The SMM continued to observe the situation in regard to the Minsk agreement with a focus on the non-use of weapons.
At the Shchastya filtration point (25km northwest of Luhansk city) the SMM saw more traffic compared to previous days. More than 70 cars and hundreds of people were using the possibility to leave Luhansk city. In Shchastya the SMM spoke with the Ukrainian commander near the bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River. He reported that on 9 September he did not observe any significant incidents in regard to the Minsk agreement on non-use of weapons within Shchastya but he did hear shooting in the distance towards Stanitsa Luhanska. The SMM proceeded towards Stanitsa Luhanska (25km northeast of Luhansk) and entered territory controlled by the “Luhansk People’s Republic (“LPR”) –the southern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River. No significant incidents were reported by the “LPR”. The SMM observed 50 to 60 civilian vehicles per hour, departing and arriving into “LPR”-controlled area. The Ukrainian military commander at a nearby checkpoint (CP) likewise did not report any incidents. The Ukrainian military reported that at 20:30hrs, on 10 September, a civilian car drove into a marked but unguarded minefield. One civilian was killed, and one Ukrainian soldier seriously wounded in the blast. The SMM saw two destroyed cars and human remains at the site.
In Stanitsa Luhanska, at the last Ukrainian CP, the Ukrainian commander informed the SMM that there had been no shelling but that he had heard shooting from the south-western part of “LPR”-controlled territory. The SMM then continued to the “LPR” CP behind the Siverskyi Donets River. The “LPR” CP commander likewise reported no problems during the last 24 hours, and attributed the shooting in the distance to target practice by the “LPR”.
The SMM monitored the situation in Donetsk city and around the international airport. On the way to the airport, the SMM observed that the main bridge was closed for traffic and guarded by soldiers from “Vostok” battalion (affiliated to the “Donetsk People’s Republic”-“DPR”).
In Avdeevka (15km north of Donetsk) the situation appeared relatively calm. The SMM saw that a couple of shops were open. Electricity supply was partially restored, though surrounding villages were still not supplied due to repair works. The SMM spoke with the commander of a Ukrainian CP located at the south exit of Avdeevka, who stated that for the past days the situation was calm and quiet, though shelling and explosions could be heard farther southwest. The SMM could hear artillery coming from a southwest direction for approximately 30 minutes at the CP at the eastern exit of Andeeveka. The SMM spoke to local inhabitants who said that schools and kindergartens remained closed.
In Orlivka (26km north of Donetsk), a local resident stated that the fields south of the village were shelled with Grad rockets and mortars. The SMM could not confirm the shelling, as no shelling craters were visible. However, the SMM observed one unexploded ordnance, a Multiple Launch Rocket System rocket.
In Karlivka (30km northwest of Donetsk), the SMM observed that schools were operational and the situation appeared to be calm. At a Ukrainian military CP the SMM was informed that there had been shelling in the night of 10 to 11 September on the neighbouring villages. Leaving the village, the SMM spoke to the military personnel from the Ukrainian Army on the H15 road CP, who said that the CP was attacked during the night of 10 to 11 September with two mortars located approximately 500 meters north of their location; the shelling lasted for 40 minutes, according to the interlocutor.
At the Ukrainian CP on the road from Debaltsevo towards the Russian Federation the commander stated that on 11 September around 08:00hrs, two Ukrainian soldiers in armoured personnel carrier (APC) were shot from the direction of Vulegirsk supposedly controlled by irregular armed forces. The injured were sent to the hospital in Artemivsk (80km north of Donetsk). The SMM visited the hospital in Artemivsk and learnt that one soldier died of injuries and the other one survived.
The SMM met with a representative of DTEK Electrical Company in the Donetsk region who presented the report on “Restoring Electricity Supply in Donetsk region” saying that as of 10 September, power engineering specialists using specially equipped vehicles were working on electricity restoration in the Donetsk region. All information about the status of the electricity supply provided by this company was available on their public website. Electricity was restored to 30 towns in the Donetsk region. The representative explained that in the region 132 settlements remained without power, either partially or completely. The first section of the pumping facility of Yuzhno-Donbassky water line was still without power, thus water was not supplied to Krasnoarmeysk and Velikoanadol filtering stations. Donetsk filtering station, Novostozhkovskyi water juncture, and Kirovskyi water juncture were left without power.
In Mariupol on 10 September the SMM observed a live concert “in support of the defenders of the city”. The event was attended by 100 participants (aged from 20 to 50 years, with equal representation of women and men). A significant number of police and perhaps two dozen “Azov” battalion soldiers in full combat gear were present. On the other hand, security restrictions were introduced in the area, on 10 September, by Ukrainian headquarters of the security operation “for the purpose of providing for national security, promoting peace, contributing to the country’s defense, and countering terrorism”. Vehicle and personal movement restrictions were enforced from 20:00hrs until 6:00hrs. Other limitations include hunting, fishing, public assembly, vehicle speed, and movement without identification documents, using radio stations, taking pictures and recording videos of military objects. The area covered by the restrictions include several districts of the Donetsk region (Pershotravneviy, Novoazovsky and Telmanovsky), but did not include the city of Mariupol. The Ukrainian army stated that the restrictions were not a curfew, and in no way limited citizens’ rights. The SMM visited several CPs around Mariupol city (15km northeast of the city centre) and was told by local residents living in the respective area that they had heard gun fire during the night 10 to 11 September coming from the southeast direction.
The Director of the Regional Employment Centre in Zaporizhzhia city (67km south of Dnipropetrovsk city) told the SMM that the region was suffering from unemployment. The interlocutor said that Zaporizhzhia’s industries were not working to their full capacity, partly because exports to Russia have decreased sharply. In the case of “Motor Sich” – the largest employer in Zaporizhzhia, a manufacturer of helicopters, aeroplane engines – sales to Russia had been affected by the imposed sanctions. According to the interlocutor, “Motor Sich” was on the verge of ceasing production and laying off 16,000 people as a result. The unemployment rate in Zaporizhzhia Region was 7.7 % and more businesses were closing than opening.
In Mykolaiv (70km northwest of Kherson) the region’s first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine explained to the SMM that, despite required documentation stipulated in the electoral law, the party had not received a certified copy of the party`s registration certificate and charter by the Ministry of Justice. These documents were needed in order to register candidates for the elections. He criticized limitations imposed on his party regarding campaigning on local TV channels.
In Kharkiv, Odessa, Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk the situation remained calm.
In Lviv, the SMM attended a meeting between Crimean Tatar IDPs and Refat Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, at the Regional Department for Social Protection. The aim of the meeting was to establish co-operation among all Crimean Tatars. The head of the Mejlis said that an umbrella organization had been established in Kyiv to support Crimean Tatars at the local level and co-ordinate between regional associations. The interlocutor informed the SMM that a representation office of the Crimea Mejlis would be opened in Kyiv.
In Kyiv the SMM met with the former editor of the Crimean based magazine “Zerkalonedeli” who said that, in her opinion, freedom of the press in Crimea was severely limited. According to the interlocutor, accreditation for meetings with officials was only provided to journalists complying with the de facto authorities. The journalist stated that all Crimean media companies were currently still registered in Ukraine, but, as of next year, Russian legislation would be applied, and expected that registration of media companies with critical political views would become impossible.
On 11 September the SMM spoke on the phone with a member of the Mejlis who had difficulties when crossing the administrative boundary line (ABL) in Armyansk from Crimea towards mainland Ukraine. The Mejlis member was, at the time of the conversation, on his way to Lviv where he would seek medical treatment. The interlocutor said that his intention was to return to Crimea but again expected difficulties at the ABL.