Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 24 September 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM continued to monitor the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol/Memorandum. In Kyiv, in a large demonstration, protesters threatened the authorities with a “New Maidan” after the Central Election Commission refused to register members of the “Volya” party for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The SMM observed in Kharkiv on 24 September that the statue of a Soviet politician, placed on one of the city’s squares, had been vandalised and removed from its base by unknown individuals. The police informed the SMM that the incident happened the night before, and that a criminal investigation has been launched on the basis of alleged “hooliganism”. The police also said that since the middle of August, eight similar incidents had taken place in Kharkiv, all targeting statues of Lenin.
On 23 September the SMM met in Luhansk city with representatives of the so-called “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) to follow up on issues related to the implementation of the Minsk Memorandum. The interlocutors stated that they would need a few more days to provide the SMM with relevant information related to the implementation of the document. On 24 September the SMM met in Donetsk with representatives of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR’) who stated that a decision on some of the provisions contained in the Minsk Memorandum would be made within a few days. On 24 September the SMM met with representatives of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence who stated that they are working on a plan to effectively implement the provisions of the Minsk Memorandum.
In Luhansk city a school director informed the SMM that on 1 September 327 students had started the school year, down from about 1,200 students in the previous year. Due to limited electricity supply, they have 30-minutes lessons instead of 45-minute lessons. According to the director, all the 73 school’s teachers have returned. The SMM also met with the “LPR” head of the education department of Luhansk City who stated that seven schools are currently operating in the city, with approximately 2,000 pupils. The interlocutor added that there are 1,663 people in the education department, down from the 7,906 that were working there before the conflict. The interlocutor stated that budget plans have been passed to the so-called “LPR” ministry of education.
On 24 September the SMM monitored the area of Gorskoe, Zolote and Popasna (all around 80km west of Luhansk) where it observed no movement of military personnel, equipment or weaponry. Local residents in the village of Gorskoe mentioned that they had heard shelling during the night hours but were not able to indicate the exact direction and number. Local residents of Zolote village, both men and women, informed the SMM that in the morning of 20 September shelling from the direction of Ukrainian positions killed a civilian adult woman, who was a local resident. The SMM was shown the place of the incident and saw a crater, with a diameter of one and a half meters, beside a small destroyed garden shed where the woman was allegedly killed. Three villagers said that following the shelling of the village from the direction of the Ukrainian positions, a house was entirely destroyed by shelling which came from the direction of the “LPR” positions. Local villagers also stated that “LPR” representatives, manning a checkpoint (CP) on the road between Zolote and Pervomajsk, had not allowed anybody to travel from Zolote to Pervomajsk, with the exception of those with a residence permit for Pervomajsk.
In Donetsk, during the night hours of 23 September, the SMM heard a series of 11 explosions consistent with GRAD shelling, but could not ascertain the origin or the direction. On 24 September, between 18:00 and 18:42 hrs, the SMM heard a series of 53 intermittent explosions, which appeared to be consistent with mortar shelling and concentrated in the northern part of the city, where the airport is located. The SMM could not verify the situation at the airport area due to the security situation.
The SMM conducted a visit to Kramatorsk (98km to the north of Donetsk), where the situation appeared to be calm. In the area close to Debaltseve (72km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed the main checkpoint and subordinated positions of the Ukrainian army, located on the periphery of the town. From these observations the SMM was able to identify the extent of the Ukrainian security perimeter around the town.
In Dnipropetrovsk the SMM met with the deputy commander of the volunteer “Dnipro-1” battalion who confirmed media reports on the transformation of the unit into a regular regiment, which will remain within the structure of the Ministry of Interior and will consist of two battalions of up to 500 people. He also mentioned that the volunteer “Dnipro-1” battalion commander is running in the Parliamentary elections.
The SMM met with the Deputy Chief of Police of the Kherson region who stated that since March, when Crimea was “occupied by Russia”, the regional police and in particular the investigation department had had no co-operation with the relevant counterparts in Crimea. The interlocutor stated that the Kherson police have a few criminal cases, covering both mainland Ukraine and Crimea, which are still open but not progressing, as officers are only able to carry out the parts of investigations which can be conducted on mainland Ukraine.
The SMM observed a co-ordination meeting of some 20 activists, both men and women in their forties, of pro-Maidan organizations who noted that, in their views, activities of anti-Maidan groups were intensifying in Odessa and that the police were not taking actions against these movements. The participants agreed to prepare letters to the authorities asking them to limit the alleged unlawful activities by anti-Maidan groups, otherwise they would take action. The participants agreed to send groups of Odessa Self-defence activists to Kulikovo Pole to disrupt the regular Sunday meetings of anti-Maidan activists.
The Co-ordination Centre for IDPs within the State Emergency Service in the Chernivtsi region stated that they registered a flow of about 100 IDPs arriving per week to the region during the past month. The Deputy Governor of the Chernivtsi region told the SMM that while the number of IDPs coming from eastern regions continues to increase, the number of available premises to host them is decreasing. As an additional upcoming challenge, the interlocutor mentioned that because of the winter, locals accommodating IDPs on a voluntary basis will be burdened by the additional costs of heating and electricity.
In Ivano-Frankivsk the situation remained calm.
The SMM met with the director of the Lviv Polytechnic Students Self-Governance Trade Union who is co-ordinating activities in support of those serving in the “Anti-Terrorism Operation” (ATO). The interlocutor stated that their priorities would focus on fund-raising for supplies such as food and warm clothing. Legal and psychological support would be provided by students, alumni, and other voluntary professional practitioners. In terms of providing legal aid, this includes obtaining proof that the soldier had served in the ATO zone so that his family may receive entitled benefits, such as free housing and transportation.
In Kyiv the SMM observed a demonstration organized by “Volya” Political Party in front of the building of the Central Election Commission (CEC). Some 120 individuals, mainly men, ranging in age from 30 to 55 years, attended the event. A large police presence – three buses with around 100 personnel- was visible. The participants demanded lustration of people with alleged ties to former president Viktor Yanukovych and who are currently working at the CEC. The protest organizers called on President Poroshenko to dismiss the secretary of the CEC for failing to register candidates of the “Volya” Party. One of the posters stated that if the CEC and the President failed to meet the protester’s demands, “Volya” members would call on all Ukrainians, including those fighting in the ATO, to stage a “New Maidan”, focused on the issue of lustration, on 28 September.
Антитеррористическая операция на востоке Украины
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