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Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 5 April 2019


KYIV 6 April 2019

This report is for the media and the general public.

Summary

  • Compared with the previous reporting period, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region.
  • It recorded a ceasefire violation inside the Zolote disengagement area.
  • The Mission saw weapons in violation of withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line.
  • The SMM observed fresh craters near Kalynove-Borshchuvate.
  • The Mission saw anti-tank mines for the first time near Marinka.
  • The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable demining activities and repairs to essential civilian infrastructure on both sides of the contact line.
  • Restrictions of the SMM’s access continued in all three disengagement areas. Its freedom of movement was also restricted near non-government-controlled Starolaspa.*

Ceasefire violations[1]

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 440 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 110 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-south-east of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol), including about 280 projectiles recorded by an SMM camera, west-south-west and north-west of Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk), and at southerly directions  of Avdiivka (government-controlled, 17km north of Donetsk).

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 50 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 200 explosions). The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas south-west of Staryi Aidar (government-controlled, 20km north-west of Luhansk), north-north-west of Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, non-government-controlled, 44km west of Luhansk), and north-east and north-north-east of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk).

Disengagement areas[2]

On the evening of 4 April, the SMM camera in Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) recorded an undetermined explosion 2-4km south-east, assessed as inside the disengagement area. The same camera recorded 13 projectiles in flight, all at an assessed range of 1-2km east and east-south-east, all assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 5 April, positioned near the disengagement area close to Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions at an assessed range of 6-8km north-north east and an explosion at an assessed range of 2-3km north-west, all assessed as outside the disengagement area. The SMM again saw an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (BMP variant) and a red-and-black flag near a position of the Ukrainian Armed Forces inside the disengagement area. [3]

During the day on 5 April, positioned in the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM observed a calm situation.

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.

Weapons in violations of withdrawal lines

Government-controlled-areas

4 April

An SMM long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spotted:

  • a self-propelled anti-aircraft system (2K22 Tunguska) near Mykolaivka (57km north of Donetsk);
  • three self-propelled howitzers (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) near Kostiantynivka (60km north of Donetsk); and
  • a probable tank (T-64) near Vuhlehirsk (49km north-east of Donetsk).

An SMM mini-UAV spotted a surface-to-air missile system (9K35 Strela-10) near Vrubivka (72km west of Luhansk).

5 April

The SMM saw:

  • a surface-to-air missile system (9K33 Osa) near Roty (66km north-east of Donetsk); and
  • a towed howitzer (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) near Kostiantynivka.

Non-government-controlled areas

4 April

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • three tanks (one T-72 and two probable T-72) near Kalynove-Borshchuvate (non-government-controlled, 61km west of Luhansk) and
  • two tanks (type undetermined) near Novoselivka (37km north-east of Donetsk).

An SMM long-range UAV spotted 14 tanks (T-72) near Fedorivka (34km north-east of Donetsk).

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites

Government-controlled

4 April

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

  • a tank (T-72) on a transport trailer in Kostiantynivka and
  • 22 tanks (T-72) and six surface-to-air missile systems (9K35) at the railway station in Kostiantynivka.

Weapons that the SMM could not verify as withdrawn[4]

At a heavy weapons holding area in a government-controlled area of Luhansk region

5 April

The SMM noted that four towed howitzers (2A65 Msta-B, 152mm) were present.

Weapons permanent storage sites

At a permanent storage site in a government-controlled area of Luhansk region

5 April

The SMM noted that five tanks (T-64) and six mortars (M20-15 Molot, 120mm) were missing for the first time.

At a permanent storage site in a non-government-controlled area of Luhansk region

5 April

The SMM noted that eight multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) were missing, including six for the first time.

Indications of military and military-type presence in the security zone[5]

Non-government-controlled areas

4 April

An SMM mini-UAV spotted:

  • at least four covered armoured combat vehicles (ACV) (type unidentified), four IFVs (BMP-2) and three armoured personnel carriers (APC) (two MT-LB and one BTR-80) near Bezimenne (100km south of Donetsk) and
  • an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm) about 400m south-east of the Zolote disengagement area near Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (58km west of Luhansk).

An SMM mid-range UAV spotted an IFV (BMP-1) and an APC (BTR-80) within 300m of each other, parked about 15-20m from the nearest residential houses near Petrivske.

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

  • six probable ACVs (type undetermined) near Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk);
  • 22 IFVs (one BMP-1 and 21 BMP variants) and an APC (MT-LB) near Kruhlyk (65km south-west of Luhansk);
  • seven IFVs (BMP variants) and two ACVs (type undetermined) near Veselohorivka (64km west of Luhansk);
  • four ACVs near Nyzhnie Lozove (59km north-east of Donetsk);
  • three ACVs near Lohvynove (59km north-east of Donetsk); and
  • an IFV (BMP-1) near Holmivskyi (49km north-east of Donetsk).

5 April

The SMM saw an IFV (BMP-1) near Yuzhna-Lomuvatka (60km west of Luhansk).

Government-controlled areas

4 April

An SMM mini-UAV spotted an anti-aircraft gun (ZU-23, 23mm), six IFVs (BMP-1) and an APC (MT-LB) near Vrubivka (72km west of Luhansk).

An SMM long-range UAV spotted:

  • four ACVs (type undetermined) and an APC (BTR-70) near Ozarianivka (52km north of Donetsk);
  • seven armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) near Leonidivka (41km north of Donetsk); and
  • an ACV near Myronivskyi (62km north-east of Donetsk).

5 April

The SMM saw:

  • an IFV (BMP variant) under camouflage in Loskutivka (72km west of Luhansk);
  • an armoured reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) with a mounted heavy machine-gun and an APC (BTR-60) near residential houses occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Orikhove-Donetske (44km north-west of Luhansk); and
  • three IFVs (BMP-1) in Kriakivka (38km north-west of Luhansk).

The SMM saw an unidentified mini-UAV flying at a height of around 100m above the Mission’s position approximately 2km north-west of Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk).

Fresh craters spotted near Kalynove-Borshchuvate

On 4 April, an SMM mini-UAV spotted eight impact craters (not seen in imagery from 30 March) assessed as caused by 120mm mortar rounds in a forested area near Kalynove-Borshchuvate. For previous observations, see SMM Daily Report 1 April 2019.)

Presence of mines in Marinka

On 29 March, an SMM mid-range UAV spotted for the first time ten anti-tank mines (type unidentified) laid across a road in Marinka (government-controlled, 23km south-west of Donetsk), as well as an additional eight mines laid out along the same road, about 1.3km south-west of the previously-mentioned mines. The UAV also spotted for the first time five anti-tank mines which appear to be part of an extension of previously-observed mines, as well as an additional 85 anti-tank mines about 150m of the abovementioned five anti-tank mines.

The same UAV again spotted 18 anti-tank mines (probable TM-62M) laid out in two rows across a road on the northern edge of Marinka, as well as an additional four anti-tank mines laid out along the same road, about 210m north-east of the previously-mentioned mines. The UAVagain spotted an additional 12 anti-tank mines laid out across a road perpendicular to the aforementioned one, 40-50m from the nearest residential houses. For the first time, the UAV spotted eight anti-tank mines (type unidentified) laid across a road about 800m north-east from the nearest residential area at the northern edge of Marinka.

SMM facilitation of repairs to civilian infrastructure and demining activities

The SMM facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to the Petrivske pumping station near Artema (government-controlled, 26km north of Luhansk) and to power transmission lines near Spartak (non-government-controlled, 9km north of Donetsk), as well as to enable demining activities conducted by five members of the State Emergency Services of Ukraine (SESU) at a residential house in Stanytsia Luhanska. The Mission also continued to facilitate the operation of the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) and to monitor the security situation around the pumping station near Vasylivka (non-government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk).

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 (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 (for example, see  SMM Daily Report 2 April 2019). 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:

  • At a checkpoint on the eastern edge of Starolaspa (non-government-controlled, 51km south of Donetsk), an armed member of the armed formations denied the SMM passage to Novolaspa (non-government-controlled, 50km south of Donetsk).

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.
  • North of the bridge in Shchastia (government-controlled, 20km north of Luhansk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that he was not aware of any demining activities having taken place in the past 24 hours.

Delay:

  • At a checkpoint on the eastern edge of Starolaspa (non-government-controlled, 51km south of Donetsk), an armed member of the armed formations initially denied the SMM passage to Starolaspa. After 20 minutes, the SMM was allowed to proceed to Starolaspa but not to Novolaspa (see above).

Other Impediments:

  • On 4 April, an SMM long-range UAV temporarily lost its GPS signal, assessed as due to jamming, while flying over government-controlled areas north of Donetsk region.[6]

[1] 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.

[2]Disengagement is foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016.

[3] Due to the presence of mines, including on a road between Bohdanivka and Petrivske, the SMM cannot access its camera in Petrivske, and thus the SMM has not been able to access observations from the camera since 22 June 2018.

[4] 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. The SMM noted that two such sites continued to be abandoned.

[5] The hardware mentioned in this section is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

[6] The interference could have originated from anywhere within a radius of several kilometers of the UAV’s position.

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