR” heavy weapons permanent storage site and verified weapons withdrawn there.
The SMM revisited locations beyond the respective withdrawal lines known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they did not comply with the specific criteria set out in the 16 October notification.
At such Ukrainian Armed Forces holding areas, the SMM observed 12 towed howitzers (2A36 Giatsint-B, 152mm).
At such “DPR”-controlled areas, the SMM observed13 towed howitzers (D30, 122mm). Nine howitzers (D30, 122mm) were noted missing. Most of the weapons observed as missing were noted missing in the past three months.
At such “DPR” holding areas, the SMM observed the following Addendum-regulated weapons: ten tanks (T-64) and nine mortars (PM-38, 120mm).
Beyond respective withdrawal lines, but outside holding areas, near government-controlled Melekine (19km west of Mariupol), the SMM observed two stationary towed artillery guns.
The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to critical infrastructure. The SMM continued monitoring repairs to the water pipeline between “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (38km north-east of Donetsk) and government-controlled Maiorsk (45km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM noted a calm situation in the area. The demining team was not present because of the 13 December booby trap incident (see SMM Daily Report 14 December 2015). Nonetheless, workers completed repairs to a 200-meter stretch of the pipeline. The SMM followed up on the condition of the two Voda Donbassa demining team members injured by the booby trap. The SMM visited the hospital in Horlivka and spoke to the surgeon who treated them. According to him, their injuries were not life-threatening. The SMM monitored repairs to high voltage electrical power lines east of government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). The workers belonged to an electrical infrastructure construction company from government-controlled Artemivsk (96km west of Luhansk). They said that they were repairing the lines on the government-controlled side of the contact line. The interlocutors stated that another company was to continue the repairs on the other side, but it had not yet been confirmed.
The SMM monitored the situation in villages in the vicinity of the contact line. In government-controlled Pavlopil (26km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM continued to observe increased Ukrainian Armed Forces presence (see SMM Daily Report 10 December 2015). In government-controlled Troitske (69km west of Luhansk), the SMM observed a Right Sector flag flying on the village council building. The SMM spoke with a group of residents (of various gender and age) who said that on 11 December two men in military uniforms had installed the flag on the village council’s roof.
The SMM monitored the distribution of humanitarian aid in government-controlled areas of Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk). The SMM witnessed the distribution of non-food items, mostly winterization materials by a non-governmental organisation. There were approximately 20 people waiting to receive the assistance. The SMM spoke with two volunteers (women, about 50 years old) who explained that the materials being distributed were thermal insulation. According to them, 459 families (the whole current population of the village, they said) were entitled to this assistance. Later, the SMM witnessed the delivery of the same kind of material in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). In another area of Zolote, the SMM observed 90 people (mostly women) waiting for registration and distribution of food cards by the World Food Program. The World Food Programme volunteers explained to the SMM that each card provides 1,350 hryvnia of credit that can be used at a local supermarket.
On 13 December, the SMM monitored the weekly commemoration at Kulykove Pole in Odessa, site of the tragic events on 2 May 2014. The SMM observed 70 anti-Maidan activists (mostly women, 35-70 years old) and nine pro-Maidan activists (all men, 18-40 years old). The SMM also observed 15 National Guard officers deployed in a semi-circle, separating the two groups. There were an additional 50 officers of the National Guard in a bus, parked behind the Trade Union building, as well as a smaller bus with riot police. The event ended peacefully.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Chernivtsi, 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 mine threats, damaged infrastructure, and the unpredictability of the situation in Donbas. “LPR” members continue to prevent the SMM from monitoring many areas close to the border with the Russian Federation in parts of Luhansk region not controlled by the Government.
Denial of access:
- A steel rod barrier across the road at the northern entrance to Shyrokyne (20km west of Donetsk) on the main road to Novoazovsk (53km north-east of Mariupol) again prevented the SMM from travelling further (see SMM Daily Report 14 December 2015).
- Armed men stopped the SMM at a checkpoint between “LPR”-controlled Berehove (23km east of Luhansk) and Luhansk city. They demanded to see the SMM's patrol plan. The SMM provided the plan and was thereafter allowed to proceed. The SMM had observed that the checkpoint was not in place 15 minutes prior to the incident, as the SMM had passed along that same road 15 minutes earlier.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel demanded to inspect the SMM’s vehicle at a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to government-controlled Mariupol. The SMM requested to contact the commander after which the SMM was allowed to proceed
- Two armed men stopped the SMM at an “LPR”-controlled checkpoint in the village of Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk). The SMM was initially denied access to the village, but after contacting the JCCC and waiting 30 minutes, the SMM proceeded to the village.
- Armed men denied the SMM access through a checkpoint in the vicinity of Pionerske (“LPR”-controlled, 19km east of Luhansk). After contacting the JCCC, the SMM was allowed to proceed.
- Armed “LPR” members stopped the SMM near the “LPR” checkpoint at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk). The SMM proceeded after ten minutes.
 For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.
* 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”.
 All times are in Kyiv time unless otherwise specified
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/209856
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