The SMM monitored a simultaneous release of prisoners in the Donetsk region. The Kharkiv region “has exhausted” its capacity to absorb more internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to the regional social protection department. Protestors in Kyiv demand lustration of government.
In Kharkiv the regional administration informed the SMM that a convoy of 26 trucks carrying Ukrainian humanitarian aid had left the city for Luhansk city. The convoy was accompanied by traffic police.
The SMM met with the regional deputy head of the social protection department who said that the Kharkiv region had not been prepared for a big influx of IDPs coming from the conflict zone hence there was no co-ordinated effort to face the needs of IDPs. Efforts were made at the district level and in an ad hoc manner, the interlocutor said. According to the interlocutor, the Kharkiv region “has exhausted” its capacity to absorb additional IDPs; the lack of a unified IDP database hinders the capacity to properly plan and respond to different categories of IDPs, particularly the most vulnerable categories, such as children with disabilities.
The SMM monitored a simultaneous release of hostages/detainees in Novobakhmutovka (15 km north of Donetsk city). Ukrainian military forces – accompanied by the SMM and travelling from Kramatorsk (97 km north of Donetsk city) – and irregular armed forces of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) – travelling from Donetsk city, and also accompanied by the SMM – met and each handed over 26 people to one another. The release of the hostages/detainees was discussed at the expert level and agreed upon at the Minsk meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on 31 July 2014 with “DPR” representatives.
At 13:30 the SMM heard a series of loud explosions consistent with shelling, and subsequently observed what appeared to be two bodies between 300 to 500 metres from the SMM’s initial location in the city centre of Donetsk. People at the scene told the SMM that there had also been a number of people injured. The SMM noted that an apartment on the fourth floor of a residential block had been destroyed and that all windows at the back of a building across the road had been shattered following what appeared to have been a mortar shell impact in the backyard of the building. At a nearby street, several windows and the entrance of a maternity clinic were damaged from what appeared to have been a mortar shell impact in the nearby yard. The SMM observed no military facilities in the vicinity.
The lack of electricity and internet coverage in the Luhansk region prevented the SMM team in Luhansk from sending its report. Reporting will be resumed once coverage is re-established; or an alternative method is found.
The situation in Dnepropetrovsk remained calm.
The SMM visited the train station in Novooleksiivka (200 km southwest of Kherson city). A Ukrainian border guard at the train station said that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) subjects passengers who are considered to be ‘suspicious’ to a secondary check. He explained that a group of several male passengers would be considered as suspicious, whereas families or women travelling would not be checked. He also mentioned that each day there are various cases of passengers travelling to and from Crimea, who are denied passage due to the lack of proper documentation. The SMM interviewed one male passenger who was travelling with a single mother and two children. They were unable to continue their vacation trip to Crimea as the children only had copies of their birth certificates and were required to present the originals (only children accompanied by both parents do not have to carry original documentation). Rejections of entry are registered by SBU and those passengers arriving from Crimea who were denied entry were put on the next train back to their point of origin. The SMM was told that rejected travellers were not given a formal decision but a verbal notification.
The situation in Odessa remained calm.
The SMM observed approximately 50-60 people protesting at the military barracks in Chernivtsi city. The large majority of protesters were female (mothers, daughters and wives of the draftees). A protestor stated that those drafted were going to be sent to Lviv for further training and then possibly deployed to eastern Ukraine. Reportedly, the military authorities informed family members that they have to file a formal complaint with the local prosecutor’s office in order to oppose draft lists and deployment plans, they added. Family members of the draftees stated that they could not afford to hire attorneys but would still file complaints. The SMM observed blankets and sleeping bags in front of the barracks and protesters confirmed their readiness to stay night and day at the site.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv remained calm.
In Kyiv the SMM monitored the gathering of about 1,000 people in front of the parliament by “AutoMaidan” and “Volya”, the political party of Y. Sobolev who heads the national committee on lustration. The demonstration focused primarily on lustration within the current government. The organizers said that this was the third event of this kind and that each event was attracting more participants. There were at least 100 police and anti-riot police officers around the parliament building.