Spotreport by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), 6 September 2014: The Situation in Luhansk, Mariupol and Donetsk
This report is for media and the general public.
Observations by the monitoring teams of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) based at the Shchastya checkpoint and Stanitsa Luhanska (Luhansk region); Mariupol and Donetsk city.
On 6 September an SMM monitoring team remained stationary from 07.30hrs until 18:00hrs at Shchastya checkpoint (24 km to the north of Luhansk). Ukrainian Army personnel man the checkpoint. The SMM observed the following:
At 08.26hrs: The SMM heard a single shot of an AK 47, but could not ascertain from which direction it had been fired.
At 08.45hrs: An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) convoy of humanitarian aid, consisting of 10 trucks, approached the bridge in order to move towards the direction of Luhansk city. The convoy turned back without crossing the bridge after ICRC personnel were informed that the bridge was mined.
At 09:50hrs: The SMM heard a single shot. At that moment, a civilian car with three passengers – a father, mother and daughter - was trying to move across the bridge from Luhansk direction. The shot heard by the SMM killed one of the passengers. The mother and the daughter moved towards the Ukrainian Army personnel. The SMM assessed that the shot was fired from Luhansk direction, controlled by supporters of the so-called “Peoples’ Republics”. The SMM interviewed the mother and the daughter, who assessed that the shot had been fired from the side of the supporters of the “Peoples’ Republics”. Ukrainian personnel took the mother and the daughter to hospital. The body of the father remained on the bridge, due to the mines.
At 11.50hrs: The SMM observed a grey micro-light aircraft with no markings and single pilot, flying over the SMM position at the checkpoint. The SMM spoke to the Ukrainian military commander at the checkpoint, who informed that the Ukrainian Army does not have such aircraft. Whilst the aircraft was overflying the checkpoint, the SMM heard two shots being fired from the direction of Ukrainian Army-controlled territory, possibly aimed at the aircraft.
At 14:35hrs: The SMM heard two high-calibre artillery shells. The SMM could not ascertain the location or the origin of the shelling.
Another SMM monitoring team at Stanitsa Luhanska (24 km to the north-east of Luhansk) on 6 September between 16:00hrs and 16:10hrs heard artillery fire from Luhansk city, under control of the so-called “Luhansk Peoples’ Republic” towards the area of Stanitsa Luhanska, which is under control of Ukrainian forces. This was followed by artillery fire from Stanitsa Luhanska towards Luhansk city. Shortly after, the SMM observed smoke at around 2 km to the east of Stanitsa Luhanska.
In Mariupol, on 6 September, the SMM did not directly observe resumption of active fighting in Mariupol city and the surrounding area. The SMM received reports from local inhabitants suggesting that exchange of fire had taken place on 6 September before 18:00hrs. However, the SMM was told by local inhabitants in Shyrokyne (22 km east of Mariupol) that on 5 September at approximately 22:00hrs they heard loud noise, similar to the sound of shelling, from the west, whilst on 6 September in the morning hours they reported to have heard loud noise, that could have been shelling, from the east. Local interlocutors were not sure whether the noise corresponded to a possible exchange of fire. The SMM could not independently verify the information.
Local inhabitants told the SMM that they were fearful that shelling would resume. Several villagers told the SMM that they had been stopped at a checkpoint controlled by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) located between Bezimenne and Shyrokyne, and armed persons told them that at 12:00hrs shelling would resume.
In the village of Lebedynske (20 km to the east of Mariupol) the SMM spoke with a man whose house had been destroyed. He said that on 5 September, early in the morning, at around 06:00hrs, Ukrainian forces brought a Grad system to the outskirts of the village, fired it to the east, and immediately left the area. Thirty minutes later retaliatory strikes arrived from the east, killing two children and an elderly woman. An elderly man was seriously injured and taken to a hospital in Mariupol. The SMM could not independently verify this report.
At a checkpoint in Vostochny (five kilometres to the east of Mariupol) Ukrainian officers said there had been no shelling from either side after 18:00hrs on 5 September.
In Donetsk, between 5 and 6 September, the SMM did not hear the sound of shelling throughout the entire night.
On 6 September, at around 13:30hrs, while on patrol on Rosa Luxemburg street, Voroshilovsky Rayon, Donetsk city, the SMM heard the sounds of three shelling from what appeared to be mortar fire. The SMM could not ascertain the exact direction but assessed that the sound came from the west (the airport direction) and from a significant distance.
An SMM monitoring team observed in Petrovskiy Rayon, a western suburb of Donetsk city, where it spoke with several local inhabitants. The interlocutors stated that the last shelling and shooting they heard ended at around 18:00hrs on 5 September. However, since then, they stated that some sporadic shelling from a distance, from a southern direction - three shots in a 3-4 hours interval, was heard.
At 13:40hrs, on Isakova Street, located in the western part of Donetsk city, the SMM heard three shellings from what appeared to be mortar fire, coming from some 10 km in the direction of the village of Marinka, to the west of Petrovskiy Rayon.