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Ukraine: Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 17 March 2019

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Country: Ukraine
This report is for the media and the general public. Summary Compared with the previous reporting period, between the evenings of 15 and 16 March, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and more in Luhansk region. Compared with the previous 24 hours, between the evenings of 16 and 17 March, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk region and fewer in Luhansk region. The SMM observed fresh damage caused by gunfire to residential buildings in Yasynuvata and Sakhanka. The Mission recorded ceasefire violations inside the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas. It saw military personnel inside the Petrivske disengagement area. The SMM observed weapons in violation of the withdrawal lines on both sides of the contact line. Restrictions of the SMM’s access continued in all three disengagement areas and elsewhere, including in non-government-controlled Zaichenko and near Izvaryne, close to the border with the Russian Federation.* In Kyiv, the Mission monitored a public gathering organized by National Corps. Ceasefire violations In Donetsk region, between the evenings of 15 and 16 March, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 100 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 160 explosions). The majority of the ceasefire violations were recorded at southerly directions of Svitlodarsk (government-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk) at southerly directions of the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) (including four explosions assessed as impacts 200-500m from the SMM camera) and at south-easterly directions of Chermalyk (government-controlled, 31km north-east of Mariupol). Between the evenings of 16 and 17 March, the Mission recorded more ceasefire violations, however, fewer explosions (about 50), compared with the previous 24 hours. The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded at southerly directions of Svitlodarsk, at south-easterly directions of Chermalyk and in areas east-north-east of Maiorsk (government-controlled, 45km north-east of Donetsk). In Luhansk region, between the evenings of 15 and 16 March, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 40 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 15 explosions). The majority of the ceasefire violations were recorded west-south-west of Berezivske (non-government-controlled, 53km north-west of Luhansk) and inside and near the disengagement area near Zolote (government-controlled, 60km west of Luhansk) (see below). Between the evenings of 16 and 17 March, the Mission recorded fewer ceasefire violations, including about 35 explosions, compared with the previous 24 hours. The majority of ceasefire violations were recorded in areas north-west of Holubivske (non-government-controlled, 51km west of Luhansk) and in areas near the Zolote disengagement area. Damage to residential buildings in Yasynuvata and Sakhanka At 22 Hoholia Street in Yasynuvata (non-government-controlled, 16km north-east of Donetsk) on 16 March, the SMM saw a fresh impact on a west-north-west facing wall of a ground floor apartment in a residential building, as well as shrapnel damage, all assessed as caused by a 7.62mm bullet. Two residents in the building (man, 30-40 years old and woman, 60-70 years old) separately told the SMM that they had heard shooting at about 22:00 on 14 March. On 17 March, at 2b Konstytutsii Street in Sakhanka (non-government-controlled, 24km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM saw a 2-3cm hole in the west-facing door and a 5cm hole in the west-facing door frame of the house, assessed as fresh and caused by shrapnel. The SMM was not able to determine the type of weapon or calibre. A resident of the house, a woman (50-60 years old), told the SMM that she had heard small-arms fire during the night of 16-17 March and a loud explosion at about 09:00 on 17 March. Disengagement areas On the evening of 15 March, the SMM camera in Zolote recorded ten projectiles in flight from north to south at an assessed range of 2-3km south-east, assessed as inside the disengagement area. On the morning of 16 March, positioned on the southern edge of Zolote-5/Mykhailivka (non-government-controlled, 58km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard 30 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire at an assessed range of 1-3km west-north-west (assessed as inside the disengagement area) and an undetermined explosion at an assessed range of 2-3km east-north-east (assessed as outside the disengagement area). The same morning, positioned on the northern edge of Zolote, the SMM heard 23 undetermined explosions and 18 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, at an assessed range of 2-5km south-south-east and south (all assessed as inside the disengagement area) and an undetermined explosion and two shots of small-arms fire at an assessed range of 0.8km-1km south (all assessed as outside the disengagement area). During the day on 17 March, positioned at two different locations in Zolote-5/Mykhailivka, the SMM heard six undetermined explosions and about 40 shots and bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire (unable to assess whether inside or outside the disengagement area) as well as about 15 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and an undetermined explosion (all assessed as outside the disengagement area). During the day on 16 March, positioned about 2km north of Petrivske (non-government-controlled, 41km south of Donetsk), the SMM heard four shots (two of small-arms fire and two assessed as rounds of 30mm cannon) at an assessed range of 2.5-5km south-south-west and south-west (assessed as inside the Petrivske disengagement area), and 16 shots (eight of small-arms fire and eight assessed as rounds of 30mm cannon) at an assessed range of 1-4km south, south-south-west and west (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On the same day, the SMM also observed at least six Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers in positions inside the Petrivske disengagement area, in an area about 600m south of the northern edge of the disengagement area and about 2.5km east of its western edge. On the evening of 15 March, while on the eastern edge of Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard one shot of small-arms fire at an assessed range of 3-4km south-west (assessed as outside the disengagement area). On 16 and 17 March, positioned inside the disengagement area near Stanytsia Luhanska (government-controlled, 16km north-east of Luhansk) and on 17 March near the Petrivske disengagement area, the SMM observed calm situations. 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 violation Government-controlled areas 16 March The SMM saw six multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) at a compound in Rivnopil (65km south-west of Donetsk). Non-government-controlled areas 15 March An SMM mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) again spotted three tanks (T-64) near Lobacheve (13km east of Luhansk). 16 March The SMM again saw eight MLRS (BM-21) near Sadovyi (57km south-west of Luhansk). Beyond withdrawal lines but outside of designated storage sites Government-controlled areas 16 March The SMM saw: 14 self-propelled howitzers (2S1_ Gvozdika_, 122mm) near the railway station in Khlibodarivka (65km south-west of Donetsk) and 14 MLRS (BM-21) loaded on flatbed wagons and 14 towed howitzers (D-20, 152mm) at the railway station in Zachativka (74km south-west of Donetsk). Indications of military and military-type presence inside the security zone Government-controlled areas 15 March An SMM mini-UAV spotted: three probable armoured combat vehicles (type undetermined) near Novoselivka Druha (23km north of Donetsk). 16 March The SMM saw two armoured reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM-2) in Valuiske (20km north-east of Luhansk). Non-government-controlled areas 15 March An SMM mini-UAV spotted: an armoured personnel carrier (APC) (MT-LB) near Molodizhne (63km north-west of Luhansk) two infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) (BMP-1) near Pionerske (19km east of Luhansk); and four IFVs (BMP variant) and two APCs (MT-LB) near Lobacheve. Presence of mines and new mine hazard signs On 15 March, the SMM saw for the first time three mine hazard signs, red with “Mine” written in Cyrillic in yellow letters, 3m outside of a compound of the armed formations in the north-western outskirts of Luhansk city. On 17 March, the SMM saw for the first time a rectangular yellow mine hazard sign with “Danger Mines” in white letters in Russian and Ukrainian on the south side of road T-0512 near Hranitne (government-controlled, 60km south of Donetsk). Behind the sign, the SMM saw at least seven fresh craters assessed as caused by rounds of 82mm mortars. On 17 March, the SMM again observed six anti-tank mines (TM-62) fixed on a wooden plank on the southern side of road T-0504, about 60m east of the forward position of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the eastern outskirts of Popasna (government-controlled, 69km west of Luhansk). On the same day, the SMM noted that a previously observed piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the middle of an asphalted road near Orlivske (government-controlled, 23km north-east of Mariupol) was no longer present. (For previous observations see SMM Daily Report 16 March 2019). SMM facilitation of operation of civilian infrastructure On 16 and 17 March, the Mission continued to facilitate the operation of the DFS and monitor the security situation around the pumping station near Vasylivka (non-government-controlled, 20km north of Donetsk). Situation at entry-exit checkpoints At the entry-exit checkpoint near Novotroitske (government-controlled, 36km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM saw no pedestrians or vehicles present. A member of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine told the SMM that the checkpoint was closed all day as some office containers were removed or replaced, adding that it would re-open on 18 March. Border areas outside government control On 16 March, while at a border crossing point near Izvaryne (52km south-east of Luhansk), the SMM saw 28 cars (13 with Ukrainian, six with Russian Federation, one with Latvian and one with Georgian licence plates, and seven with “LPR” plates) and 15 covered cargo trucks (ten with Ukrainian licence plates, four with “LPR” and one with “DPR” plates) and six pedestrians (four men and two women, 25-55 years old) queuing to exit Ukraine. After seven minutes a member of the armed formations told the SMM to leave the area.* On the same day, while at a pedestrian border crossing point near Verkhnoharasymivka (57km south-east of Luhansk) for about 35 minutes, the SMM saw 14 pedestrians (nine men and five women, 25-55 years old) entering Ukraine and a man (30-45 years old) exiting Ukraine. On 17 March, while at a pedestrian border crossing point near Ulianivske (61km south-east of Donetsk) for about 20 minutes, the SMM saw four pedestrians (three men and a woman, 30-60 years old) exiting Ukraine. On the same day, while at a border crossing point near Uspenka (73km south-east of Donetsk) for about an hour, the SMM saw two cars with Ukrainian licence plates, two covered cargo trucks (one with Ukrainian and one with Russian Federation licence plates) and one half-full bus with Russian Federation licence plates entering Ukraine. During the same time, the SMM saw 49 cars (two with Ukrainian, 21 with Russian Federation and one with Georgian licence plates and 25 with “DPR” plates), 40 covered cargo trucks (31 with Ukrainian, one with Russian Federation and one with Belarusian licence plates and seven with “DPR” plates) and one full bus with Ukrainian licence plates exiting Ukraine. Gathering in Kyiv In Kyiv, on 16 March, the SMM monitored a public gathering by National Corps at Independence Square. The Mission saw about 3,000-3,500 people (70 per cent men and 30 per cent women, 14-70 years old), some of whom were expressing opposition to the government and alleged corruption amongst officials. The SMM saw about 100 law enforcement officers present on Independence Square. The protestors marched from the square to the building of the Presidential Administration at 11 Bankova Street where the SMM observed 200 National Guard officers present. The SMM saw an additional 60 National Guard officers and about 200 police officers in front of the National Bank at 11 Instytutska Street, in the area between the bank and the building of the Presidential Administration. The SMM saw protestors throwing soft toys at the National Guard officers outside the Presidential Administration building. No further incidents were observed. The Mission continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Chernivtsi.


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