01.01.2015—Birthday of Stepan Bandera
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 2 January 2015
(…) in Odessa city on 2 January, the SMM monitored a march commemorating the 106th birthday of Stepan Bandera in Odessa. Media reported that the march was banned by the city authorities. The SMM observed a court bailiff read out a court decision prohibiting the march to a "Svoboda" party representative who had notified the city council of the march. There were approximately 100 participants, both men and women ranging in age from 20–50. The event passed without incident.
The SMM monitored a march through Kyiv city marking the 106th birthday of Stepan Bandera. An estimated 3,500 participants (approx. 70% men) of all ages gathered at Shevchenko Park and marched to Maidan Square carrying "Svoboda" party and "Pravyi Sektor" (Right Sector) party flags. Police was present at the march. The crowd chanted pro-Ukrainian and anti-oligarch slogans before peacefully dispersing around 20:15hrs.
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 22 January 2015
On 1 January the SMM monitored the 106th anniversary celebration marking the birthday of Stepan Bandera at the Stepan Bandera monument in Lviv. The SMM observed about 150 people, mostly middle aged and elderly men, with 15 police officers present close to the gathering. City and regional administration officials and civic activists laid flowers on the monument.
In Ivano-Frankivsk on 1 January the SMM monitored a street parade to commemorate the birthday of Stepan Bandera. The event was organized by members of Ivano-Frankivsk "Svoboda" Party. Approximately 300 people, mainly middle aged men and women, marched through the city centre to the Stepan Bandera monument where the city mayor, the head of the Regional Council and other authorities gave speeches which focused on the need to support the Ukrainian Army in the east. Approximately 20 police officers were visible during the event. The event ended peacefully
22.01.2015—Day of Unity of Ukraine
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 22 January 2015
The SMM monitored a "Day of Unity of Ukraine" ceremony in Kharkiv. Around 80 participants, both men and women of all ages attended. The national flag of Ukraine and flags of the Svoboda party, Falcon and Azov volunteer battalions and "Pravyi Sektor" (Right Sector) were observed. Approximately 40–50 police were present. The rally ended peacefully.
Approximately 500 people attended the "Day of Unity of Ukraine" ceremony in Odessa. Local dignitaries were present. 50 uniformed police were at the location. Around 30 members (approximately equal numbers of men and women, average age 30–40 years) of the "Batkivschyna" (fatherland) Party and the Svoboda Party carried party flags. The ceremony passed without incident.
Around 200 persons of all ages (approximately 60 per cent men) gathered peacefully for the "Day of Unity of Ukraine" anniversary in Chernivtsi. Ten police attended. During a separate event in Chernivtsi, representatives of political parties and civil society organizations gave speeches emphasizing national unity. Members of the "Svoboda" party were particularly visible, holding flags and collecting donations for the "Sich" battalion. Four police were present.
On 22 January the SMM monitored a local march in honour of the "Ukrainian Day of Unity" in Ivano-Frankivsk. About 1,500 people took part; most were men, although some women and children participated. The "Pravyi Sektor" (Right Sector), "Self Defence" non-governmental organization (from Ivano-Frankisk region) and "Auto-Maidan" group each organized separate marching columns with their own flags. 15 uniformed police were present.
29.01.2015—the 1918 battle of Kruty
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 30 January 2015
On 29 January, the SMM monitored in several cities commemorations of the Ukrainian resistance against the Bolsheviks in the 1918 battle of Kruty. On Kherson’s Svoboda square, around 350 people were present and the speakers focused on similarities between the historic circumstances surrounding the battle and the current conflict in Ukraine. A group of 150–200 participants, led by "Pravyy Sektor" (Right Sector, RS) and Svoboda party activists marched through Ukhakova Street shouting patriotic slogans. In Odessa’s Shevchenko Park, approximately 150 participants, mostly men under the age of 40 gathered in the commemoration and the SMM observed RS, Svoboda party, "Patriot of Ukraine" and Azov battalion flags. At Ivano-Frankivsk’s Vichevyi square, the event was organized by the Youth Council, RS and two local NGOs, and was attended by around 600 participants, mostly young men. In Lviv city the SMM monitored a torchlight procession with approximately 300 people, mostly men, including around 100 from the RS most of which were in military fatigues. Similarities were drawn with the on-going conflict. The police was present at all four events and they ended peacefully.
19–20.02.2015—the first anniversary of Maidan.
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 19 February 2015
The SMM monitored a gathering in front of the Odessa regional administration building with some 200 people, mostly middle-aged men, supporters of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) political party, commemorating the first anniversary of Maidan. The crowd demanded a thorough investigation of the events. Some 60 police were present and the protest ended peacefully.
(…) On 18 February, the SMM monitored a march from the Ivano-Frankivsk central square to a memorial cemetery, organized by the Svoboda political party and commemorating the death of Maidan activists one year ago. A column of approximately 600–800 mostly elderly men attended the event which was monitored by some 20 police and ended peacefully.
The SMM monitored a gathering with the participation of around 3,000 male and female students at Lviv’s Taras Shevchenko monument commemorating the anniversary of the first death at Maidan as well as soldiers killed in the east during the conflict. There were seven police officers at the event which ended peacefully. The SMM also observed a ceremony at the regional State Security Service headquarters in Lviv with around 300 participants commemorating the first anniversary of Maidan.
In the streets around Kyiv’s Independence Square (Maidan) the SMM observed men in camouflage fatigues preparing for the Maidan commemorations planned for 20 February. (…)
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 20 February 2015
In Kharkiv on 20 February, the SMM monitored a ceremony marking the first anniversary of events in the city in February 2014. Around 250 people, of all ages (mostly males) were present. Ninety (60 men, 30 women) police officers were present.
In Lviv on 20 February, the SMM monitored a commemoration of events in Kyiv in February 2014. The event also marked the deaths of "Anti-Terrorist Operation" (ATO) participants. The commemoration was organised by the Co-ordination Council of National Resistance Headquarters. Approximately 800 women and 1,200 men, of all ages, held a minute’s silence for the deceased, followed by prayers and speeches. Twelve police officers (3 women; 9 men) were present.
The SMM observed commemorations in Kyiv on 20 February, marking the first anniversary of the Institutska Street shootings, near Maidan. On Institutska Street and on Maidan itself, the SMM observed hundreds of people—in small groups or individually—gathered in various commemorations. The atmosphere was peaceful. Dozens of police officers were also present.
22.02.2015—February 2014 events in Kharkiv
Spot report by Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, 22 February 2015: explosion in Kharkiv at march commemorating February 2014 pro-Maidan events
On 22 February 2015 at 13:15hrs, an explosion occurred at a pro-Maidan march commemorating the anniversary of February 2014 events in Kharkiv (during which three people died in demonstrations), outside the Palace of Sports on Marshal Zhukova Street (7km east of the city centre). The SMM, who were monitoring the commemoration, heard the blast and felt shockwaves from their position 100m away. The SMM arrived at the scene of the explosion at 13:20hrs, and saw two dead individuals covered with Ukrainian flags and casualties being attended to. The SMM noted the explosion caused no damage to nearby buildings or windows. At 14:45hrs, a police spokesperson and a representative of the prosecutor’s office gave a press conference at the scene, confirming that an explosive device killed two (one police officer, and one civilian taking part in the march) and injured eleven, six of whom were police officers.
The SMM observed that the main commemoration had concluded and that approximately 500 participants (approximately equal numbers of men and women and some children) were on Marshal Zhukova Street carrying a 250m long Ukrainian national flag to Liberty Square when the device was detonated. Police confirmed to SMM that the explosion took place at the head of the march which was led by police officers escorting participants to Liberty Square. The police also informed the SMM that the device consisted of the explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT) and shrapnel concealed in a plastic bag and was detonated remotely. According to police, the device was similar to one that exploded at the Moscovyi District Courthouse in Kharkiv (see SMM Daily Report based on information as of 21 January). The incident is being investigated as an act of terrorism according to police.
09.03.2015—the birth of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko
Latest from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 18:00hrs (Kyiv time), 9 March 2015
In Kharkiv, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv, the SMM observed events commemorating the 201st anniversary of the birth of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. All events monitored by the SMM were peaceful, with a significant police presence observed particularly in Kharkiv. There, the SMM observed that around 100 police officers had encircled the Shevchenko monument, and were checking bags of those entering the square. In Kyiv the event in Shevchenko park, which gathered approximately 400 people, mainly middle aged men and women, was attended by the Ukrainian President.
13.04.2015—the Katyn massacre
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 13 April 2015
(…) in Kharkiv, on 12 April, the SMM monitored a memorial service dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. The ceremony was attended by approximately 60 persons, men and women of different ages. Representatives of both the Orthodox and Catholic churches were also present.
28.04.2015—the Chernobyl catastrophe
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 28 April 2015
On 26 April, the SMM monitored a gathering of around 400 people in Lviv, mostly men aged between 50 and 70, commemorating the 29th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe.
08.05.2015—Reconciliation and Commemoration Day
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 8 May 2015
The SMM observed several official ceremonies for the "Reconciliation and Commemoration Day" in the country. In Kharkiv, the SMM observed that approximately 1,000 people were present (mixed gender and age composition, predominantly young and middle-aged people) at the ceremony. The SMM saw about 450 police officers at the event. The SMM monitored the ceremony in Ivano-Frankivsk, where approximately 900 people (mixed gender and age composition) gathered in order to commemorate victims of World War II. Approximately 25 police officers were present. In Odessa, the SMM saw nearly 500 participants (different ages and an equal number of men and women) and approximately 30 police officers. All events passed peacefully and no security incidents were reported.
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 10 May 2015
The SMM monitored a 9 May commemoration at Dnepropetrovsk’s General Pushkin Tank Memorial and the nearby Glory Monument organized by the "Opposition Bloc," the "Soviet Officers’ Union of Ukraine" and the "Anti-fascist Union." Approximately 300 people of all ages, including numerous war veterans, were present. Many participants wore the St. George ribbon. At a second gathering in a nearby street, the "Commemoration Ceremony for the Anti-Terrorist Operation Heroes" organized by the "Country Defence Foundation", 200 participants (mostly young and middle-aged men, some women) took part, many of whom wore the remembrance poppy. While the SMM observed heated individual discussions between participants of the opposing rallies, the overall atmosphere was peaceful. The SMM saw around 100 police officers, some wearing riot gear.
In Kherson the SMM estimated that 10,000–15,000 persons were gathered in the Park of Glory for 9 May commemorations. Representatives of Pravyy Sektor (Right Sector) and the Samooborona group were in attendance, though without flags and banners following an agreement between the governor, political parties, and local community representatives on abstaining from displays of political insignia during the commemorations. The SMM observed some of the estimated 700–800 police present ordering citizens wearing the St. George ribbons to remove them.
On 9 May at Cathedral Square in Chernivtsi, the SMM observed a peaceful commemoration at the war memorial attended by approximately 550 people (mostly men aged over 50 years old). Thirty police were present.
The SMM monitored the laying of wreaths at the Hill of Glory memorial in Lviv on 9 May. Dozens of citizens and war veterans attended. Approximately 200 police officers secured the area, including 30 riot police, together with activists from self-defence groups and the Svoboda party. The SMM observed an isolated incident when Svoboda activists removed a St. George ribbon from an elderly man and burnt it.
Official commemorative events in Kyiv on 8 May were closed to the public. On 9 May tens of thousands of people gathered in Kyiv to commemorate war veterans. Government officials, members of political parties and citizens laid flowers at monuments in Glory Park and at the World War II museum. Large numbers of law enforcement were present, both uniformed and plainclothes police officers, at all public gatherings. At least four separate groups, numbering from 10–40 people (mainly pensioners, most of whom were female) carried flags and posters associated with the Communist Party to Glory Park. The groups were protected by several rings of law enforcement officers. One group was blocked by 3–4 young men near the park. The police kept the two sides apart and the group was able to proceed. Another group carrying two communist flags were confronted by approximately 10 men (aged between 20–35 years of age) in irregular military uniforms who tore the flags out of their hands.
18.05.2015—the Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 18 May 2015
The SMM observed events commemorating the anniversary of the 18 May 1944 Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars and protesting against the events involving the Russian Federation and Crimea. In Kyiv, the SMM followed an event that included the participation of the Ukrainian President and Prime Minister as well as the Turkish Foreign Minister and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. Other events included a 17 May gathering in Kharkiv of some 100 people, both men and women and of varying ages, organized by Euromaidan activists and with the participation of the local Tatar community—as well as the presence of approximately 30 police officers. The SMM also monitored a similar commemorative event in Dnepropetrovsk attended by a small group of 20 people, including the leader of the local Tatar community and members of the Muslim community.
23.05.2015—Day of Heroes
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 24 May 2015
The SMM monitored several events in Lviv commemorating the "Day of Heroes". On 23 May, approximately two hundred participants of all ages, mostly women, gathered in the city centre, sang the national anthem and formed a human chain symbolizing the strength of civil activism. On 24 May, the Lviv city department of culture organized a flower-laying ceremony at the monument of the chief commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), Roman Shukhevych, which was attended by approximately 30 participants. Also on 24 May, approximately 1,000 persons, mostly elderly men, attended a procession in the city centre. The participants included representatives and veterans of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) including members of the OUN volunteer battalion in camouflage uniforms and holding red and black flags, veterans of the UPA, patriotic youth, scout organizations and school students were also present as were several political representatives and nationalist NGOs. The police were present and the events ended peacefully in all cases.
17.07.2015—the downing of Malaysian Airline Flight MH17
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 17 July 2015
In Kyiv as well as at the crash site in Hrabove ("DPR"-controlled, 64km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM observed a minute of silence for the victims of the downing of Malaysian Airline Flight MH17 on the occasion of the first anniversary of this tragedy. At the site, the SMM observed about a dozen civilians (different age and gender) gathered near a new-looking stone monument—reading "to the victims of the civil war". The SMM did not observe any foreigners aside international news crews. Local residents told the SMM that a small workers group had installed the monument two days ago. The interlocutors told the SMM that a "DPR"-organized ceremony had taken place earlier that day, following a service at a local church. They said about 500 people had attended the event—mainly local residents, but also several "DPR" armed personnel. According to the interlocutors, "DPR" leadership including Mr. Zakharchenko attended the ceremony. While leaving Hrabove, the SMM passed a "DPR" convoy of 10 infantry fighting vehicles (BMP) and 30 "DPR" armed members.
08.09.2015—the liberation of the Donbas area at the end of World War II
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 8 September 2015
In Donetsk city centre the SMM monitored commemorations of the liberation of the Donbas area at the end of World War II, attended by up to 1,000 people, and organised by Donetsk "city hall". While present in the city centre, the SMM heard 58 explosions which the SMM assessed to be consistent with artillery or mortar fire between 10:30 and 12:07hrs. The SMM could not confirm the type of weapon or whether the explosions were incoming or outgoing.
16.09.2015—the murder of Heorhii Gongadze
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 16 September 2015
In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a gathering of approximately 150 journalists (various ages, both male and female) commemorating the 15th anniversary of the murder of Heorhii Gongadze. The journalists demanded that cases of attacks and intimidation of journalists be effectively investigated. They pointed out that of 36 cases of assaults on journalists in 2015 only three cases were submitted to courts.
14.10.2015—Day of Ukraine’s Defender
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 14 October 2015
The SMM observed parades and gatherings to mark the "Day of Ukraine’s Defender" held in a number of cities. In Dnepropetrovsk, members of the Dnipro-1 battalion (under the Ministry of Internal Affairs) marched from the regional administration building to the city centre. Five armoured personnel carriers, each of them displaying Dnipro-1 insignia were at the head of the parade. Approximately 80 men in military-type fatigues, 100 civilians (mixed gender and age) and two police platoons (male and female) consisting of approximately 30 officers each participated in the march. In Kyiv, the SMM observed a gathering of members and supporters of Svoboda party and Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor), as well as the movements "Congress of Ukrainian nationalists" and "Organization of Ukrainian nationalists" in preparation of the "March of Heroes". Of approximately 4,000 people (mixed gender and age), at least 200 were wearing various uniforms from different epochs of Ukrainian history. The crowd gathered at Mykhailivska Square and marched through the city centre towards the Lukyanivske detention facility, carrying Svoboda and Right Sector flags. About 600 police officers accompanied the march. Speeches in front of the detention facility were held, expressing dissatisfaction over the Government’s treatment of volunteer battalions and veterans. The march continued towards Podil detention facility where a concert in support of what was referred to as "political prisoners" took place. Approximately 100 National Guard members, 200 regular police and 200 additional riot police and 50 traffic police officers were guarding the major street entrance to the detention facility. At least 2,000 people (mixed gender and age) of which one third dressed in camouflage military-style clothing (some of them with insignia from the Right Sector and various other volunteer battalions) attended the concert. The situation was calm. At around 17:15hrs, the crowd dispersed In Kharkiv, 500 people (mixed gender and age) gathered in the Memorial Park. Approximately 200 police officers were guarding the area. Local politicians and veterans gave speeches, the national anthem was sung and the crowd laid flowers at the base of the memorial statue. Gatherings were also observed in Mariupol (103km south of Donetsk), Krasnoarmiisk (55km north-west of Donetsk) and Ivano-Frankivsk. The SMM observed about 150 to 350 people (mixed gender and age) gathering in the respective places. Police presence varied from two to about ten.
01.11.2015—the establishment of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR)
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 1 November 2015
On 1 November in Lviv, the SMM observed approximately 250 people—of mixed age and gender—at a commemoration dedicated to the 97th anniversary of the establishment of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR). The mayor of Lviv, among other people, addressed the crowd. The SMM saw two police cars. The event passed off peacefully.
Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 29 November 2015
On 28 November the SMM observed events remembering the victims of the 1930s Holodomor famine in Chernivtsi (300 people), Kharkiv (200, 100 and 30 people attended in three locations, respectively), Ivano-Frankivsk (250 people), Odessa (20 and 135 people attended in two locations, respectively) and Lviv (30 and 60 people attended in two locations, respectively). All observed events were overseen by law enforcement and passed off peacefully. In Kyiv at the Holodomor Genocide Memorial, during a commemoration ceremony, not open to the public, President Poroshenko honoured the victims of the famine.