Latest news from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 1 June (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public
The overall security situation in Donetsk region is tense. The situation in Luhansk region is volatile. SMM has not re-established contact with its monitors from Donetsk and Luhansk with whom contact has been lost.
A total of three public rallies took place in Kharkiv over the weekend: Euro-Maidan gatherings at the city’s outskirts on 31 May, a demonstration on 1 June near the Shevchenko monument, and a meeting of opponents of unitary Ukraine activists on Liberty Square. Major city centre roads were closed on Sunday. An explosive device placed along the road between Sloviansk and Izyum was defused by Ministry of Defense personnel, who informed that a terrorist plot had been prevented.
In Donetsk region the situation remained volatile. Minor clashes at the airport have been reported. The situation in Luhansk is still tense, but the city is calm. Due to the deterioration of the security situation and consequent restrictions, the SMM was not able to fully carry out its duties and to monitor the situation in both the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of responsibility.
In Dnipropetrovsk the situation remained calm. The SMM was invited to observe the training of 100 members of the Ukrainian National Self Defence Regiment, the so-called “Hundred”. The participants aged from 30 to 60 years old, among them 15-20 women, who familiarised themselves with assembling and disassembling Kalashnikovs. The commander of “Hundred” explained that the training was organized after a request from volunteers who did not match the criteria set to integrate within the “Dnipro-1” Battalion and the three Territorial Defence Battalions of the Ukrainian forces, but were eager to be prepared, and in the capacity to respond in the event of a security breach in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
The situation in Kherson remained calm. An official informed the SMM that the temporary dam 5 kilometres south of Mirne, in the area of the Northern Crimea Canal (NCC), had lifted the water level in the canal allowing the irrigation of farmers’ crops in the southern part of the Kherson Region, not affecting Crimea. The SMM saw that the temporary dam, which is located a few kilometres before the Administrative Boundary Line, had cut off the greatest flow of the water towards Crimea.
In Odesa the SMM observed two gatherings in the city. The first gathering took place at Kulikove Polye, in front of the Trade Union Building which was burnt down on 2 May. About 200 people gathered at the site and approximately 50 police officers were present. One hundred riot police were on standby opposite Kulikove Polye. The SMM noticed 50 military personnel in two buses from the battalion “Gepard Odessa” of the Ukrainian forces. In the evening the crowd at Kulikove Polye had dispersed. The police and military presence remained the same. The other gathering took place at the Duke Richelieu monument, where traditionally supporters of Ukraine’s unity would meet. Approximately 200 people gathered, including five people in uniform. The SMM observed approximately 15 police officers. No incidents were reported.
The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Lviv remained calm.
In Kyiv several “Sotnias” (civil defense groups created to protect Maidan from police forces) publicly announced a clearance day on the Maidan on 31 May, the aim of which was to clean up some empty tents and several barricades. The clearance was opposed by some Maidan members, resulting in tangible tensions during the day. The SMM noticed that several “Self-Defense” activists guarded the north entrance of Maidan. The “Self-Defense” activists deployed two anti-tank obstacles (hedgehog) between the barricades in order to bar the way to the vehicles. The SMM noted that Maidan activists had again set their tent in front of the Ukrainian Government Administration Building (the tent had been physically cleared from the sidewalk on 23 May, but re-erected on 27 May). The SMM monitored approximately 30 unidentified and masked individuals who set tyres on fire and protested at the south entrance of Maidan (Khreshchatyk). One individual had a Molotov cocktail while the “Self-Defense” activists were equipped with sticks, iron bars and anti-riot/protective equipment (body armour; anti-riot police helmets). Heavy vehicles (trucks, bulldozers and excavators) removed the obstacles and barricades in front of the “Valeri Lobanovsky” Stadium. Municipality workers cleaned up the obstacles while “Self-Defense” activists (including masked activists armed with hunting rifles and baseball bats) observed the works. No incidents were reported.