The SMM continued focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. The situation remained volatile in Donetsk and Luhansk. In Kharkiv local authorities reported to the SMM that the number of registered IDPs had doubled since August. The SMM continued to receive reports of false bomb threats in Lviv.
In Donetsk city the SMM did not hear any shelling nor observe any unusual activity.
On 23 October in Debal’tseve (75km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM visited the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) operations room. The SMM met the Ukrainian and Russian representatives of the JCCC. In the room, the SMM also noticed the presence of representatives of the “Donetsk People Republic” (DPR) and the “Luhansk People Republic” (LPR). The SMM noticed that the JCCC representatives present in the room received live reports from the field about cease-fire violations. The JCCC representatives openly shared the incoming reports with each other and were working as a team in order to identify the locations of the possible violations. All the JCCC representatives requested an official meeting with the SMM in order to explore solutions to reduce the ongoing tensions around Donetsk airport.
On 23 October in Talakivka (120km south of Donetsk), a Ukrainian Military commander reported to the SMM by phone an incoming BM-21 “Grad” MRLS (multiple rocket launcher) shelling his checkpoint. The SMM were on patrol at that time and not present at the aforementioned position during the shelling. However, the SMM could hear the shelling while they were patrolling in Talakivka 10km from the Ukrainian checkpoint. The Ukrainian commander told the SMM that he had informed the JCCC about the aforementioned shelling. The SMM did not gather further information about the subsequent actions taken by the JCCC.
Close to Mariupol on 23 October the SMM provided a successful demonstration of the Mission’s civilian unarmed/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for representatives of the JCCC’s Mariupol Sector Headquarters, the media and local authorities. These UAVs will complement the SMM’s monitoring function, including, but not limited, in relation to the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum.
On 23 October in Krimske (50km of Luhansk), the SMM could observe that the Ukrainian forces had retaken the village which is now under full Ukrainian control, as reported by a local Ukrainian commander on 21 October. On the most eastern flank of the village, the SMM spoke with the Ukrainian commander of a newly established checkpoint. The Ukrainian commander reported that his position had not been attacked for the last two days.
On 23 October in Kharkiv the SMM met representatives of Kharkiv Oblast Inter-Agency Co-ordination Center (IACC). The IACC representatives stated there are currently 125,092 IDPs registered in Kharkiv Oblast. The interlocutors added that the number of registered IDPs in Kharkiv Oblast had doubled since August. The interlocutors reported that 689 registered families in Kharkiv Oblast are now benefiting from government assistance in accordance with the new IDP resolution (505).
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Odessa, Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk remained calm.
On 23 October in Chernivtsi the SMM observed 30 individuals (equal representation of male and female adults) gathered on the road between Lviv and Vyzhnytsya district. The protesters were blocking access and the local traffic with a concrete roadblock. The SMM noticed the presence of two uniformed Ukrainian police officers. The protesters said that they were demanding that local authorities urgently repair the local roads. The SMM noticed that the action irritated the local drivers and commuters. The assistant to the deputy governor of Chernivtsi regional administration met the protesters and pledged to repair the road in the near future. The protesters finally peacefully disbanded and cleared the road.
On 23 October in Lviv the SMM spoke with representatives of the City Police who stated that they had received two bomb threat calls during the day. The police officers reported that the calls mentioned the presence of explosive devices at Lviv oblast administration and at one of the branches of a well-known supermarket chain. The police informed the SMM that they had not found any explosive devices after searching all the aforementioned locations.