Daily Archives: July 20, 2015

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 19 July 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 SMM continued to observe ceasefire violations at and around Donetsk airport. The SMM observed shelling in Donetsk city centre for the first time in several months and observed the aftermath of the shelling in residential neighbourhoods there, while also hearing reports and observing the effects of shelling in and around government-controlled Avdiivka to the north. The situation in Luhansk region remained relatively calm.

The violence in and around “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled Donetsk airport and city directly impacted residential areas during the reporting period and resulted in one civilian death, confirmed by the SMM. At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation point at Donetsk central railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk city centre), on 18 July the SMM heard 112 incoming and outgoing explosions consistent with mortar (120mm) and antiaircraft gun fire at locations ranging from 3 to 5km and from the north to the west. [1] The SMM from its base in the city centre then heard more than 50 loud explosions assessed as incoming and outgoing fire in Donetsk city overnight. The security situation calmed during the day on 19 July, when the SMM observed only 24 explosions at and around the airport.

Meanwhile the SMM on 18 July visited the JCCC office in government-controlled Avdiivka (15km north-north-west of Donetsk), where Ukrainian and Russian Federation representatives described tank and artillery shelling for the second consecutive day (17 and 18 July) from the direction of “DPR”-controlled Spartak (10km north-west of Donetsk). They also reported that three civilians had been killed when a nine-storey apartment building and a house were struck by artillery. The representatives said that a JCCC observation point located in the apartment building, overlooking Donetsk airport, had also been seriously damaged in the shelling and rendered unusable. Because of ongoing insecurity, the SMM was not in a position to confirm these reports. The SMM observed a main battle tank (MBT, T-64) stationary in between apartment buildings in Avdiivka. The SMM also travelled to the settlement of Lastotska (government-controlled, 5km west of Avdiivka and 18km north-west of Donetsk), where it observed three unexploded howitzer rounds (152mm), 18 craters that it assessed to have been caused by howitzer rounds (152mm) and substantial damage to surrounding buildings consistent with artillery shelling. Furthermore the SMM on 18 July observed evidence in the form of shell fragments and fuses consistent with Ukrainian Armed Forces reports of artillery shelling on 16 July near the JCCC observation point in Luhanske (government-controlled, 59km north-east of Donetsk).

On 19 July the SMM observed the aftermath of shelling overnight and conducted crater analyses in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city, visiting a total of 12 impact sites. Around 80 Universytetska Street and 69 Shchorsa Street (2.5km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM observed three fresh craters that it concluded had been caused by MBT fragmentation shells (125mm) fired from the north-west. At Hospital No. 23 at 46 Tselinogradska Street (4km west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM observed three fresh craters that it also concluded had been caused by MBT fragmentation shells (125mm) fired from the north-west. In both cases, the SMM was able to conclude the direction of fire to have been from the area of government-controlled Pisky (11km north-west of Donetsk) and Pervomaiske (17km north-west of Donetsk). Moreover, the SMM learned that a security guard at a construction site close to 69 Shchorsa Street had been killed – and the SMM observed damage to a smouldering building there, with a direct hit to the roof, and then visited Kalinina morgue and confirmed the death of the 31-year-old man.

The SMM was invited on 19 July by the Russian Federation Lieutenant-General, head of the Russian Federation side to the JCCC, to observe what he described as the withdrawal of “DPR” MBTs and weapons under-100mm calibre from the contact line. The SMM, along with media representatives, first followed the Russian Federation JCCC and “DPR” delegation to Lozove (“DPR”-controlled, 13km west of Donetsk city), where it observed a column of three MBTs (T-64) move approximately 1.28km south-east and into a forest near the town. Then around Novolapsa (“DPR”-controlled, 47km south of Donetsk), the SMM observed four BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles drive east approximately 4.3km and park in a forest – with the journalists filming the event with the use of a camera drone.

The SMM monitored several international border-crossing points between Ukraine and the Russian Federation during the reporting period and found Uspenka (“DPR”-controlled, 73km south-east of Donetsk) to be the busiest. On 18 July the SMM observed at Uspenka some 150 civilian cars, 50 civilian trucks and several civilian buses waiting to cross into the Russian Federation, with travellers reporting waiting times of up to 24 hours. The “DPR” “commander” said it was not possible to speed up the process of checking travellers’ documents.

The general security situation in Luhansk region remained relatively calm, though the SMM observed three ceasefire violations. The SMM, based on the sound, assessed that some heavy-machine gun and mortar fire had originated from a Ukrainian Armed Forces training ground next to Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk). The SMM also heard three artillery explosions south-south-west of government-controlled Putylyne (44km north-west of Luhansk) and heavy machine gun and incoming mortar fire east-north-east of government-controlled Komyshuvakha (66km west of Luhansk).

The SMM also received several unconfirmed reports of fighting in Luhansk region, including mortar, automatic grenade launcher shelling and small arms fire. Local residents and Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel reported fighting around government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk) on 17-18 July and around Zolote (60km north-west of Luhansk) nightly. On 19 July Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel in Novotoshkivske (53km north-west of Luhansk) reported having being shelled by heavy weapons around midnight.

At the government-controlled crossing-point north of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), on 18 July the SMM observed four young men, who had walked across the bridge from “Lugansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”)-controlled areas and who identified themselves as students from India, and had been refused passage despite having proper documentation. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) commander there said the crossing point was currently closed and said people who wished to cross the contact line should pass through Lysychansk (government-controlled 75km north-west of Luhansk), the only official crossing point still open in Luhansk region but also prone to closure depending on the security situation.

On 19 July the SMM revisited two “DPR” heavy weapon holding areas. While their locations comply with Minsk withdrawal lines, the SMM was not able to conclude that all previously recorded weapons were in situ at either site. At one site, the SMM was denied access to confirm the serial numbers on six towed antitank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), just as “DPR” personnel had previously denied access (see SMM Daily Report 9 July 2015). At the other site, the SMM observed that one self-propelled howitzer (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) was missing.

On 18 July, the SMM revisited 11 Ukrainian Armed Forces heavy weapon holding areas. While their locations comply with Minsk withdrawal lines, at four of the sites the SMM was not able to conclude that all previously recorded weapons were in situ. At one site, the SMM observed that four multiple launcher rocket systems (MLRS) (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) were missing and that the site had been abandoned. At a second site, the SMM observed three MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm) were missing. The SMM found a third site abandoned, and with none of the six previously recorded self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) in situ. At a fourth site the SMM observed that two of 10 previously recorded self-propelled artillery guns (2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm) were missing. Also on 18 July the SMM visited one Ukrainian Armed Forces holding area for the first time, concluding that its location complies with Minsk withdrawal lines, and recording six heavy mortars (2S12 Sani, 120mm). The SMM on 19 July revisited one Ukrainian Armed Forces holding area, and concluded that its location complies with Minsk withdrawal lines and that all previously recorded weapons were in situ.

Despite claims by all sides that heavy weapons have been withdrawn, the SMM continued to observe the movement and presence of heavy weapons in areas proscribed by the Minsk arrangements. In government-controlled area, SMM observations included four MLRS (Grad BM-21), four MBTs (T-64) on trailers, nine armoured personnel carriers (BTR, including three with ZSU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns) and three military-type trucks carrying soldiers and all moving north-east and parallel to the contact line. In government-controlled areas of Luhansk region, observations included two main battle tanks (T-64), nine infantry fighting vehicles (BMP-1) and three armoured personnel carriers as well as armed soldiers in combat gear.

SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), while monitoring both government- and “DPR”-controlled areas, on 18 July did not observe any ceasefire violations or presence of heavy weapons in areas proscribed by the Minsk arrangements. On 19 July, however, the SMM UAV observed in government-controlled Hranitne  (46km north-east of Mariupol) two MBTs and one towed artillery gun. The UAV observed in “DPR”-controlled Yasne (30km south-west of Donetsk) outgoing mortar fire impacting government-controlled Berezove (31.3km south-west of Donetsk). On 19 July the SMM UAV was subjected to electronic interference of an intentional, military nature.* Also, the SMM observed the movement and presence of other military equipment and troops across Donetsk region, not in violation of Minsk but indicative of the build-up and, at times, the concentration of military resources. In “DPR”-controlled areas the SMM observed 31 military-type trucks and two military-type fuel trucks close to the line of contact.

In Lviv on 17 July the SMM monitored a peaceful protest by some 20 members of Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor), mainly men of various ages, in front of the Lviv University of Internal Affairs. The Right Sector members told the SMM that they were continuing to protest against what they described as a failure to properly investigate criminal cases. The following day the SMM observed that Right Sector members had removed their protest site, comprised of two small tents and piled tires, from in front of the Lviv Regional State Administration. Further, the SMM confirmed 18 July that Right Sector had also dismantled its checkpoint in Hamaliivka (13km north-east of Lviv) and, according to police, Right Sector also closed its checkpoint in Yasenivtsi (63km east of Lviv) on 14 July (see SMM Daily Report 15 July 2015). In Chernivtsi the SMM observed on 17 July that Right Sector supporters who had been protesting on the city’s central square since 12 July, following the events in neighbouring Zakarpattia region (see SMM Spot Report 12 July 2015), had ended their protest.

In Mykolaiv (60km north-west of Kherson), the deputy head of the district Social Policy Department for Mykolaiv region told the SMM on 16 July that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mykolaiv has been gradually decreasing, e.g., from 8,858 on 15 June to 8,250 on 15 July – with, he said, IDPs returning home to Donbas and Crimea or moving to other regions of Ukraine. Though the deputy head said the profile of the IDPs remains relatively consistent, with women, many with small children, making up the majority (70%) and pensioners representing the biggest social category (49%).

The SMM continued to monitor the situations in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa, Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk.

* 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, particularly those controlled by the “LPR”. The SMM UAVs cannot operate in Luhansk region as it is beyond their range.

Freedom of Movement:

  • On 18 July the SMM was stopped and refused passage at a “DPR” checkpoint 5km west of Oktiabr (“DPR”-controlled, 87km south of Donetsk). “DPR” armed men threatened to open fire if the monitors or vehicles moved. After 48 minutes the SMM was allowed to leave the area, and returned to base.

Interference with the UAV:

  • On 19 July, between 17:13 and 18:26hrs, the SMM UAV experienced severe jamming while flying north of government-controlled Mariupol. The jamming was wide-spectrum, interfering with or blocking all UAV communication and control channels. Due to this interference it was impossible to determine the directional source of the jamming. However, it was noted that the jamming was the strongest while the aircraft was flying over government-controlled Hranitne (46km north-east of Mariupol).

 

* 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 table here.

A Milestone for Justice in Africa

The former president of Chad will be tried in a court in Senegal, with a Burkinabe judge presiding, all under AU auspices. “Chad’s former dictator Hissene Habre will make history tomorrow when he is tried in Senegal over his regime’s brutality — the first time a despot from one African country has been called to account by another.  Once dubbed “Africa’s Pinochet”, the 72-year-old has been in custody in Senegal since his arrest in June 2013 at the home he shared with his wife and children. Rights groups say 40,000 people were killed during his eight years in power under a regime marked by fierce repression of his opponents and the targeting of rival ethnic groups.Habre, who held power between 1982 and 1990, is charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture.(AFP http://yhoo.it/1Gu3cFJ)

Fingers Crossed…The four remaining patients infected during Liberia’s recent string of Ebola cases have recovered, meaning there are currently no confirmed cases in the country though more than 100 people are still under surveillance, a health official said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1I3bKV2)

Quote of the day: Merkel Digs Deeper… German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her controversial comments to a Palestinian refugee girl. “On Sunday, Merkel said on ARD television it wouldn’t have been fair to other refugees if she’d said ‘because you’ve just met the chancellor, your fate will be resolved faster.’” (AP http://yhoo.it/1Mjaswk)

Africa

Last-ditch talks between Burundi’s government and opposition aimed at resolving a major political crisis over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial re-election bid appear to be headed for failure, sources close to the negotiations said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1I3bPYS)

Three candidates, including two former presidents, announced their withdrawal from Burundi’s upcoming presidential race, predicting the contest in this restive African nation will not be free and fair. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ja7W9B)

Some of the ancient mausoleums of Timbuktu, shrines and tombs of Sufi saints which were a place of pilgrimage for centuries have been restored through a local and international project, three years after they were deliberately destroyed by armed groups linked to al-Qaida. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1Jrp5Yi)

Republic of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso received the green light from a political forum on the future of the country’s institutions to try extend his lengthy rule. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1VidEuX)

#Nairobistrong…Kenya’s Westgate shopping mall reopened on Saturday nearly two years after gunmen from the Somali militant group al Shabaab massacred at least 67 people inside and held out for four days as security forces laid siege to the complex. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Gu2Ej3)

The United States will offer to help Nigeria’s new leader track down billions of dollars in stolen assets and increase U.S. military assistance to fight Islamic militants, U.S. officials said, as Washington seeks to “reset” ties with Africa’s biggest economy. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Gu3cW5)

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has warned that death row inmates should expect to have their sentences implemented, apparently signalling an end to a three-year unofficial moratorium on executions. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1I3bSE1)

MENA

At least nine Algerian soldiers were killed when Islamist militants ambushed their patrol west of the capital Algiers last week in one of the deadliest attacks in months, the defence ministry said on Sunday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1MjbiJh)

At least 57 civilians were killed on Sunday when Shiite rebels bombarded Yemen’s second city Aden, where Saudi-backed pro-government forces have made gains against the insurgents, a health official said.  (Straits Times http://bit.ly/1JrpcDf)

The Islamic State group used poison gas in attacks against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria in late June, a Syrian Kurdish militia and a group monitoring the Syrian conflict said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1I3bQMr)

Italy arrested three Egyptian men who are suspected to have piloted a boat carrying more than 300 migrants to Italy from Egypt, including a 10-year-old Syrian girl whose father said she died during the sea crossing, according to Italian media. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1MjbiJw)

A U.S.-led coalition dropped new leaflets over the de facto capital of the Islamic State group in Syria, promising those below that “freedom will come” to the region, activists said Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Gu3goV)

Mains water and electricity have returned to large parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo following a three-week cut after al Qaeda’s local wing stopped water supplies to pressure the government, a group monitoring the war said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Ja7SXF)

Reporters Without Borders on Sunday welcomed the release of two Syrian media activists freed in an Eid gesture, but called for a third man detained with them to also be freed. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1VieoAk)

A softening Islamic State? Isis chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has allegedly issued a decree that bans the use of execution videos, used to further the cause of the jihadist extremist militant group and self-proclaimed caliphate. The gory footage may deter young recruits from joining the rank and file terrorist organization, purports ringleader al-Baghdadi. (Examiner http://exm.nr/1SvQUDx)

Asia

A leader of student protests in Myanmar in 1988 that grew into a nationwide pro-democracy movement will run in a general election in November for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, a party spokesman said on Sunday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Gu3eNz)

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says it has lodged a protest with the Indian government over what it calls a series of “unprovoked ceasefire violations” in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. (AP http://yhoo.it/1VienfL)

Andal Ampatuan Sr., a former Philippine governor and one of the main suspects accused of ordering the killings of 58 people in the Philippines’ worst massacre, has died of a heart attack in a government hospital, his lawyer said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ja7SXs)

The Marshall Islands, a small island country at high risk of climate change-induced sea level rise, vowed Sunday to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third within a decade. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Dp0GR6)

The Americas

Officials and human rights officials say a 11-day-long strike is starting to cause serious food shortages in the Bolivian city of Potosi. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ja7U1J)

The government of Nicaragua is promoting organic farming, but some farmers are skeptical of the push. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1Gu2iZA)

Former Venezuelan state Governor Pablo Perez said on Saturday he had been barred from holding public office for 10 years, the third ban on an opposition politician in the last week. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1VieaJz)

Colombian officials will soon begin exhumation of a mass grave that could prove to be the largest in the country’s history, authorities said. (AP http://yhoo.it/1Ja7SH1)

A Colombian army officer who was held by rebels for 11 days has been turned over to the International Committee of the Red Cross. (AP http://yhoo.it/1MetwuK)

…and the rest

Inside a foil sachet, which looks more at home in a fast-food restaurant, an exact dose of antiretroviral medicine is helping to protect newborn babies against the threat of infection from their HIV-positive mothers. (BBC http://bbc.in/1SvL8lf)

Opinion/Blogs

The Guardian view on global development goals: heed the good news, but more needs to be done (Editorial http://bit.ly/1SvLfxq)

Did the UN financing for development conference deliver? (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Ja7I2h)

What Do A Chlorinator And A Condom Tied To A Catheter Have In Common? (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1MewRKg)

Partnerships and innovation to defeat malaria: an interview with Dr David Reddy (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1MeucAe)

Addis: A Good First Step, but a Terrible Last Word, for 2015 (CGD http://bit.ly/1MeucA4)

Global Innovation Fund names first CEO, charts path forward (Devex http://bit.ly/1Mjg2P9)

Do-gooders, do no harm: What are the best–and worst–ways to help those mired in international conflicts? (Monkey Cage http://wapo.st/1Mjga17)

State-building in western China continues apace (Rachel Strohm http://bit.ly/1MjgexY)

Ugandan To Aid Groups: Don’t Tell Us What We Need — Ask Us! (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1Mjgixv)

Discussion

comments…

Afghan officials say 10 soldiers killed in U.S. air strike

NNA – (Agence France Presse) A U.S. air strike killed at least 10 Afghan soldiers Monday at an army checkpoint in a Taliban-infested province south of Kabul, officials said, the latest “friendly fire” incident involving foreign coalition forces.

The bombing in Baraki Barak district of Logar province comes after a similar NATO air strike in the area in December killed five civilians and wounded six others.

“At 6:00 am (0130 GMT) today, two U.S. helicopters attacked a checkpoint in Baraki Barak,” district governor Mohammad Rahim Amin told Agence France Presse.

“The checkpoint caught fire… and 10 Afghan army soldiers were killed,” he added, revising down his earlier toll of 14.

===================== L.Y

YPO Africa Region Hosts Ignite Summit for Chief Executives

Event Inspires Business Leaders to Contribute to Africa’s Future

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Africa Region of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the world’s premier peer network of chief executives and business leaders, held its second Africa Ignite Summit in Johannesburg, gathering 130 YPO members together to discuss opportunities for entrepreneurship in Africa.

The YPO Africa Region provides networking and educational opportunities for more than 700 members in 21 chapters representing 17 countries across the continent. Globally, YPO today provides 23,000 peers and their families in 130 countries with access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialised networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Around the world, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues.

“Africa is rising, and YPO members are uniquely poised to make a positive contribution to the future of the continent,” says Gabriel Malan, group managing director of Unlimited Group (Pty) Ltd and the chair of YPO’s Africa Region. “The Africa Ignite Summit connected and inspired attendees, preparing them to embark on new journeys in the business world.”

While many parts of the world are still struggling to grow after six years of global recession, Africa’s GDP continues on a robust growth trajectory. According to IMF, the trend will continue for the foreseeable future, with a predicted growth of Sub-Saharan Africa at 5.57 percent by 2018. African entrepreneurs and startups are playing a significant role in this growth, pioneering new home-grown innovations across the continent.

The event featured keynotes from seven YPO members, who are among those leading change across Sub-Saharan Africa. Member entrepreneurs imparted their success stories from industries such as ecotourism, technology and manufacturing, all serving to inspire and create passion for strengthening Africa.

Of the presenters, Darshan Chandaria, CEO of Chandaria Industries and a YPO member from Nairobi, shared his experiences with the auto manufacturing company Mobius Motors, which launched Kenya’s first mass market vehicle. To view his presentation, visit https://vimeo.com/128901399.

Participants also heard from Calum Philp, managing director of Pro Brands and a YPO member from Harare. Calum started his fast-moving consumer goods company at the age of 18 during the height of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation era and discussed how he succeeded by conquering monopolies during a recession. Today, Pro Brands is one of the top 10 suppliers in the country.

Other member presenters included: Chijoke Dozie, managing director of Kaizen; Adam Riley, managing director of Rockjumper; Gil Oved, co-CEO of Creative Counsel; Rob Sussman, CEO of Integr8 IT; and Themba Baloyi, executive director of Discovery Insure.

About YPO
YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange(TM). Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 23,000 peers and their families in 130 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialised networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit www.ypo.org.

CONTACT: Young Presidents’ Organization, Inc.
press@ypo.org