Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine - based on information received until 18:00 hrs, 15 May (Kyiv time)
This update is provided for the media and the public.
In Donetsk and Luhansk the situation remained volatile. Other parts of Ukraine remained calm.
The situation in Kharkiv remained calm.
In Luhansk region the situation remained volatile. The Head of Regional Police Department informed the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) that the Regional Police can only enforce law and order in the northern parts of Luhansk region. According to him the remaining territory is under control of several irregular armed groups. According to the Head of the Regional Police, the irregular armed groups comprise approximately 1,000 individuals armed with a variety of weapons ranging from Kalashnikov assault rifles to anti-aircraft missile launchers. Seventy illegal checkpoints have been established throughout the region.
In Donetsk the situation remained volatile. The SMM observed that at both the Donetsk Military Prosecutor’s Office and the Donetsk Television Broadcasting Centre the “Donetsk People’s Republic” flag was flying. The latter also had the flag of forces opposed to the government, the “OPLOT” organization. The television station was barricaded and guarded by about ten OPLOT members, who were on high alert. Close to the barracks in Donetsk Military Unit 3037, concrete block barricades were observed on both roadsides. In addition, the barracks was flying the flags of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “People’s Militia of Donbas”.
On the northwest entrance to Donetsk city supporters of so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” stopped the SMM at the main roadblock with the explanation that permission from superiors based in Donetsk Regional Administration Building would be needed. The SMM was able to proceed after one hour.
On the way from Donetsk to Mariupol on the road H-20, the SMM observed traffic police officers checking cars coming to Donetsk and personnel with “Battalion Vostok” insignia armed with AK rifles and grenade launchers. At the time the SMM passed the checkpoint, a truck arrived with about 20-armed persons wearing St. George ribbons.
SMM reached the eastern checkpoint of Mariupol city on the M-14 road direction to Novoazovsk. The SMM observed three BMP-2’s carrying Ukrainian flags. National Guard staff were checking the vehicles.
Forces opposed to the government stopped the SMM at a roadblock at the entrance to Horlivka. SMM was asked to get out of the vehicle, about 8 activists approached SMM and the vehicle was searched (trunk, bags, compartments). The activists were in civilian clothes; some of them were carrying pistols. The SMM was allowed to leave the roadblock after 30 minutes.
The SMM met, in Dobropillya (100 kilometres northwest of Donetsk), a representative of the leadership of the opponents of the centrally-appointed authorities in Donetsk. The representative underlined that the opponents of the Government accepted the SMM and their mandate.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk remained calm.
In Kherson the general situation remained calm.
In Odesa the situation was assessed as calm. The SMM observed that the Ukrainian military have withdrawn from the two key checkpoints immediately to the west of Odessa town, at “Dva Stovpy “and “7th Kilometre” checkpoints, the sandbagged defences remain in place. Ukrainian military are now manning checkpoints at Myrne (15 kilometres from Odessa) and Mayaky (38 kilometres west of Odessa) on the E87/M15. Ukrainian military are also manning two checkpoints on either side of Zatoka (53 kilometres southwest of Odessa).
The situation in Chernivtsi was calm.
In Lviv the situation was calm. The SMM met with the chairperson of the Congress of Russian Community in western Ukraine and the representative of the business community. Reportedly, the Congress is comprised of 2,000 registered members and is an umbrella organization for 28 registered Russian community organizations. The representatives were displeased with the lack of representation of the Russian community at either municipal or regional level, the lack of Russian speaking kindergartens was named as one of their concerns. As for religious freedoms, the interlocutors mentioned their inability to obtain a plot of land for building a Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). They referred to a decrease in the number of Russian language and literature classes. The SMM met with the head and deputy head of the Polish Cultural Society of Lviv region. The interlocutors informed the SMM that no major negative incidents occurred that would have impacted the Polish community. As for the use of minority languages, the community leaders assessed the situation as satisfactory.