Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 10 December 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and the work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). The SMM witnessed only one incident involving the use of weapons – in the Donetsk region. In Odesa the SMM visited the site of a bomb explosion in the city centre.
On 10 December, in Kharkiv, the SMM observed about 20, mainly elderly, men and women, gathered on Liberty Square to protest against the appointment of foreigners to the cabinet of ministers. The rally, organized by the Labour Kharkiv NGO, had not been authorised by the district administrative court, which had cited concerns of possible provocations. The SMM observed another group of about 20 activists, mostly young, men and women, collecting money for the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (“ATO”), who started shouting at the protesters. Around 40 police officers intervened to separate the two groups. The protesters dispersed after being persuaded by the police to comply with the court decision.
On 10 December, at a checkpoint outside Antratsyt (63 km south of Luhansk), the SMM was denied access to the town by armed personnel affiliated to the so-called “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). While traveling from Lutuhyne (24 km south of Luhansk, outside of government control) to Krasnyi Luch (66 km south of Luhansk, outside of government control), the SMM observed five green trucks, all without number plates.
In Stakhanov (50 km west of Luhansk), the SMM met a local Cossack commander who said that most of his units were from the local area but 12 members were from the Russian Federation. He said that there were about 193,000 residents in the area under his control. He described the humanitarian situation in the area as dire, noting in particular the lack of medicine and food supplies.
On a routine patrol to Novoazovsk (122 km south of Donetsk, outside of government control), the SMM stopped at a checkpoint near Shyrokyne (23 km east of Mariupol), staffed by members of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). They prevented the SMM from moving further, referring to orders received from their chain of command. The SMM complied and tried another route to Novoazovsk. At a checkpoint near Zaichenko (25 km north-east of Mariupol) members of the “DPR” prevented the SMM from moving further, saying they did not have appropriate orders from their higher command.
At the headquarters of the JCCC in Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk), the head of the Russian Representation to south-east Ukraine, Lt Gen Aleksandr Lentsov, and Ukrainian and Russian chiefs of staff and other officers were present, along with members of the “DPR” and “LPR”. The SMM was told that the head of the Ukrainian side of the JCCC, Lt Gen Voldymyr Askarov, had travelled to Kiev. During the SMM’s visit no shelling was heard. Ukrainian and Russian officers told the SMM they had not recorded any serious ceasefire violations in the 24-hour period starting at 10:00 on 9 December. They had, however, recorded 13 reported incidents involving small arms and light weapons at Donetsk Airport, Sokolniky, Nikishyne, Shchastya, Smile and Vesela Gora. They said that they were following up on these incidents.
In Donetsk city, the SMM visited the Kuibyishivskyi district, where it observed damage to an apartment block caused by shelling. The SMM spoke to one of the families whose apartment had sustained moderate damage. A woman, introducing herself as the owner, said the area had been shelled on 8 December at about 17:30 hrs. The SMM observed that the windows of the balcony were broken and that the family had put plastic sheeting in the frames. She said her family was terrified. The woman also said that due to fears of a recurrence of the shelling she had not taken her daughter to school since October.
Approximately six kilometres east of Donetsk, en route to Snizhne (70 km east of Donetsk), the SMM observed a convoy of six green, unmarked military vehicles, five multi-purpose light-armoured towing vehicles and one Kamaz truck, heading west towards Donetsk.
Upon arrival in “DPR”-controlled Torez (67 km east of Donetsk), the SMM heard outgoing artillery fire originating from a south-westerly direction around one kilometre from the SMM’s position.
On 9 December, in Kherson, the SMM met the deputy head of the Social Policy Department of Suvorovskiy district who said that in November about 500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) had applied for assistance on behalf of their families, of whom 110 have already received the first instalments. The deputy head explained the procedure for processing requests, consisting of several steps involving the Ministry of Social Policy offices at all levels. The interlocutor also stated that the minimum period between the registration of an IDP and the transfer of money to his/her bank account is three weeks. The registration process requires an application form to be completed, the possession of a local passport with the address of a permanent residence in Donbas or Crimea, and a birth certificate for children.
On 10 December, in Odesa, the SMM visited a building that, according to media reports, had been subject to a bomb attack on 10 December at 01.30 hrs. The building housed an organization that collected donations for Ukrainian soldiers deployed in the east. The owner told the SMM that police patrols had reacted within five minutes, cordoned off the area and begun an investigation. The police had categorized the incident as an act of terrorism and the investigation had been taken up by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). He said that there had been no threats or threatening calls before this incident but mentioned an attempt to fire-bomb the building on 4 September.
The deputy head of the Social Protection Department of the Regional Administration in Vinnytsya (300 km north of Chernivtsi) told the SMM that there had been an increase in the registration of IDPs in the Vinnytsya region since mid-November. She explained that IDPs who had not registered under the previous system were now registering in a unified register, and that staff and students of the Donetsk University, which has relocated to Vinnytsya, had been registered as IDPs. She also said that new IDPs had been arriving since the government had stopped payment of social benefits to inhabitants of areas outside its control.
In Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Lviv the situation remained calm.
In Kyiv on 9 December, the SMM attended a news conference organized by a Vinnytsya-based NGO, We Are Together, and the media centre, Vlasno. Members of the NGO were among those who had tried to enter the Vinnytsya Regional Council building on 6 December (see Daily Report of 8 December). The speakers rejected recent accusations of separatism, and said that they wanted to defend the principle of direct political participation.
Антитеррористическая операция на востоке Украины
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