Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 20 August 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
Fighting in and around Donetsk continues, as living conditions deteriorate for the civilian population. The SMM met internally displaced persons (IDPs) leaving Luhansk. In Chernivtsi soldiers protest against mobilization.
The police in Kharkiv told the SMM that four young soldiers, aged between 21 and 37, were arrested at the city’s central railway station. The soldiers were heading on leave from the area of conflict to their homes in Lviv, and were found travelling with weapons (grenades, Makarov pistols and other ammunition). A criminal investigation was launched.
The police also told the SMM that, due to rumours spread on social networks about a possible explosive device in Malichev metro station, the station was evacuated, closed from 07:00 am onwards and searched. No bomb was found.
The head of the police in Starobilsk (100 km north of Luhansk) informed the SMM of new abduction cases linked to the “Aidar” battalion. The interlocutor explained that the main problem facing police officers during investigations into these abductions, is that the victims mostly do not wish to press charges against the perpetrators, or give any information regarding the location of their detention. Instead of involving the police, victims chose to leave the village or even the country.
The SMM met IDPs fleeing Luhansk at the Shchastya checkpoint (25 km to the north). Most of those interviewed by the SMM were not able to confirm the presence of Ukrainian forces in the centre of Luhansk city, as reported by some media sources on 19 August. One interlocutor told the SMM that different irregular armed groups are fighting for control of the city.
In Donetsk the SMM recorded frequent explosions consistent with shelling on various parts of the city’s outskirts. For the past two days the city has been without water supply, reportedly due to mortar attacks. Electrical pumps for the water mains are located in the city’s outskirts, at the heart of the fighting, thus making repairs difficult.
In Dnipropetrovsk the SMM met with representatives of the NGO “Helsinki Human Rights Union”, partly funded by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Most of the cases the NGO is dealing with are related to the situation in the east, in particular concerning military officers investigated for their decisions on the battlefield, the rights of the dead, and the status of families of the fallen. The interlocutors informed the SMM of a case regarding an army commander who is detained and being prosecuted for his decisions on the battlefield. The absence of a definition related to the current military situation in the criminal code and the fact that martial law has not yet been declared, according to the NGO representatives, complicates judicial proceedings, as there are no clear legal indications on which law should be applied concerning conduct on the battlefield.
In Kherson and Odessa the situation remained calm.
In Chernivtsi, where protests against mobilization continue, the military prosecutor informed the SMM that his office and the military authorities have organized meetings with protesters. The aim is to explain the procedures for mobilization, and the difficulties that the army is facing with the provision of supplies to soldiers deployed in the east. He said that, among the protesters, there are two groups of soldiers: those who have been in areas of conflict and refuse to return to the frontline, and draftees who have already undergone medical checks and are declared unable to serve in the Air Force. The second group was given orders to redeploy to military barracks in other regions but are refusing to comply. He stated that many files have been opened, but no cases of prosecution for desertion were sent to court thus far.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk remained calm.
The SMM observed a military ceremony, held at Lviv airport on 19 August, to honour eleven soldiers from the region who were recently killed in fighting. The ceremony was attended by the mayor of Lviv and the rector of the Land Forces Military Academy. Around 400 people gathered in front of the airport building.
In Kyiv the SMM spoke with several Maidan activists who continue to gather every evening at Independence Square. The activists stated that the agreement they had made with the city authorities regarding the clearance of Maidan had only been to remove the tents from the street. In their understanding, Mayor Klitschko had promised that tents not causing an obstruction to traffic could remain. According to the activists Mayor Klitschko has not delivered on his promise.
Антитеррористическая операция на востоке Украины
Музей миротворчества он-лайн