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Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine

This report is for media and the general public.

Focusing on the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, the SMM continued to monitor the Luhansk and Donetsk regions where the situation remained tense and highly volatile. 

The SMM in Kharkiv city observed two Lenin statues at the Bavaria District House of Culture and at the Osnova railway station, which had been toppled during the night. Some spectators at the second location blamed the OSCE for the loss of the statue. The local police informed the SMM that a small statue of Lenin in Dobrovolec (Blyzniukivskyii district) and the statue of Bolshevik commander Chapayev in Alekseyevka (Blyzniukivskyii district) were also toppled earlier in the day.

The SMM observed a BRDM-2 APC (armoured vehicle) in the vicinity of the Kharkiv SBU building. This is the first confirmed daytime sighting but its duty at this time was unknown.

The SMM found provocative leaflets in Kharkiv city advocating against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) and calling for a protest on 14 October. The SMM contacted the UOC MP and was told that there were tensions apparently within the Church as it has been under increasing criticism by the Right Sector movement.

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Due to security constraints the SMM was limited to three patrols in the Luhansk region. Near Shchastya (24km north of Luhansk), between 12:20hrs and 15:00hrs the SMM heard an exchange of fire followed by artillery/mortar shelling. Civilian traffic to and from Shchastya remained active.

The SMM visited the primary and secondary school in Trokhizbenka (41km north-west of Luhansk) and was told by the representatives of the Aidar battalion that one of its platoons, which had been stationed there since July, would soon leave the premises and relocate to its vicinity in order to allow approximately 170 children to resume their classes.

During a meeting with the mayor of Popasna (83km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM was informed that shelling of the town had increased in the past weeks causing substantial damage.

The SMM visited the three locations within Donetsk city alleged to have been affected by shelling; Oktyabrskyi micro-district in the northern part of the city; the Glavkovka micro-district in the north-east of the city; and 1/4 Zarubnogo street.  The SMM observed four detached apartment buildings, a residential house as well as three apartments which sustained direct hits from the shelling.

In Grabskoe (39km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed that approximately 70 percent of residential buildings were either destroyed or damaged to the point of being uninhabitable due to the shelling. According to local residents the majority of the damage was inflicted in the past three months.

In Mariupol the overall situation was calm. The SMM visited Checkpoints 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9a and 10. All commanders reported that the situation was calm with small arms fire being heard near CPs 8, 9 and 9A. The commander of CP 7 (on the main road H20 from Mariupol to Donetsk) reported a doubling of traffic volume from Donetsk into Mariupol in the last 24 hours.

In Kramatorsk and its surroundings, the overall situation remained calm but tense. Whilst in Debalsteve (75km north-east of Donetsk), at 11:45hrs the SMM heard approximately 25 incoming rounds within 10 minutes from an unspecified direction.

The situation remained calm in Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson.

The SMM attended the weekly Maidan co-ordination council meeting in Odessa where the participants voted in favour of establishing a financial committee overseeing the collection and delivery of aid to eastern Ukraine, consisting of five volunteers.

The local media in Chernivtsi reported that protestors against the construction of a hydro-electric power station in Putyla district (100km south-west of Chernivtsi) were threatened by local police with “deployment to the ATO area” if they did not cancel the protest. An interlocutor from Svoboda party confirmed this information to the SMM.

The situation remained calm in Ivano-Frankivsk.

The SMM met Lviv based NGO Civic Sector Euromaidan who informed that they would soon start a new initiative “Bank of Services” designed to gather small entrepreneurs who would donate part of their income to soldiers deployed to the east.

The SMM observed a peaceful picket in front of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv with about 100 male and female participants of all ages. The SMM noticed the presence of four main political groups among the protestors: “Svoboda”, “5.10”, “Silna Ukraina” and “Volia”. The protestors demanded the immediate “lustration” of the Ukrainian MPs who voted against the lustration legislation. The event was monitored by the police and ended peacefully.

The SMM attended a press conference of Crimean Tatars held in Kyiv where their leader, Mustafa Dzhemilev said that eighteen Tatar persons were currently missing. He stated that the new de facto Crimean authorities had conducted over 40 raids on Tatar private domiciles and offices since mid-March 2014. The speaker also reported other intimidation and unlawful actions conducted by the de facto Crimean authorities against the Tatar community.

By Edos News

Mission Special Monitoring Ukraine

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