Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 8 December 2014
This report is for media and the general public.
The SMM frequently heard incoming and outgoing artillery fire from various locations in Donetsk city. Most of the impacts originated from the northern outskirts of the city.
In Kuybishivskyi district (5.8 km west of Donetsk city centre), which is controlled by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”), the SMM observed material damage caused by what appeared to be explosive impacts. Several residents, to whom the SMM spoke, said the area had been shelled during the night between 6 and 7 December. The SMM observed that shelling had hit most of the business facilities. A private domicile was also hit. In the entire area observed, the SMM saw 20 craters appearing to have been caused by Grad rockets, and two craters of mortars ranging from 82 to 120 mm. Extensive material damage was caused to the buildings at all visited locations (Kubyeshieva, Yuhoslavska and Olimpyeva Streets). According to residents, there were no casualties.
At 72 Yuhoslavska Street, the SMM observed two craters; one in the middle of the road, and another one on the front wall of a shop. All the windows were shattered. The craters seemed consistent with mortar rounds ranging from 82 to 120 mm. The SMM visited a petrol station nearby where it saw two craters with rocket canisters in the middle consistent with Grad shelling. Three fuel pumps and the roof were completely destroyed.
At 222 Olimpyeva Street, the SMM observed around eight craters caused by Grad rockets in the vicinity of a warehouse storing timber. The SMM spoke to residents who said the area was shelled between 5 and 6 December.
At 10:02 hrs, 10 km east of Donetsk and four kilometres to the west of Makiivka, in “DPR”-controlled territory, the SMM observed a military convoy of approximately 25 vehicles heading in a north-westerly direction, towards the city of Donetsk. The contents of these vehicles were covered in canvas tarps. All vehicles were green in colour, with no visible markings; two of the vehicles were fuel bowsers and one vehicle was flying a flag of the Russian Federation.
The SMM went to a “DPR”-controlled border crossing point at Ulyanovskoye (62 km south-east of Donetsk). The “DPR commander” informed the SMM that the border crossing point was only open to pedestrians. About 20 people a day pass through this border crossing point, said the “commander”. The SMM noticed that the “commander” wore a badge of the “Cossack Union” on his uniform sleeve. The SMM observed a total of three people in uniforms on the “DPR” side and four on the side of the Russian Federation. The “commander” at the border crossing point stated that people coming to the “DPR” side from the Russian Federation were allowed to stay for up to three months. The SMM noted that the border is marked by a trench stretching an undetermined length.
On its way towards Novoazovsk (“DPR”-controlled, 122 km south of Donetsk) the SMM was not allowed to pass a “DPR” checkpoint located around six kilometres west of Novoazovsk. The checkpoint “commander” told the SMM it could not proceed further due to the “insecure” environment. About 300 m west of the “DPR” checkpoint, the SMM observed an impact crater. As identified by the remnants of the rocket casing and size of the fuse tunnel, the crater was the result of a strike from a “Uragan” multiple rocket launcher system.
At a Ukrainian Army checkpoint in Maiorsk (45 km north of Donetsk), the checkpoint commander reported that at approximately 18:00 hrs on 6 December, heavy mortar shelling targeting the checkpoint hit the city of Maiorsk instead. According to the checkpoint commander, the shelling lasted for about 15 minutes and originated from a nearby coal mine (two kilometres south of Maiorsk). The SMM was unable to independently verify the origin of the rounds. The SMM saw seven craters consistent with mortar shelling. The SMM found one 120 mm mortar tail fin near one crater. Evidence of the mortar strikes, as seen by the SMM, was spread across an area of approximately of 260 squared metres. The SMM spoke to local residents who expressed fear of further shelling and frustration with the ongoing hostilities. While on foot patrol at a three kilometres distance from Maiorsk, the SMM heard an intense shelling duel between government forces somewhere in or around the town and “DPR” forces at an indeterminate location somewhere outside the town.
The SMM continued to monitor the activity of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC). At their headquarters in Debaltseve (55 km north-east of Donetsk), officers of the Ukrainian and Russian General Staffs were working with members of the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) and the “DPR”. Upon arrival in Debaltseve, the SMM heard small-arms fire at an indeterminate distance south of the town once again (See SMM Daily Report of 8 December). Those present at the headquarters told the SMM that they had prepared orders for the implementation of a ceasefire, to start at 09:00 on 9 December, in accordance with an amended version of the plan of 13 November, signed by: the head of the Ukrainian side of the JCCC, Lt Gen Volodymyr Askarov; the head of the Russian Representation in south-east Ukraine, Lt Gen Aleksandr Lentsov; Denis Pushilin, on behalf of the “Donetsk city administration”; and “LPR” member A. Shubin.
The chief of staff of the Russian Representation said that Russian officers were deployed to new JCCC units in Donetsk and Luhansk. The chief of staff of the Ukrainian side said that Ukrainian officers had joined the JCCC in both locations.
In Luhansk, the SMM attended a meeting of an officer of the Russian General Staff and a member of the “LPR”. They told the SMM that, under the supervision of the JCCC headquarters in Debaltseve, the new JCCC unit in Luhansk would oversee units in Krasnodon and Luhansk. All three units were suffering from a lack of vehicles and equipment.
In Vinnytsya city (300 km north-east of Chernivtsi), people continued to gather in front of the regional administration building, the regional police headquarters, and at Theatre Square. The SMM observed about 500 people, of mixed gender and age, in front of the regional administration. Two black cars with “Aidar” (volunteer battalion) markings were parked on the street opposite to the entrance of the building. At least ten men in camouflage clothes were seated in the vehicles. Two unarmed police officers were standing some metres away from the “Aidar” vehicles. The SMM met the head of the Vinnytsya regional police who said that in relation to the events of 6 December 2014 (see SMM Daily Report 8 December), no individuals had been arrested, but several cases had been opened to investigate the activities of "hooligans". He said that the presence of the “Aidar” volunteer battalion had not been requested by the police and that members of this volunteer battalion were citizens of Vinnytsya.
The situation in Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv was calm.
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