Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 24 August 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
Celebrations for Independence Day were held across the country on 24 August. In Luhansk and Donetsk fighting continues to impact on the civilian population. In Donetsk the SMM observed a group of captive men being paraded on the main square.
The SMM observed Independence Day celebrations in Zmiiv (45 km south-west of Kharkiv), which passed off calmly. In the city the railway police informed the SMM that an investigation is being conducted into an incident which took place 23 August, when unknown perpetrators placed explosives on the rail tracks in a nearby village. The explosion damaged the rail tracks but did not impact rail activity.
On 24 August the SMM was able to access and monitor the situation in Luhansk city, where it observed the impact of ongoing fighting (See Spot Report of 25 August).
In Shchastya (24 km north of Luhansk) the SMM met with the Commander of the “Aidar” battalion, who stated that he had appointed on his own initiative, and without formal approval, “Military Administrators” in the towns of Shchastya, Starobilsk, Novoaidar, Lutuhyne and Severodonetsk. He explained his decision saying that the police are corrupt and the civilian authorities ineffective.
On 24 August the SMM observed in Donetsk city centre two events organized by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). The first event, a “Memorial Service for the Victims of Neo-aggression of the Ukrainian Regime against the People of Novorossiya” was attended by some 50 people, mostly elderly, men and women. The second took place on Lenin Square, where the SMM observed a display of a number of burnt and damaged military vehicles allegedly seized from the Ukrainian Army by the “DPR” in the fighting. The SMM noted around 1,000 people on Lenin Square with flags of the Russian Federation, “Novorossiya”, “DPR” and St. George. “DPR” representatives paraded a group of men, said to be Ukrainian captives, into the square. The SMM counted 57 men, forced to march in three columns on the square, with their heads bowed. The crowd was chanting loudly “fascists-fascists-fascists” as the men were being paraded. The SMM noted that three street-cleaning vehicles followed behind, washing the asphalt where the men had walked.
The SMM continued to monitor the impact of ongoing fighting in Donetsk. On 24 August in the Kalininskyi district, in the northern part of the city of Donetsk, the SMM visited the regional hospital. The administrator on duty informed the SMM that earlier on the same day, six shells had impacted the area, four of which had, according to the interlocutor, hit the city morgue, the funeral service building and the polyclinic. Despite the damage, the polyclinic was still functioning, with no interruptions to water and electricity supply.
In Dnipropetrovsk the situation was calm. The SMM observed a number of events marking Independence Day.
The SMM was informed by the head of Kherson customs that there had been little contact with their counterparts across the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) on the Crimean peninsula. He also said that the Ukrainian government had funded Kherson customs with 11 million UAH (around 620,000 EUR), while another 4 million UAH (around 227,000 EUR) of customs revenue would be spent on infrastructure. The interlocutor stated that Kherson customs had planned to employ 114 additional staff in order to cover the ABL on a 24/7 basis. He also explained that, whilst the current customs code did not contain any legal provisions related to the ABL, the draft law to establish a Free Economic Zone (FEZ) in Crimea, adopted on 14 August by the Ukrainian Parliament but yet to be signed by the President, would provide the legal framework to regulate ABL crossing procedures.
Independence Day celebrations passed off peacefully in Odessa, where the SMM observed a ceremony in Shevchencko Park and a human chain, from the Port to the Duke via the Potemkin steps, with people in national dress. The President attended a naval parade in the harbour and gave a brief speech. The SMM noted a large police presence in the city.
Independence Day celebrations were observed also in Chernivtsi where around 150 people, mainly youngsters, gathered on the city’s central square. The SMM also noted that the 35 tents placed in front of the city’s military barracks as part of the ongoing protest against mobilization, remain in place.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk remained calm.
The SMM met with Lviv deputy governor for humanitarian affairs, appointed in May this year, and was informed that the main concerns expressed by minority groups, around 27 officially registered in the region, are the need for community premises and the requests for financial support for their projects. The deputy governor expressed his intention to convoke another consultative gathering with minority groups in September, similar to the one organized in July.
On 24 August the SMM in Kyiv monitored the Independence Day military parade at Kreshchatik (the main street in Kyiv). The event passed off peacefully with around 5,000 spectators, many in Ukrainian national costumes, with national flags.
Антитеррористическая операция на востоке Украины
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