Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 26 August 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM visited areas in the Luhansk region affected by the armed conflict. In Donetsk the SMM gathered information about incidents against priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The situation in Kharkiv remained calm.
The SMM visited Pervomaisk (75 km north-west of Luhansk city) and Popasna (90 km north-west of Luhansk city). According to the head of the ambulance service in Popasna, it is not possible to evacuate wounded civilians from Pervomaisk due to ongoing fighting. However, the hospital and the maternity hospital there received humanitarian aid (medicine and generators) and were still operating. In the last week three civilians on the territory controlled by Ukrainian forces wounded from shelling, were evacuated by the ambulance service.
According to internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Popasna, they had no news from Pervomaisk in the last couple of days, due to the lapsed mobile connection and no new arrivals of IDPs to their shelter.
The SMM met the head of humanitarian assistance in Starobilsk ((97 km north of Luhansk city) district state administration who confirmed that the official registered number of IDPs in the district was about 2,500, but the estimated figure was around 16,000, due to the IDPs’ reluctance to register. The district administration had set up an IDP consulting centre at the bus station, and IDPs unable to find lodging were advised to proceed to the IDP camp in Svatove (155 kilometres northwest of Luhansk city). Local churches are helping to provide accommodation.
The SMM met with Severodonetsk (95 km northwest of Luhansk city) district chief of the State Service for Emergency Situations who explained that 17 trucks from Kyiv and 22 trucks from Dnipropetrovsk containing humanitarian assistance were handed over to the local warehouse managed by the ICRC. The interlocutor outlined the challenging procedure that would be needed to deliver this humanitarian assistance to Luhansk city, where it was needed most. The interlocutor said that the precondition for further distribution of the humanitarian aid would be a 100% safe passage guarantee from Severodonetsk through the area of conflict. Under those circumstances the State Service, which is in charge of aid distribution, would be ready to transport the humanitarian aid to Luhansk city.
The interlocutor was not able to provide any information regarding the recent humanitarian assistance shipment from the Russian Federation to Luhansk. In Luhansk diesel generators were used to provide limited electricity to power communications. According to the interlocutor a Russian cell phone company was providing coverage in Luhansk.
In Donetsk the SMM met with an interlocutor from the Donetsk Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. According to the interlocutor, on 30 July, a priest from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was verbally and physically assaulted by Ukrainian Army servicemen while passing through an army checkpoint located in the area of Amrosievka (75 km southeast of Donetsk). Reportedly, several servicemen stopped and surrounded the priest whom they asked about his church affiliation, namely to which Patriarchate he belonged. Reportedly, while the priest was about to answer, one of the servicemen fired shots in the air next to the priest’s ears. The servicemen then asked the priest to take off his necklace carrying a Christian Cross, but when the priest resisted they pulled it off violently, said the interlocutor. The servicemen searched the house of the priest, who was beaten and his family members threatened. The interlocutor could not specify which military unit was manning the checkpoint at the time of the alleged assault, but had later learnt the servicemen were newly-deployed in the area. Following the incident, the church produced a report which was sent to church’s head offices in Kyiv which in turn, on 1 August 2014, referred it to the office of the Ukrainian President. According to the interlocutor, there has been no reply to the complaint from the President’s office thus far.
According to the same interlocutor, on 30 July, in Krasnoarmeisk (76 km northeast of Donetsk), Novoosetskyi district, an unspecified number of armed men in camouflage fatigues arrived at the house of another priest from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, part of the Donetsk Eparchy. Reportedly, they demanded the priest’s certificate of registration, issued in the name of the church, which they did not manage to confiscate.
The situation in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Odessa remained calm.
In Chernivtsi the SMM observed 45 protesters who camped in 34 tents in front of the military barracks demonstrating their objection to the mobilization of their male relatives. The protesters told the SMM that they had made an attempt to hire lawyers who reportedly have declined to assist them for fear of repercussions. According to the interlocutors, unidentified persons allegedly talked to local lawyers and hinted that they might lose their licence to practice should they provide legal assistance to protesters and draftees.
The situation in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv remained calm.
In Kyiv the SMM monitored a small demonstration outside the Ministry of Defence of approximately 20 people affiliated with soldiers deployed in eastern Ukraine. The protestors held a protest against the current developments in Donbas where volunteer battalions “Dnipr”, “Azov”, “Aidar” and “Donbas” are surrounded by the irregular armed groups. They claimed all those units are at risk due to a lack of combat training and of logistical support. The protestors were received by a high-ranking officer of the Ministry of Defence who came to meet them. No incidents were reported; the protest ended peacefully.
Антитеррористическая операция на востоке Украины
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