The SMM continued to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. The Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained tense. A number of shelling instances were noted.
The situation remained calm in Kharkiv.
On 27 October the “president” of the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) told the SMM in Luhansk city that ultimately the “LPR” and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) would form a single state – so-called “Novorossiya”. He said key economic resources and industries would be nationalised. He also considers the electoral bloc headed by President Poroshenko the “party of peace”, and suggested that the “LPR” and the Luhansk Regional Administration, currently based in Severodonetsk (90km NW of Luhansk), should co-operate in restoring utilities, many of which were provided in their respective areas of control by the same providers.
In Luhansk city the SMM met Russian and Ukrainian colonels attached to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). They said they were waiting for the SMM to provide them with vehicles and communications equipment, and to provide leadership and co-ordination without which, they said, they could not function. (See also Daily Report of 27 October 2014).
The SMM’s point-of-contact at the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in Kramatorsk (98km N of Donetsk) told the SMM that Ukrainian troops, who had been surrounded by “LPR” military forces at a check point (CP) near Smile (40km NW of Luhansk), had – in agreement with the “LPR” – withdrawn from the CP the previous evening.
A Ukrainian military CP commander in Krimske (43km W of Luhansk) told the SMM that there had been heavy shelling close to the village earlier in the morning. The SMM observed several fresh mortar impact points.
Ukrainian military CP commanders to the north, north-east and east of Mariupol (113km S of Donetsk) told the SMM that there had been no shelling following particularly intense shelling the previous morning (see Daily Report of 27 October 2014). While at these CPs, the SMM neither heard nor saw any shelling. The head of the local administration in Talakivka (20km NE of Mariupol) told the SMM that 12 houses had been damaged as a result of the previous day’s alleged shelling. The SMM – because of security considerations– was unable to confirm the claim.
The “DPR” deputy military commander in Starobeshevo (41km SE of Donetsk) told the SMM that pensions and teachers’ salaries were being paid by the “DPR”. The chief doctor at a local hospital said the hospital had not received funding from the central government since 19 July, and as a result had to rely on humanitarian assistance, while unable to pay its heating, electricity, water and food bills.
In Olenivka (25km SW of Donetsk), the SMM met the two Russian and three Ukrainian military officers responsible for the JCCC Sector 7. They had neither transport nor computers. They added that they expected that the SMM would work alongside them. They said that since their arrival in the town on 7 October they had recorded and reported six instances of Grad shelling. Whilst in the “DPR”-controlled town, the SMM heard five out-going artillery rounds.
In “DPR”-controlled Dokuchaevsk (35km S of Donetsk), the SMM heard heavy incoming shelling. As well as a number of impact points caused by shells, the SMM observed two damaged houses, which “DPR” “police” in the town and local residents said was the result of shelling earlier in the morning.
The situation remained calm in Dnipropetrovsk.
In Skadovs’k city (98km S of Kherson), the SMM met the head and deputy head of the local military recruitment office, who said the city – located on the Black Sea and heavily reliant on tourists – had seen a considerable drop in the number of people visiting the city, with this summer’s season registering only 10% of the usual number of visitors. Although they said the situation in the area was stable, wider security concerns had scared people off. They added that 40 soldiers from the district were currently serving in the east. Since the start of the conflict, one soldier from the district had been killed and two injured, one, since the signing of the Minsk Protocol.
The SMM attended a regular bi-weekly co-ordination meeting with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Odesa. The OHCHR representative said the head of the Regional Administration Department of Education had informed him that orphan IDPs from the Luhansk region had been receiving phone calls from their former teachers in Luhansk, enticing them back with promises of Russian citizenship. The OHCHR representative added that the head of the Regional Administration Department of Education had also said that he had received letters demanding that the children be returned.
The situation remained calm in Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk.
A representative of the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Lviv told the SMM that a number of high-ranking officials in the Lviv Regional and Lviv City Prosecutor Offices – pursuant to the recently-passed Lustration Law – had been relieved of their responsibilities. It was unclear if the officials concerned would face – as is foreseen in the legislation – an investigative process, after which they may or may not be re-instated; or, if they had been fired, as is also permitted under the legislation.
The SMM monitored a roundtable organised by the European Business Association in Kyiv, at which some participants noted that some commercial sectors in the Donetsk region – notably those selling what were described as essentials such as food, pharmaceuticals and communications services – had been largely unaffected by the conflict. It was stated that businesses in other sectors, however, had suffered considerable losses. As well as having to relocate staff and take security measures to protect remaining staff, companies operating in Donetsk region also had to contend with car-jackings and robberies, which they said were quite common there, as well as the need to pay bribes in order to pass through “DPR” CPs. They also said that businesses had to pay taxes both to the Government and to the “DPR”. The “DPR”, they added, had apparently developed its own “tax code”.