International Politics

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine-8 January 2018

 

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 5 and 6 January compared with the previous reporting period and no ceasefire violations in Luhansk region. Between the evenings of 6 and 7 January, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in both regions compared with the previous 24 hours. In the following 24 hours, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk and more in Luhansk region. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske, and observed a calm situation in each one; its access remained restricted in all three areas and elsewhere.* The SMM noted that a weapons permanent storage site in government-controlled areas had been abandoned. The SMM visited four border areas not under government control. In Kyiv, the SMM followed up on media reports that the building of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture had been marked with red paint.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations[1] between the evenings of 5 and 6 January, including about 80 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 150 explosions). Between the evenings of 6 and 7 January, it recorded twice as many ceasefire violations, including about 150 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours. Between the evenings of 7 and 8 January, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations – including, however, a similar number of explosions (about 150) - compared with the previous 24 hours.

On the evening and night of 5-6 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, five projectiles in flight from east to west, a projectile from west to east and an undetermined explosion, followed by totals of 40 projectiles (14 from east to west and 26 from west to east), 16 undetermined explosions, and an illumination flare, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the evening and night of 5 January, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 15 undetermined explosions and about 80 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 4-6km south-east.

During the day on 6 January, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about four hours, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and about 30 shots and bursts of small-arms fire, all 3-4km at directions ranging from south-west to north-west. Positioned on the south-western edge of Yasynuvata for about two and a half hours, the SMM heard five undetermined explosions and 30 shots of small-arms fire, all 2-3km west-south-west and west.

During the same day, positioned 1km north-north-west of government-controlled Pyshchevyk (25km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM heard 12 explosions assessed as six outgoing tank (type unknown) rounds and their impacts 1-1.5km north-east, and three undetermined explosions 2-3km north-east. Positioned on the western edge of Pyshchevyk, the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 2-3km north.

On the evening of 6 January, while in Svitlodarsk, the SMM heard about 130 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, and an undetermined explosion 4-6km south-east.

On the evening and night of 6-7 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station recorded, in sequence, two undetermined explosions, two projectiles in flight from east to west, an undetermined explosion, two projectiles from east to west and 64 projectiles from west to east, followed by totals of about 175 projectiles (about 105 from east to west and 70 from west to east), and about 50 undetermined explosions, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the night of 6-7 January, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) recorded, in sequence, two illumination flares in flight from west to east and six projectiles from east to west, followed by totals of two undetermined explosions, about 90 projectiles in flight (about 70 from east to west and about 20 west to east) and 18 illumination flares, all 5-8km north.

During the day on 7 January, positioned at the railway station in Yasynuvata for over five hours, the SMM heard 66 undetermined explosions and about 230 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-5km west, west-north-west and north-west. Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Oleksandrivka (20km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions 0.8-1.5km west.

On the evening of 7 January, while in “DPR”-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 29 undetermined explosions and over 40 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 6-8km south-west and west.

On the evening and night of 7-8 January, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station recorded, in sequence, three undetermined explosions, 17 projectiles in flight from west to east and four undetermined explosions, followed by totals of about 125 projectiles in flight (about 55 from west to east and about 70 from east to west), three illumination flares and 27 undetermined explosions, all 0.5-1.5km south.

On the evening and night of 7-8 January, the SMM camera 1km south-west of Shyrokyne recorded, in sequence, an undetermined explosion, 20 projectiles in flight from east to west and an illumination flare, all 5-8km north.

During the day on 8 January, positioned at the railway station in Yasynuvata for over an hour, the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions and about 50 shots of small-arms fire, all 2-5km north-west and north. During the same day, positioned at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of the city centre) for about six hours, the SMM heard and saw an explosion assessed as an impact, and heard 35 undetermined explosions and about 45 bursts and shots of automatic-grenade-launcher and small-arms fire, all 3-5km at directions ranging from north-west to north-east.

On 8 January, positioned at the south-western edge of government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) for about six hours, the SMM heard 23 undetermined explosions 2-6km east, south and south-west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded no ceasefire violations between the evenings of 5 and 6 January. The SMM had recorded ceasefire violations in the previous reporting period. Between the evenings of 6 and 7 January, the SMM recorded 12 explosions. Between the evenings of 7 and 8 January, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations – including, however, the same number of explosions – compared with the previous 24 hours.

On 7 January, positioned in “LPR”-controlled Kalynove (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 12 undetermined explosions 6-8km south-south-west.

On 8 January, positioned about 3km north-north-west of “LPR”-controlled Yuzhna-Lomuvatka (60km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 11 undetermined explosions and 24 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 5-8km west-north-west and north-west.

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 evening of 4 January, the SMM camera at the Prince Ihor Monument south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge recorded an undetermined explosion 10-15km west-north-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area).

During the day on 6, 7 and 8 January, positioned near all three 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.

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a government-controlled area, the SMM saw on 7 January a tank (T-72) loaded on a flatbed truck 3km south-east of Dachenske (49km north-west of Donetsk) heading north-west, and a tank (T-64) loaded on a stationary flatbed truck 3km west of Krasne (65km 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, the SMM noted that four such heavy weapons holding areas remained abandoned, with 30 self-propelled howitzers (18 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm, and 12 2S19 Msta-S, 152mm), 12 towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) and six mortars (2B11 Sani, 120mm) missing.

The SMM revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces weapons permanent storage site beyond respective withdrawal lines and noted, for the first time, that it was abandoned, with 54 tanks (T-64) and seven mortars (four 2B9, 82mm, and three PM38, 120mm) missing (the mortars and 46 tanks had previously been noted as missing).

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles (ACV), anti-aircraft guns[2] and other indications of military-type presence in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 6 January an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2, 23mm) loaded on a military truck heading east near Zolote; five infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP-1), an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB), all stationary in different areas near Popasna (69km west of Luhansk); two stationary IFVs (BMP-1) near Trokhizbenka (32km north-west of Luhansk); and an APC (Practica Kozak) covered with camouflage net and two reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM variants) stationary near Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk).

On 7 January, the SMM saw nine IFVs (five BMP-1 and four BRM-1K), a reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) and a military-type armoured vehicle (type unknown), all stationary in different areas near Popasna (some IFVs are the same as the ones seen on 6 January); two stationary IFVs (BMP-2) near Trokhizbenka; two stationary reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM variants) near Orikhove-Donetske; and an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23-2) mounted on an APC (MT-LB) and covered with camouflage net, loaded on a stationary truck 2km south of Opytne (63km north-east of Donetsk).

On 8 January, the SMM saw an IFV (BMP-2) near Trokhizbenka, an IFV (BMP-1) near Semyhiria (58km north-east of Donetsk) and three stationary reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Orikhove-Donetske. Near Popasna, the SMM saw 12 stationary IFVs (four BMP-1, two BMP variants and six BRM-1Ks), two stationary ACVs (type unknown) and two reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2), one stationary and one moving (some IFVs are the same as the ones seen on 7 January).

In non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw on 7 January an IFV (BMP-1) near Novohryhorivka (61km north-east of Donetsk), which later was towed by a military-type truck. On 8 January, the SMM saw a stationary IFV (BMP-1) near Smile (31km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM followed up on reports of a gas outage in Yasynuvata (see SMM Daily Report 6 January 2018). On 7 January, three residents separately told the SMM that the gas supply had been restored the previous day.

On 8 January, at a church on Stratonavtiv Street, about 1km north of the central railway station in Donetsk city, a priest told the SMM that a small cemetery north of the church was heavily contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO). The priest added that people continued to visit the cemetery despite the risk of UXO, which was exacerbated by overgrown vegetation. An elderly couple living nearby also told the SMM that the cemetery was contaminated with UXO.

The SMM visited four border areas not under government control. On 6 January, during an hour at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 52 cars (four with “LPR” plates), three trucks with covered cargo areas and about 100 pedestrians (about 45 women and 50 men, aged 30-55, and two children) exiting Ukraine, and 25 cars (three with “LPR” plates), a bus with about 60 passengers and about 60 pedestrians (about 25 men and 35 women, aged 30-40) entering Ukraine.

During about 30 minutes at a border crossing point near Sievernyi (50km south-east of Luhansk) on 6 January, the SMM saw 13 cars in a queue to exit Ukraine. The SMM saw 11 pedestrians (six men, four women and one child) exiting Ukraine and 11 pedestrians (two women, eight men and one child) entering Ukraine.

Upon arrival at a border crossing point near Dovzhanske (84km south-east of Luhansk) on 8 January, the SMM saw 66 cars (two with “LPR” plates), three buses with 35-40 passengers each and six pedestrians in a queue to exit Ukraine. During its one-hour stay, the SMM saw 24 of the cars and the six pedestrians exiting Ukraine, and 15 cars (one with “LPR” plates) and three buses with 20-30 passengers each entering Ukraine.

During 50 minutes at a border crossing point near Marynivka (78km east of Donetsk), the SMM saw about 90 cars (ten with “DPR” plates) and eight covered cargo trucks (three with “DPR” plates) in a queue to exit Ukraine. During this time, the SMM saw about 20 of the cars and four of the trucks exiting Ukraine. The SMM also saw a mini-bus with about 20 passengers and 30 cars (five with “DPR” plates) entering Ukraine.

In Kyiv, the SMM followed up on media reports that the Russian Centre for Science and Culture building had been marked with red paint on the night of 6-7 January. At 2 Borysohlibska Street, on 8 January, the SMM saw remaining traces of red paint on the building’s front side and windows and noted that the paint had already been cleaned.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, 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, 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 2 December 2017.) 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:

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • On 6, 7 and 8 January, the SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. On 6 and 7 January, 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. On 8 January, an “LPR” member at the same location told the SMM that there had been demining activities but he could not provide further details. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed each time.
  • On 6, 7 and 8 January, the SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. On 6 and 8 January, a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC at a checkpoint on the northern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. On 7 January, 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 each time.[3]
  • On 6, 7 and 8 January, 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 each time.4
  • On 6, 7 and 8 January, 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 each time.
 

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. Two SMM cameras continue to be tested until the end of January 2018.

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

[3] 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-monitoring-mission-to-ukraine/365371

Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group

 

NEW YORK CITY, 23 September 2017 – The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) met separately and then jointly with the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, on 22-23 September on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The Co-Chairs were joined by the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Andrzej Kasprzyk.

The main aim of the consultations was to discuss the current situation in the conflict zone, to explore ways to reinvigorate the negotiation process, and to prepare for the upcoming summit between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.     

The Co-Chairs expect the summit meeting to contribute to enhancing confidence and political will among the parties to find compromise solutions to the remaining key settlement issues.  The Ministers expressed their commitment to work with the Co-Chairs to prepare for a successful summit in the near future.

The Co-Chairs also met with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman to discuss the situation on the ground as well as the latest developments in the peace process and to inform them of preparations for the next high-level meetings.

The Co-Chairs intend to travel to the region at the beginning of October.

For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/minsk-group/345336

GEORGE VOSKOPOULOS-EUROPEAN UNION: A TALE OF A TWIN CRISIS (2013)

*The article was originally published in Turkish ZAMAN, later closed down by T. Erdogan. This makes it a rare article probably the only article written by a Greek university professor in ZAMAN. It was republished by thinkfree.gr

EU CRISIS ZAMAN

How it was publiahed

I simply sent an email to the editor of ZAMAN and asked him if I could publish a piece on the EU. I thought it would be of interest to a general public in Turkey not familiar with the EU. He accepted. This process was rather unusual to many in Greece since most publications in media are materialised upon request from political parties of certain foreign embassies.

George Voskopoulos

 

 http://www.thinkfree.gr/european-union-a-tale-of-a-twin-crisis/

DOMINIQUE MOISI-We Are All From Europe - PROJECT SYNDICATE

Photo of Dominique Moisi

Dominique Moisi is Senior Counselor at the Institut Montaigne in Paris. He is the author of La Géopolitique des Séries ou le triomphe de la peur.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/barcelona-terrorist-attack-unity-europe-response-by-dominique-moisi-2017-08

George Voskopoulos-Defining Factors in EU-Russian Relations

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2419553#