Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 18 August 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
Fighting in the north-eastern part of the Donetsk region and the south-eastern part of the Luhansk region continued. The SMM visited Mariupol – an industrial port city in the south of the Donetsk region – and found the situation to be calm. The SMM was informed that some internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are moving to Crimea.
The SMM was informed by the deputy head of Zmiyiv (38 km south of Kharkiv) local police about an incident which occurred in the town on 16 August during a festival organized by a Verkhovna Rada (the national parliament) deputy from the Party of Regions, which commemorated the liberation of the city from German occupation,. Prior to this event, activists of the Kharkiv ‘Auto-Maidan’ movement had sent memos to district and town administrations claiming that the festival was inappropriate, given the fact that there was a military operation in the neighbouring Luhansk and Donetsk regions. One protestor later threw iodine at the MP. ‘Auto-Maidan’ activists hung Ukrainian flags around town and left peacefully in the evening, the police said. The politician, interviewed later by the SMM, accused the police of being completely inactive during the events.
On 17 August, in the evening, the SMM monitored two rallies in the city centre of Kharkiv, one pro-unity, the other pro-federalism. Around 250 predominantly young people participating in the first event gathered in the centre of Liberty square, holding Ukrainian, Civil Self-Defence and Svoboda party flags. Posters read: ‘We are self-government’; ‘End corruption’; ‘Pay your taxes, serve the country and help our soldiers!’ They collected money for soldiers serving in Donbas as well as for IDPs. Around UAH 15,000 (approximately 860 Euro) was raised, according to organizers. At the same time around 100 supporters of federalism in Ukraine, mainly elderly women, gathered near the Lenin statue and called for peace in Donbas. A cordon of around 50 police separated both groups. Both rallies were non-violent.
The SMM was informed by the Head of the Press Office of Luhansk city administration, that Luhansk mayor, Serhiy Kravchenko, who was suspected of ‘separatism’ and detained on 7 August by members of the 24th voluntary battalion Aidar (see SMM daily reports of 8 August, of 11 August, of 16 August) was released over the weekend of 16-17 August. The mayor himself confirmed to the SMM that he had been released.
Fighting around Donetsk city continued – the SMM heard repeated explosions in various parts of the city’s outskirts.
The SMM monitored Mariupol’s (113 km south of Donetsk) centre and found the overall security situation in this industrial port city to be calm. A local civil society activist told the SMM that the situation in the city has become stable. He informed the SMM that no mobilization took place in Mariupol as it was considered in the zone of conflict; however, volunteers joined freely and were not turned down. Finally, he added that the city would soon have a shortage in capacity to provide the necessary support to IDPs – unofficially, there are around 20,000 IDPs in Mariupol. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently more than 4,000 registered IDPs in the city.
The situation in Dnepropetrovsk was calm.
The SMM visited on 17 August a checkpoint at the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between Ukraine’s mainland and the Crimea peninsula in Chonhar (217 km south-east of Kherson). About 60 cargo trucks and 10 small passenger vehicles were waiting to cross over to the peninsula. The SMM gained access to the middle of the neutral zone and also saw a dense line of vehicles there. Ukrainian Border Guards thought that the flow of IDPs moving from the Donbas region to Crimea still remained high. According to them, during the 24 hours alone preceding the SMM visit, 55 buses full of people escaping the area of fighting in Donbas, from Donbas, crossed from Ukraine’s mainland into the Crimean peninsula.
The Ukrainian border guards at another ABL checkpoint, near Strilkove (239 km south-east of Kherson), claimed that there were frequent minor provocations against them from the Crimean side, such as laser pointing in night hours and full combat alert announcements. The SMM was approached by a woman at this checkpoint, who said that her son, an activist supporting Ukraine’s unity, had disappeared in Crimea on 26 May. She feared that he was imprisoned by the de facto authorities of Crimea.
The situation in Odessa was calm.
Protests in Chernivtsi against mobilization (see SMM daily reports of 18 August, of 16 August, of 15 August, and of 14 August) continued – the SMM observed 34 tents erected in front of the Chernivtsi military barracks and about 120 persons gathered around them. The number of tents and protestors has substantially increased compared to previous days.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, and Kyiv was calm.
Антитеррористическая операция на востоке Украины
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