Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 16 November 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 activities of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC).
The SMM monitored a pro-unity rally at Kharkiv’s Liberty Square, with some eighty mostly young activists of mixed gender. About 14 individuals appeared masked, in camouflage uniform, and wearing the black and white emblem of the Kharkiv-based patriotic organization “Yarilo”. Local Euromaidan leaders praised the G20 for their criticism of President Putin, expressed fear of further “Russian interference” in Ukraine and called upon the central government to pay attention to an increased threat of separatism in Kharkiv. The event was monitored by the police and ended peacefully.
On 15 November, at the invitation of the villagers, the SMM visited government-controlled Mykhailiuky (68km north-east of Luhansk) and attended a harvest festival with 150 men and women of all ages. The villagers stated that they felt more secure with the presence of the SMM and said that they felt intimidated by military convoys frequently passing the village.
On 16 November the SMM visited the Ukrainian checkpoints near Lysychansk (90km west of Luhansk) and Vrubivka (74km west of Luhansk) where it was informed that the situation was calm.
On 15 and 16 November the SMM visited the headquarters of the JCCC in Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), where Ukrainian and Russian Federation (RF) officers worked together with members of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). The shelling of Horlivka (43km north-east of Donetsk) on 15 November, which allegedly resulted in several civilian casualties including children, was acknowledged by all participants of the JCCC.
On 15 November the SMM visited a residential area of Debaltseve which had reportedly been shelled on 14 November. The SMM observed heavy damage to residential buildings in the area of Chakovo street.
On 15 and 16 November the SMM conducted two patrols to a total of ten villages under the control of the government in the southern Donetsk region. On 15 November the SMM visited Mararivka, Neskuchne, Oktyabr, Urozhaine, Staromaiorske, Velika Novosilka, Vremivka and Zavitne Bazhannya (75-80km west by south-west of Donetsk). On 16 November the SMM visited the areas of Chermalyk (72km south of Donetsk) and Orlovske (75km south of Donetsk). In all villages patrolled, the security situation remained calm, consistent with the general security situation over the last two days in most of the south part of Donetsk region.
On 15 November the SMM facilitated dialogue between the Dutch MH17 recovery team and members of the “DPR”, with a view to concluding removal of wreckage from the MH17 crash site in Grabovo (58km east of Donetsk). On 16 November the SMM monitored the process of removal of wreckage by the recovery team, which was assisted by about 30 personnel from a “special police unit” of the “DPR”. At 11:35hrs the SMM heard artillery fire at a distance of 10-12km, with a single round impacting about 2km north of the site.
In Dnipropetrovsk the situation was calm.
On 14 November the SMM attended a joint conference of the Ukrainian state border guards and the Ukrainian customs service in Kherson, titled “Cultural Standards of Border Control and Ways to Further Improvement”. The conference focused on modalities of crossing between inland Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. Reportedly, over the past months, several incidents involving breaches of applicable rules and regulations by border guards (BG) and custom officers have been made public by persons crossing the administrative boundary line (ABL). In response to the above-mentioned claims, the BGs have installed monitoring teams that frequent the ABL.
On 15 November the SMM observed a public demonstration of about 100 participants between 30-60 years of age and mixed gender at the city administration building in Odesa, where protestors raised concerns over corrupt construction works proceedings and development around the city. The demonstrators were challenging the construction plans on the basis of environmental, historical/architectural and public use considerations and called for full disclosure and accountability by city authorities. They requested longer-term action via two petitions and circulated a participant sign-up list for future demonstrations. About 40 police officers monitored the event, which ended peacefully.
On 16 November the SMM monitored the weekly gathering of pro-Russian activists at Kulikove Pole square in Odesa, with 80-100 mostly senior people of mixed gender. The usual mourning group of May 2 events victims, consisting of 13 members, was walking around the square. The event was monitored by the police and ended peacefully.
In Chernivtsi the situation was calm.
On 15 November the SMM met the regional co-ordinator of the national women’s NGO “Guard of Ukrainian Women” in Ivano-Frankivsk who said that they had started to organize self-defense and military training for women willing to go to Donbas to fight for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
The SMM observed a conference on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Lviv, hosted by the Ukrainian Catholic University. Mental health professionals from the private and public sectors, as well as policy experts from Ukraine and abroad, discussed PTSD in those affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
On 15 November the SMM monitored a protest at Kyiv’s Mikhaylovska Square, which was attended by approximately 300 participants of mixed age and gender. The protestors voiced their solidarity with Georgia against the Russian Federation’s policies. Many speakers, including different Ukrainian, Polish and Georgian activists, representatives of the Union of Donbas Miners and the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, addressed the crowd with patriotic speeches, which were streamed to Tbilisi where a similar meeting was taking place. The event, monitored by the police and the National Guards, ended peacefully after 2.5hrs.
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