Monthly Archives: June 2015

East Asia and the Pacific: New Zealand-U.S. Partnership Forum

As prepared for delivery

Thank you, Stu, for your kind introduction.

And thank you to the New Zealand-U.S. Council for hosting us and the U.S.-New Zealand Council for supporting the relationship. Both Councils, along with this Partnership Forum, have a great record of advancing our relations. It is particularly important that you bring together government, business, military, and community leaders.

It’s a pleasure to be back in Auckland. And it’s great to have friends with which we have so much in common, even as we celebrate some differences. For instance, we both play “football,” though we have not reconciled different understandings of whether that word means American football or rugby.

Speaking of rugby, I was reliably informed that, despite the fact that the All Blacks trounced the best American rugby team 74 – 6 afew months ago, the United States in fact remains the reigning Olympic rugby champion. We won the last two times that rugby was played at the Olympics. Now admittedly, that was in 1920 and 1924. But bragging rights don’t have an expiration date! Let’s see what happens when rugby comes back to the Olympics next year in Rio.

In all seriousness, our two nations share a long, rich history of cooperation – standing shoulder to shoulder. And today’s data reflect our reciprocal stake in each other’s success. Our bilateral relationship reflects this, with growing ties between our peoples – tourists, students, and more. Our economic ties are similarly growing: we had over $8 billion in two-way goods trade last year, up from less than $5 billion in 2009, and the U.S. holds over 7.5 billion New Zealand dollars in investment stock. We literally have a big stake in your success.

As a participant in U.S.-New Zealand leaders’ meetings and high-level dialogues, I can attest to the bond of trust that extends throughout our diplomatic, intelligence and military relationships.

Our partnership spans the globe, from the frozen terrain of Ross Island, to the desert sands of Iraq. It pursues the vision of a world without nuclear weapons, which New Zealand has done so much to advance. Our partnership embraces cultural and ethnic diversity, valuing the contributions of our first peoples and those who have come to our lands over the centuries to build new lives. And our partnership promotes adherence to the rule of law and universal values and rights.

So let me first say a few words about what we’re doing across the Asia-Pacific region, and then across the globe.

The U.S. has stepped up our engagement in the Asia-Pacific over the last six-and-a-half years under President Obama’s rebalance. In partnership with like-minded countries like yours, we’ve helped to maintain an open, prosperous region. Strong alliances and security relationships have played a critical role. So have increasingly important regional institutions like the East Asia Summit, APEC, the Pacific Islands Forum’s Post-Forum Dialogue and other groupings.

And we work closely together on issues important to your neighbors in the Western Pacific. Early this morning I arrived from meetings in Suva. We’re supporting Fiji’s democratic reemergence and the Pacific Partnership exercises; preparing for and delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; helping to address the challenges from global warming faced by vulnerable coastal communities; supporting the Pacific Islands Forum as the premier multilateral organization in the region, and much more. This is an exceptionally important region for us both.

In APEC, New Zealand and the United States are working together to reduce tariffs on many environmental goods, which in turn will help reduce the costs of solar panels, gas and wind turbines, and pollution control equipment – a benefit that will be felt for generations to come.

As much as we’ve already done to advance our shared prosperity, we’re not slowing down.

Together, we’re poised to take another leap forward, with a hugely important new agreement. This agreement sets an example for the world of what high standards in the 21st century economy will look like – for environmental protection, for labor rights, for Internet freedom, and for free trade. We’ll do that, of course, by completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We got a big boost from passage of trade promotion legislation in Washington last week, and President Obama has now signed the Trade Act legislation. As the President said, this legislation will help turn global trade into a “race to the top.”

We’re ready to complete this deal, which will benefit New Zealanders as well as Americans. As Minister Groser said this morning, the TPP exemplifies the effective partnership between the United States and New Zealand.

As the New Zealanders in the audience already know, five of New Zealand’s top eight trading partners, accounting for 45 percent of your total trade, are in TPP. You export agriculture and food products to us, and you’ll gain enhanced access to America’s services market. But the benefits will be especially important in the five TPP economies with which you do not already have a free trade agreement.

We work together throughout the region – both to build a brighter future, and to resolutely manage the challenges of the present. Nowhere is this clearer than in the relationships both our nations have with the People’s Republic of China.

New Zealand and the U.S. have been leaders in engaging with China – we supported China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and New Zealand was the first Western country to sign a free trade agreement with China. You showed support for economic diversity and democracy by signing an FTA with Taiwan as well.

China’s rise is creating opportunities as well as strains on the regional and international order. For better or worse, few if any major global issues can be fully addressed without some degree of U.S.-Chinese cooperation.

So America’s engagement with China focuses in the first instance on areas where our interests overlap — areas for cooperation, such as climate change, where Presidents Obama and Xi are determined to lead in global emissions reduction efforts. I spent much of last week in Washington with Secretary Kerry at the high-level Strategic and Economic Dialogue with senior Chinese counterparts.

One new area of focus was development cooperation, where we are increasingly coordinating on tough issues – like how to get into hot zones and fight pandemic disease on the ground, as we did with Ebola; and how to build peace, reconciliation, and economic opportunity – part of rebuilding the most war-torn places on Earth, as we’re doing in Afghanistan.

But a second, equally important area of focus is on those places where we fundamentally disagree, or where the behavior of the other party compromises universal rights, international law, or regional peace and stability.

So for that reason, during our recent U.S.-China dialogue – as we do always – we spoke very clearly about the problem areas – about universal rights like freedom of navigation and overflight, on the right of nations to settle disputes through legal mechanisms based on international law, on acceptable behavior in cyberspace, and on the treatment of journalists, NGOs and individuals who peacefully follow the dictates of their conscience.

We know that problems like the South China Sea, cyber theft, and suppression of civil society can’t be solved easily, but we’re building a relationship with China that avoids strategic rivalry and instead puts a premium on strategic cooperation.

But let’s be clear about what that strategic cooperation is, and what it isn’t.

That is not accommodating “spheres of influence” or so-called “core interests.”

That is not turning a blind eye to violations of international law or universal rights.

But it does require that we discuss these issues openly, honestly, and constructively, so that we can resolve, narrow, or at a minimum manage our differences. This is a long-term undertaking in the best interests of everyone concerned.

It is also an undertaking where countries like New Zealand and the U.S. should stand together—all of us who share these values and principles have a stake in seeing them respected. As a small but influential country, New Zealand plays an important role in championing the principle of equal application of the rules — and I commend you for that.

Of course, our work together extends beyond the Asia-Pacific neighborhood. New Zealand is farther than any other coalition partner from ISIL’s base of operations in the Middle East, but you know as well as any nation that ISIL’s violence and hatred is a threat to us all and must be confronted – on the ground, online, and in vulnerable communities.

The American people and government truly appreciate New Zealand’s actions and its sacrifices.

Together with our other coalition partners, your contribution is helping make a big difference in this multinational effort.

Your troops are helping Iraq defend itself from an egregious enemy who threatens us as well.

Your diplomats are working effectively on the United Nations Security Council. New Zealand’s successful campaign to gain a seat speaks volumes to your country’s determination to be heard, and to contribute to the peace and security of all.

Tomorrow, New Zealand takes up the Security Council presidency, and we’ve appreciated the agenda that New Zealand is pursuing.

New Zealand assumes the chair at a critical time. We’re working on urgent challenges – from fighting in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, to the crisis in Burundi. We’re seeking to finalize a comprehensive deal with Iran to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We’ll mark one year since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, and 20 years since the Srebrenica genocide. In both cases, we continue to seek justice for the victims, and we’re confident that under New Zealand’s leadership, the Security Council will handle these solemn milestones in the most appropriate manner.

One more issue we’re confronting together, in the U.N. and elsewhere, is protecting security and freedom in cyberspace.

Cybersecurity is different from the traditional issues of armed conflict that the Security Council is best known for handling, but it is no less urgent – and its potential impact on our way of life is no less profound.

Our two countries are working more closely than ever on cyber issues – both inside government and out, because open dialogue is key.

Ambassador Gilbert recently hosted an event for dozens of business leaders that featured top cyber officials. I couldn’t agree more with the participant in that meeting who said, “it is time to move cybersecurity out of the server room and into the board room.”

Free and open societies like ours have benefitted the most from the Internet. Scientists exchanging ideas; students learning about the world; business reaching new consumers and creating more jobs… even single people finding love. It all happens online now.

But because the Internet benefits open societies the most, we also have the most to lose. When our innovations, our intellectual property, our proprietary information, and our personal data are stolen, our economies are at risk. When terrorists use the Internet to incite violence, our communities are at risk. And when a state launches cyber-attacks to suppress free speech, as North Korea did to Sony Pictures, the fundamentals of our societies come under threat.

New Zealand and the United States have been friends through thick and thin. As Pacific partners, we’re part of a region with limitless potential.

For historic, strategic, economic, cultural, and a host of other reasons, we stand together.

When universal values of human rights and democracy are threatened. When the principle of equal treatment among nations is put to the test; people across Asia look to democracies like ours – for inspiration, for action, for leadership and support.

In New Zealand and the United States, they will find it.

Thank you.

Turkish forces to enter Syria to create buffer zone along border

SyriaTurkish forces to enter Syria to create buffer zone along border

Published 30 June 2015

Turkey, for the first time since the war in Syria began four years ago, is preparing to send troops into Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has authorized a change in the rules of engagement which were agreed to by the Turkish parliament, and the changes would allow the Turkish army to strike ISIS and Assad regime targets. The goal of the new policy is not new: to create a buffer zone inside Syria for Syrian refugees fleeing the regime’s bombing, but Erdogan has also suggested that the main target of the intervention, if it takes place, will be to prevent the Syrian Kurds from creating a Kurdish state in the Kurdish regions of Syria.

Turkey, for the first time since the war in Syria began four years ago, is preparing to send troops into Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has authorized a change in the rules of engagement which were agreed to by the Turkish parliament, and the changes would allow the Turkish army to strike ISIS and Assad regime targets.

The goal of the new policy is not new: to create a buffer zone inside Syria for Syrian refugees fleeing the regime’s bombing, but Erdogan has also suggested that the main target of the intervention, if it takes place, will be to prevent the Syrian Kurds from creating a Kurdish state in the Kurdish regions of Syria.

The Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG (the People’s Protection Units), has established dominance in a border strip across the north of Syria in recent months. The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD (the Democratic Union Party), which is an offshoot of the PKK, a pro-independence Turkish Kurdish faction which, between 1982 and 2012, killed 42,000 Turks, most of them civilians, in a campaign aiming to gain independence for the Kurds in eastern Turkey (see “Turkish jets bomb Kurdish positions,” HSNW, 15 October 2014).

“We will never allow the establishment of a state in Syria’s north and our south,” Erdogan said in a weekend speech. “We will continue our fight in this regard no matter what it costs.”

Turkey has been pushing since 2011 for the creation of a buffer zone — protected by international forces on the ground and by a no-fly zone in the air — in north Syria to allow shelter for Sunni refugees who were fleeing the indiscriminate attacks by the Assad forces on Sunni communities. In the absence of such a buffer zone, the refugees fled into Turkey, which is now home to two million Syria refugees.

Until this weekend, however, Turkey had refused to create such a buffer zone on its own. Two developments have combined to change Turkey’s mind.

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South Sudan: UN alleges &#39widespread&#39 human rights abuses amid uptick in fighting

30 June 2015 – The South Sudanese armed forces may have committed widespread human rights abuses, including the alleged raping and immolation of women and girls, during the recent upsurge in fighting across the African State, according to a new report released by the United Nations mission in the country (UNMISS).

The report &#8211 released today by UNMISS &#8211 suggests that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and associated armed groups carried out a campaign of violence against the population of South Sudan’s Unity state, reportedly killing civilians, looting and destroying villages and displacing over 100,000 people.

According to the testimony of 115 victims and eyewitnesses from the Unity state counties of Rubkona, Guit, Koch, Leer and Mayom, SPLA fighters also abducted and sexually abused numerous women and girls, some of whom were reportedly burnt alive in their dwellings.

“This recent upsurge [in fighting] has not only been marked by allegations of killing, rape, abduction, looting, arson and displacement, but by a new brutality and intensity,” says the UNMISS report. “The scope and level of cruelty that has characterized the reports suggests a depth of antipathy that exceeds political differences.”

&#8220Revealing the truth of what happened offers the best hope for ensuring accountability for such terrible violence and ending the cycle of impunity that allows these abuses to continue,&#8221 the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ellen Margrethe Løj, who also heads the UN Mission, said in a press release as she urged South Sudanese authorities to allow UN human rights investigators to access the sites of the alleged atrocities.

&#8220We call on the SPLA to fulfil this commitment and allow our human rights officers unfettered access to the sites of these reported violations.&#8221

UNMISS has confirmed that the Mission’s human rights officers have been routinely denied access to locations of interest by the SPLA and have also encountered logistical obstacles. The South Sudanese authorities, on the other hand, have dismissed any allegations of wrongdoing and have reportedly welcomed the investigations.

South Sudan’s ongoing conflict began in December 2013 and has been marked by brutal violence against civilians and deepening suffering across the country. Some 120,000 people are sheltered in UN compounds there while United Nations estimates that the number of people in need for 2015 will include an anticipated 1.95 million internally displaced persons and a projected 293,000 refugees.

Nippon Foundation Nereus Program Reveals Critical State of World’s Oceans in 2050

TOKYO, June 30, 2015 / PRNewswire — A press conference was held on June 30, 2015, to announce the release of a new report about the sustainability of global marine fisheries in the 21st century titled “Predicting Future Oceans.”

The report is a product of the Nippon Foundation – UBC Nereus Program. It notes that continued CO2 emissions are leading to changes in ocean temperature, acidity and oxygen levels that have been unprecedented over the last several thousand years. These changes in ocean conditions will affect biological productivity in the ocean, impacting organisms ranging from plankton to fishes.

Along with overfishing and habitat destruction, climate change is anticipated to lead to a decline in fisheries in many regions and alterations of marine biodiversity and food web structure. While aquaculture will play a role in providing a source of marine protein for a growing global population, the long-term ecological and social sustainability of aquaculture is unclear.  An improved framework for global ocean governance will be needed to ensure sustainable fisheries in the future.

At the press conference, Associate Professor William Cheung from UBC who is also one of the Co-Directors of the Nereus Program said that “the types of fish we will have on our dinner table will be very different in a few decades from now.” He further said that “fisheries will be catching more warm-water species and smaller fish, thus fish supply through both domestic and overseas fisheries as well as imported fish will be affected.”

The Nereus Program is an interdisciplinary ocean research initiative in which the Nippon Foundation is collaborating with seven institutes around the world, including the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Princeton University.  As the world’s only comprehensive research program focusing on the future of the oceans, approximately 30 fellows and 14 researchers are carrying out interdisciplinary research, covering a wide range of topics from climate to international law. Some of the results have already been published in numerous academic journals, including “Science.”

For more information, including the full report visit:
http://www.nippon-foundation.or.jp/en/news/articles/2015/

Source: Nippon Foundation

Contact:
Ms.Yukiko Kuwata, Mr.Takashi Arikawa
Ocean & Maritime Affairs Department
The Nippon Foundation
Tel: +81-3-6229-5152
e-mail: pr@ps.nippon-foundation.or.jp

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 28 June 2015

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM monitored the implementation of the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”. Its monitoring was restricted by third parties and security considerations*. The situation as observed at and around the Donetsk airport saw increased fighting; the situation around Shyrokyne was relatively calm, and the SMM verified press reports that there are no civilians remaining in the village. The SMM observed delays for civilians attempting to cross the checkpoint at Zaitseve.

At and around Donetsk airport, the SMM noted an increase in cease-fire violations as compared to recent days.  During a one-hour period in the afternoon of 28 June, the SMM observed 139 explosions to the north, north-east and north-west. SMM could furthermore hear bursts of SALW in combination with heavy machine-gun fire.[1]

At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) headquarters in Soledar (government-controlled, 75km north of Donetsk), the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Federation Armed Forces representatives at the JCCC presented the SMM with two separate logbooks for 26 June, both indicating a majority of ceasefire violations committed by the “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) and “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). The Ukrainian Major-General, Head of the Ukrainian side to the JCCC, described the security situation as deteriorating with an increase in the number of cease-fire violations from the previous day. On the other hand, the Ukrainian Major-General said Ukrainian and Russian Federation representatives to the JCCC had succeeded in arranging to stop local fighting on 12 occasions on 26 June, out of 23 requests from the field.

At Makiivka (“DPR”-controlled, 7km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed a convoy of 25 large (32-ton) civilian trucks escorted by a “DPR” military truck at its end. All vehicles were heading towards Donetsk city. At least two of the trucks had Russian Federation license plates, and the majority of the trucks had their license plates covered. The trucks were moving slowly and their cargo compartments were covered with canvas, therefore they seemed to be carrying heavy loads, but SMM could not see the nature of the cargo.

At a government-controlled checkpoint in Volnovakha, at 12.00hrs, the SMM counted almost 150 vehicles waiting to cross into “DPR”-controlled area from government-controlled side and about 115 vehicles waiting to cross from “DPR”-controlled side to the government-controlled side.  The SMM spoke to travelers on the government-controlled side, several of whom said they had been waiting for over six hours at the checkpoint and that the waits could sometimes be as long as ten hours.

At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint near Zaitseve (government-controlled; 60km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM was present for approximately three hours and observed some 800 vehicles queuing to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas on 27 June. The queue of vehicles waiting to cross from “DPR”-controlled areas into government-controlled areas decreased throughout the day from 250 to 50 vehicles during the several hours that the SMM was present. Travelers told the SMM that they had been waiting to cross for up to 48 hours and suggested that part of the reason for this might be the long Constitution Day weekend. On 28 June, the SMM observed shorter queues of 460 vehicles on the government-controlled side of the checkpoint and 136 vehicles on the “DPR”-controlled side. The Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint commander said that the newly introduced electronic permit system is not yet fully operational or synchronized with existing paper permit system, causing some confusion and delays. Later in the day on 28 June, the SMM noted that the number of travelers had stayed relatively reduced – with some 200 vehicles lined up to cross into “DPR”-controlled areas and some 40 waiting to cross to the government side. Also, travelers reported during the course of 28 June that the wait time to cross from the government-controlled side decreased from a reported 24 hours to eight hours and then, at 16:00hrs, to one hour.

The security situation remained calm in Mariupol (government-controlled, 103km south of Donetsk). From observation posts west of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), the SMM observed that the situation was mostly calm and did not observe any military action in the daytime on 27 and 28 June, except for 13 outgoing 82mm mortar shells fired between 17:00 and 18:00hrs on 28 June.

The SMM visited Shyrokyne and confirmed media reports that all civilians have left the village. The SMM conducted a foot patrol on 27 June, focused on areas where a few remaining inhabitants had been known to live when the SMM last visited the village on 9 June (see SMM Daily Report 9 June). The SMM on this occasion found their homes abandoned and damaged or destroyed. Following this patrol, the SMM spoke to a “DPR” commander who said he knew by name those whom the SMM was seeking. According to him, the last civilian inhabitants had left on 15 June. The SMM observed that the scale of damage in the village had increased since the last visit. It assessed that over 80 per cent of the houses and buildings in the village are destroyed.

The overall situation in the Luhansk region remained tense with shelling observed in several places. The SMM heard heavy-machine-gun fire and repeated small arms fire on 27 June in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). On 28 June, in government-controlled Popasna, the SMM heard heavy incoming and outgoing fire from mortars, heavy machine-guns and artillery. The JCCC jointly reported to the SMM a total of 26 ceasefire violations from the side of the “LPR” against the Ukrainian Armed Forces during the period from 26 to 28 June, which included the use of small arms, automatic grenade launchers, heavy machine-guns, mortars (82mm/120mm), anti-aircraft guns, grenade launchers and BM21 Grad multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS).

On 27 June, in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM followed up on reports of shelling of a Ukrainian Armed Forces position and a residential area. The SMM met two Ukrainian JCCC representatives who stated that the shelling took place on the night of 26 June. As a result, they said, one woman (age 56, a resident of Luhansk) was killed and three Ukrainian soldiers were wounded (one seriously), one civilian house was burned down and another was damaged. The SMM confirmed ten impacts: four from 120mm mortars (mortar rounds’ tails were still visible in the blast site), three craters from undetermined weapons, and one impact assessed as likely from a 30mm AGS-17, where the SMM was told that the woman was killed (fresh blood was found three meters from the impact). Eight explosions were in close proximity to an abandoned gas station on the way to the last Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint before the bridge. Two more impacts were found in a populated area: one shell had hit a house resulting in the whole house burning down, while another shell had hit a different house, causing a hole in the building wall. The positioning of mortar tails indicated that the shells were likely fired from the south.

On 28 June, in government-controlled Toshkivka (60km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM spoke with one female shopkeeper who reported fighting taking place the night before around government-controlled Svetlichna, near government-controlled Nyzhnie (56km north-west of Luhansk). According to her, both the electric cables and water pipes in Svetlichna were damaged, leaving Toshkivka  without water supply. The SMM went to the Svetlichna water plant to follow up on the reports of shelling. The SMM spoke with one Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier who stated that there had been a barrage of 25 Grad rockets at 03:30hrs the night before, lasting approximately five to ten minutes. The rockets had hit the water station and also damaged the electrical infrastructure. Based on crater analysis, the SMM determined from the angle of the impact that the rockets had originated from a southerly direction.

On 28 June, in government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) the SMM talked with personnel at  the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge, who noted that electricity outages had continued  for the fourth day in Stanytsia Luhanska, and that mobile phone service has also been negatively impacted by this utility outage. The SMM also spoke to four women aged 35-50, and one man aged 50, about the bridge crossing situation.  The interlocutors said they had been trying to cross the bridge from the government-controlled side for the past two weeks, and had only come from Luhansk city to visit relatives or obtain humanitarian aid, and they had believed they would be able to return easily. Some of the SMM’s interlocutors stated that they have run out of money and are now living on the streets. They said that their fellow travelers who had the money to do so had returned to Luhansk city via the Russian Federation.

On 27 and 28 June, the SMM re-visited six “DPR” heavy weapons holding areas, whose locations comply with respective withdrawal lines. At three of these sites, the SMM found all previously recorded heavy weapons in situ. At the first site the SMM checked the serial numbers on five out of six previously recorded self-propelled artillery pieces, (122mm, 2S1 Gvozdika) and confirmed they were the same as previously noted. The SMM was informed by the “DPR” commander at the site that the sixth artillery piece was relocated for repairs to undisclosed location. At one site, the SMM was informed by the security guard that the weapons systems previously recorded there (four Grad MLRS) were on a training exercise and were expected to return shortly. The SMM returned later in the day, but again found the weapons not in place. The SMM was denied access to one site and informed that advance notice should be given prior to SMM visits.*

Despite claims by all sides that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was complete, the SMM observed the following weapons’ movements/presence in areas that are non-compliant with the respective withdrawal lines. The SMM observed three MT-12 anti-tank guns (100mm) being used in training in a field 5km east of Kramatorsk. In “DPR”-controlled areas, the SMM observed a total of five T-72 main battle tanks (MBTs). In the vicinity of an “LPR” training site the SMM observed 18 MBTs (T-64) performing non-live-fire exercises.

In Odessa, the SMM followed up on press reports that two policemen were shot on the evening of 26 June, at Arcadia beach. The SMM visited the scene at 12:00hrs on 27 June and observed two sets of flowers on the pavement. The SMM spoke to an elderly shopkeeper near the scene. She said that around 23:00hrs, she heard some sounds of shooting from the Arcadia club area. She later learned that two policemen were shot, but she didn’t see anybody at the time.

At 14:30hrs on 27 June, the SMM contacted the press service of the Odessa regional police department.  The press officer confirmed that on 26 June, two patrol police officers aged 31 and 25 had been shot by an unknown individual at Arcadia beach. One officer received several gunshot wounds and later died in hospital. The second police officer had been shot twice and had undergone surgery, and was no longer in life-threatening condition. The second police officer provided a description of the suspect, and a drawing was created and disseminated. Police have increased patrols in the area, and a pistol recovered at the site was sent to the police forensic unit for examination. The police told the SMM that the motive for the crime was unknown, but the case was not considered to be related to political issues.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson, Kharkiv, Chernivtsi and Lviv.

* Restrictions on SMM monitoring, access and freedom of movement:

The SMM is restrained in fulfilling its monitoring functions by restrictions imposed by third parties and security considerations, including the presence – and lack of information on the whereabouts – of mines, and damaged infrastructure. The security situation in Donbas is fluid and unpredictable and the ceasefire does not hold everywhere. Self-imposed restrictions on movement into high-risk areas have impinged on SMM patrolling activities, particularly in areas not controlled by the government. Most areas along the Ukraine-Russian Federation international border have ordinarily been placed off limits to the SMM by both the “DPR” and “LPR”.

Delay:

  • At a ”DPR” check point in Maiorsk (44km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM patrol was asked to wait for clearance to pass; the waiting time was ten minutes in both directions.
  • At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint south-east of Sloviansk (government-controlled, 95km north of Donetsk), the SMM was told to wait and to turn off the car engine as the soldier said that their commander had information that SMM vehicles with different license plate numbers were supposed to be passing through the checkpoint. The SMM was able to pass the checkpoint after a 15-minute wait.

Prevented access:

  • At a Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint in Volnovakha, the SMM was interviewing people waiting to cross through the same checkpoint into “DPR”-controlled areas and was approached by two checkpoint guards, who told the SMM to proceed to the checkpoint and speak with the commander before talking to people waiting in line. The SMM then went to the checkpoint, where the trunks of the vehicles were searched and the patrol leader was asked for her nationality. The whole procedure took about 15 minutes, and the SMM was then allowed to proceed.
  • The SMM was denied access to one “DPR” heavy weapons holding area on the grounds that advance notice should be given prior to SMM visits.

 

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement” for further information.

[1]  For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table.