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Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine based on information received until 20 June 2014, 18:00 (Kyiv time)
22 June 2014 08:25

The situation across the country was calm, except parts of Donbas where tensions remained. In Luhansk a military convoy, of unknown origin, consisting of three tanks and ten BTRs (armoured personnel carriers), was seen. The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) observed customs procedures on the administrative boundary line between Kherson region and Crimea. Four SMM monitors from the Donetsk team have been missing for 26 days and four SMM monitors from the Luhansk team for 23 days.

The situation in Kharkiv was calm.

No fighting was observed in Luhansk. However, the SMM heard alarm sirens in the city twice in the morning of 20 June. An interlocutor informed SMM that a siren was also heard for a short time in the area near the Luhansk Airport.

Around 6 a.m. on 20 June, according to local witnesses and traffic surveillance camera footage seen by the SMM, a military convoy, of unknown origin, consisting of three tanks and ten BTRs, drove through Luhansk city. An interlocutor told the SMM that the convoy came from the direction of the Russian border, passed Luhansk and headed eastwards. Around noon, another SMM interlocutor observed the same convoy in Alchevsk (44 km south-west of Luhansk), heading in the direction of Donetsk.

The Deputy Head of the Luhansk Regional Hospital told the SMM that he is concerned about the lack of personnel, as 70 per cent of his employees are either on annual leave, unpaid leave or have left their jobs and are moving elsewhere for security reasons. A doctor from a different hospital, which was visited by the SMM, informed that 80 per cent of the bed capacity was free, but that nurses were leaving their jobs due to low salaries and the situation in the city.

In Donetsk, the SMM contacted the Director of the Laboratory Centre of Donetsk’s Sanitary-Epidemiological station to enquire about the quality of drinking water in the city. He reported that the environmental standard of the water samples are within the tolerable range and hence there is no reason for concern on part of the local population.

In Dnipropetrovsk, the SMM continued to monitor the internally displaced persons (IDPs) situation. According to the local NGO dealing with IDPs in the region, a total of 973 IDPs from the Donbas and 263 from Crimea have been registered so far. It should be noted, however, that the numbers are not exact as the interlocutors have not received information from some of the districts and many IDPs have not registered at all. Some IDPs prefer to stay in Dnipropetrovsk, whereas some others want to find shelter in other regions.

The SMM monitored procedures at the administrative boundary line between Kherson region and Crimea. In Novooleksiyivka (190 km east of Kherson) train station, approximately eight Ukrainian customs officials and 30 border guards operate 24/7. Senior Ukrainian border guard officers informed the SMM that all passengers arriving from Crimea are checked, whereas on trains to Crimea selective screening is applied. The officers also said that since the administrative boundary line is not a border, passengers’ passports are not stamped, but screened and registered.

On the road checkpoint on the administrative boundary line, in Chonhar, the SMM was informed that on average, 250 - 300 trucks with various cargoes cross the checkpoint from Ukraine's mainland to Crimea daily. In the opposite direction, average daily traffic was said to be 200-250 trucks carrying mainly wine, sparkling wine and bricks. According to truck drivers, to whom the SMM spoke, commercial cargo trucks spent two to three hours on average in the queue. On the day of the SMM visit, the queue was two kilometres long. Similarly to trucks, cars usually spent some hours waiting before they could cross the administrative boundary line towards the peninsula.

On 19 June in Reni (port on the Danube, 280 km south-west of Odessa) the SMM spoke with the Deputy Head of Administration on Humanitarian Issues, representing the Gagauz minority. He said that there were no inter-ethnic tensions in the district. In many schools students could choose to learn in the Romanian, Russian or Ukrainian language. In some schools there are also classes in the Gagauz and Bulgarian languages.

The situation in Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Kyiv was calm.

In Lviv, the SMM spoke to the organizer of a protest of around twenty local Russian community members, which took place in front of the building of the Russian Consulate in Lviv earlier in the day. He stated that the Russians living in Lviv wanted to protest against Russia’s policy towards Ukraine. They disagreed with the view that Russians in Lviv are discriminated against. The members of the Russian community plan to organize more protests in the near future.

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