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.
A representative of the Inter Agency Co-ordination Centre for IDPs, an agency within the State Emergency Services, told the SMM in Kharkiv that there had been a 2.26 % increase in the number of IDPs in the Kharkiv region since 6 November and a 25.14% increase since 30 September. Of those arriving since 6 November (2,555), 1,460 were pensioners.
The SMM met with officers of the General Staffs of Ukraine and Russia within the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) in “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled Luhansk, government-controlled Starobilsk (90km north of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Krasnodon (46km south-east of Luhansk). Officers in all three locations told the SMM that they remained unable to function due to a lack of legal mandate and armoured vehicles.
Doctors at a civilian hospital in government-controlled Mariupol (113km south of Donetsk) told the SMM that three “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) personnel had been admitted on 20 November, suffering from gunshot wounds sustained in fighting in government-controlled Volnovakha (50km south of Donetsk) on 16 November. The doctors said the men – one Russian and two Ukrainians – had been captured following the fighting, and were currently under armed guard. Ukrainian military personnel at the hospital refused to allow the SMM access to the patients.
En route to the JCCC Headquarters in government-controlled Debaltseve (55km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed two craters on the main road, two metres in diameter, not previously seen, consistent with artillery shelling. At the Headquarters, the head of the Ukrainian contingent, General Askarov, said that the head of the Russian Representation to south-east Ukraine, General Lentsov, was travelling to “DPR”-controlled Donetsk to speak with members of the “DPR”.
At the JCCC base in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (55km north-east of Donetsk) Ukrainian and Russian officers agreed that there had been an increase in shelling of Debaltseve, including with Grad missiles. They did not agree on where this shelling originated from. In Svitlodarsk and government-controlled Soledar (77km north of Donetsk), Ukrainian and Russian officers agreed that the security situation in their areas of responsibility was deteriorating.
At the JCCC base in “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (32km south-west of Donetsk) Ukrainian and Russian officers shared their concerns about their safety and security, and restrictions on their freedom of movement. They said that there was sporadic shelling in their area of responsibility, including of Dokuchaevsk (10km south-east of Olenivka, under the control of “DPR”). The SMM heard outgoing shelling from nearby; Ukrainian and Russian officers said that this originated from artillery located approximately 1km away. They said that they were confined to their base due to lack of transport.
The situation remained calm in Dnipropetrovsk.
The president and first deputy president of the Kherson Chamber of Commerce and Industry told the SMM that unclear and underdeveloped legislation regulating the transport of goods to/from Crimea – variously interpreted by different government agencies – posed a significant challenge for businesses trading in and out of Crimea.
The situation remained calm in Odesa.
Two members of an NGO – the Centre for Defence Organization – in Chernivtsi told the SMM that the lustration process was ineffective, designed only to channel people’s yearning for change. They said the wrong people were sometimes being dismissed whilst those who should be lustrated were still in their positions. The allegation is consistent with information supplied to the SMM on 20 November by the chief of the Regional Police Department.
The head of the District Administration and two representatives of the Tax Office in Kosiv (90km south of Ivano-Frankivsk) told the SMM that a rally had taken place in the town on 18 November. They said people had protested against the appointment of a new head of the Tax Office, who previously held the post from 2005 to 2013. They said the protesters wanted to be involved in deciding on the candidate, and they warned that there would be further protests if the new appointee were not removed from the post.
The SMM met the co-ordinator of the Lustration Council of Lviv Region, an organisation established on 17 November in order to co-ordinate the activities of 17 local NGOs dealing with lustration issues. The interlocutor stressed that the council works within the legal framework and does not support so-called “Garbage Lustration”. It instead conducts investigations into public officials and makes its findings public in order to ensure that public pressure is brought to bear on the authorities, and sometimes takes legal proceedings, to support the enforcement of the Law on Lustration.
The SMM’s Chief Monitor met with a group of women’s NGOs and academics in Kyiv to discuss gender issues related to the crisis in the east. The interlocutors shared their concern over unverified reports of gender-based violence, alleged trafficking, and looting affecting women in rural areas outside the control of the Government.