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This report is for the media and the general public.
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous 24 hours. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations near the Petrivske disengagement area. The SMM’s access remained restricted in all three areas and elsewhere, including at a checkpoint near Verkhnoshyrokivske.* The Mission observed weapons in violation of withdrawal lines near Svobodne. It followed up on reports of power outages in Betmanove and Slovianoserbsk. The SMM visited two border areas not under government control. The Mission monitored public gatherings in Kyiv.
On the evening and night of 15-16 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, two projectiles in flight from west to east, nine projectiles from east to west, 14 undetermined explosions, four projectiles from west to east, three undetermined explosions, a projectile from west to east, two undetermined explosions, seven projectiles from west to east and five undetermined explosions, followed by about 40 undetermined explosions and 89 projectiles (42 from east to west and 47 from west to east), all 0.5-1.5km south.
On the evening and night of 15-16 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard about 30 undetermined explosions and more than 1,100 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 2-7km east.
During the day on 16 January, positioned in “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaievsk (30km south-west of Donetsk) for 40 minutes, the SMM heard six undetermined explosions and over 140 bursts of small-arms fire, all 2-4km south-west.
On the evening and night of 15-16 January, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, three undetermined explosions, three projectiles in flight from east to west, eight undetermined explosions, five projectiles from east to west, an undetermined explosion and eight projectiles from east to west, all 5-8km north.
In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including 25 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours (one explosion).
Positioned on the south-eastern outskirts of government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard four explosions assessed as rounds of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, six undetermined explosions, and small-arms fire, all 4-5km south-east.
The SMM followed up on reports of a death at a checkpoint north of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk). A person on duty at a medical aid station there told the SMM that medical personnel who were on duty on 14 January had said that a man (aged 65) from “LPR”-controlled Alchevsk (40km west of Luhansk) had been found dead on a bus around 14:30 while it was stopped at the checkpoint. At a morgue in Horlivka, the head of the autopsy unit told the Mission that the body of a man born in 1952 had been delivered to the morgue on 14 January along with a document stating that he had died at the checkpoint north of Horlivka that day. The head of the autopsy unit said that an autopsy had shown the cause of death to have been a heart attack.
The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near 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 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*
On the night of 14 January, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded a tracer round in flight from north-west to south-east 200-300m south (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the morning of 16 January, positioned in Petrivske, the SMM heard a burst of small-arms fire 1km east (assessed as outside the disengagement area).
During the day on 16 January, positioned near the Stanytsia Luhanska and Zolote disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.
The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum as well as the Memorandum.
In violation of withdrawal lines, in a non-government-controlled area, aerial imagery from 11 January revealed the presence of two probable self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in revetments west of Svobodne (73km south of Donetsk) and four self-propelled howitzers (2S1) north of Svobodne in an area assessed as used for training; all six howitzers were in a zone within which deployment of heavy armaments and military equipment is further proscribed according to Point 5 of the Memorandum of 19 September 2014. In the same area the Mission saw 21 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (seven BMP-1 and 14 BMP-2) and nine military-style trucks.
Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a government-controlled area, the SMM on 15 January saw a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10) on a flatbed truck near Novoolenivka (48km north-west of Donetsk) heading south; on 16 January the Mission saw a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) near Sievierodonetsk (74km north-west of Luhansk) travelling west and a tank (T-64 Bulat) being loaded onto a transporter north-east of Oleksandro-Kalynove (47km north of Donetsk).
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 from the SMM to the signatories of the Package of Measures on effective monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM saw four multiple launch rocket systems (BM-21 Grad, 122mm), seven towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) and, for the first time, four surface-to-air missile systems (9K33). The Mission noted that 25 towed howitzers (2A65) (12 of which were missing for the first time), 24 anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), ten mortars (four 2B9 Vasilek, 82mm, and six 2B11 Sani, 120mm) and two surface-to-air missile systems (9K33) continued to be missing.
The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site whose location corresponded with the respective withdrawal lines and noted that 20 tanks (T-72) were still missing.
The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles, anti-aircraft guns and tank tracks in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM on 15 January saw a stationary reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Myrna Dolyna (67km north-west of Luhansk), a stationary amphibious vehicle (PTS) near Nyzhnie (56 north-west of Luhansk) and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2, 23mm) mounted on a stationary truck and a stationary IFV (BMP-2) near Zolote. On 16 January, the SMM saw a stationary reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk), a stationary armoured personnel carrier (BTR-70) east of Prokhorivka (53km south of Donetsk) and three anti-aircraft guns (ZU-23-2) attached to stationary trucks near Novohnativka (40km south of Donetsk).
In a non-government-controlled area, the SMM saw a stationary IFV (BMP-1) near Smile (31km north-west of Luhansk) and fresh tracks assessed as those of a tank (T-72) about 2km south of Sakhanka (24km north-east of Mariupol).
The SMM saw that ten previously observed anti-tank mines were no longer present in a field near “LPR”-controlled Vesela Hora (16km north of Luhansk) and that at least five mine hazard signs (red, on wooden posts) had been installed. (See SMM Daily Report 2 January 2018.)
The SMM followed up on reports of power outages in settlements near the contact line. Three groups of residents (two men in their twenties, two women in their forties and sixties, and a man and a woman in their sixties) of the western section of “DPR”-controlled Betmanove (formerly Krasnyi Partyzan, 23km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that residences on two streets had been without electricity since the early morning, possibly due to heavy snowfall. One of the residents told the SMM that electricity had been restored only a few minutes before. In a shop in “LPR”-controlled Slovianoserbsk (28km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed that there was no electricity. Two women (aged 55-70) told the Mission that the village had been without electricity since the early evening of 15 January.
The SMM visited two border areas not under government control. During 25 minutes at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 74 cars (five with “LPR” plates) and 36 pedestrians (11 men and 25 women, aged 20-60) exiting Ukraine and two cars and 23 pedestrians (14 women and nine men, mostly aged 30-50) entering Ukraine. During 25 minutes at a border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw two pedestrians (a man and a woman, both aged about 35) exiting Ukraine and a pedestrian (woman, aged about 50) entering Ukraine.
The SMM monitored public gatherings in Kyiv. The Mission saw about 70 people (mostly middle-aged men) near the Parliament building on Hrushevskoho Street, some of whom were holding signs and banners expressing support for certain legislation being reviewed in Parliament and the establishment of anti-corruption courts. The Mission saw the group move to the front of the presidential administration building.
Inside the area of tents near the Parliament building (see SMM Daily Report 16 December 2017), the SMM saw about 50 men, some in black uniforms with Donbas battalion and Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists patches and some wearing helmets and flak jackets and carrying wooden sticks. Shortly afterward, following the sound of a commotion in front of the Parliament building, the SMM saw burnt, smoking tyres soaked in water and remnants of burnt straw at the site. The Mission did not observe any other incidents during its presence. During a regular working session of the Parliament, about 400 police and National Guard officers in riot protection gear were present near the Parliament building, and 35 police buses were parked in nearby Mariinskyi Park.
Outside the General Prosecutor’s Office on Riznytska Street the SMM observed about 20 middle-aged men, some of whom expressed support for a member of the political party Movement of New Forces of Mikheil Saakashvili, who had been arrested, according to media reports. Another group of 16-20 men (mostly middle-aged) were standing with banners denouncing the party member. About 15 police officers separated the groups after a minor altercation (a man pushed part of a banner toward another man’s face) had occurred. The SMM did not observe any other incidents during its presence.
The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv and Dnipro and Chernivtsi.
*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 (JCCC) 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, citing orders to do so. (See, for example, SMM Daily Report 12 January 2018.) 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:
- Five armed persons at a checkpoint near “DPR”-controlled Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktiabr, 29km north-east of Mariupol) did not allow the SMM to travel east, saying that “subversive activities” were taking place in the area to which the Mission was travelling.
Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:
- The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. An “LPR” member positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed.
- The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that he had no information regarding de-mining in the area during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
- The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that he had no information regarding demining activities over the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.4
- The SMM did not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.4
 Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as a map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report. . Two SMM cameras continue to be tested until the end of January 2018.
* 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”.
 This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.
 The SMM informed Ukrainian Armed Forces officers of the JCCC. Russian Federation Armed Forces officers of the JCCC have withdrawn from the JCCC as of 18 December 2017.
For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/special-