Ukraine Live Day 426: OSCE Reports Ceasefire in Shirokino Holding

April 19, 2015
An OSCE monitor in Shirokino (Shyrokyne), Ukraine - April 15, 2015

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Russia Media Report Killing of Caucasus Emirate Leader

Russian media are reporting that Ali Abu Muhammad (Ali Kebekov), the
head of the terrorist group Caucasus Emirate, has been killed in a
“special operation” in Dagestan in which three militants including him
were “annihilated,” reported today, April 19 at 20:50 Moscow

Some pictures purporting to be of Kebekov’s bloodied and dead body are already circulating on the Internet.

Interfax reports a source that says the terrorists were hiding
in a bunker and were strafing law-enforcers in Buynaksk, a town in the Russian Federation’s Republic of Dagestan. The law-enforcers
then reported that they had “liquidated” the terrorists.

reports are common, and it is hard to verify them. Ali Abu Muhammad’s
predecessor, Doku Umarov, was reported killed numerous times until
finally, his own group reported that he was really dead in a raid.

counter-terrorism operation (CTO) had been under way in the neighboring
village of Gerey-Avlak, next to Buynaksk, this morning.
After children were allowed to leave a private home, spetnaz troops
stormed the building, causing the roof and walls to collapse. A
prolonged gun battle ensued and police had not managed to prevail as
darkness fell.

The US has included Kebekov in the list of
international terrorists. Earlier, he was included in the UN lists of
those sanctioned under the Committee on Sanctions as part of the Al
Qaeda terrorist network.

On April 16, the National Anti-Terrorist
Committee announced the “liquidation” in Nalchik of the head of the
militant underground in Kabardino-Balkaria. Russian authorities report
that they killed about 300 such armed suspects last year.

One specialist on North Caucasus militants said the report could be plausible.


Translation: It could happen that among those killed in Buynaks will be Emirates Caucasus Amir Kebekov.

OSCE Reports Ceasefire in Shirokino Holding

Two days ago the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) made a bold move by spending the entire night in the embattled town of Shirokino (Shyrokyne). The plan was to stay there to ensure that the ceasefire in the town took hold. The plan partially worked.

The OSCE reports: 

On 17 April, at 18:30hrs, an SMM team, composed of eight staff from the Head Office and the Mariupol Hub and led by the SMM Deputy Chief Monitor, replaced the SMM team that was in the village since 06:40hrs the same day. The SMM located a suitable site to monitor the ceasefire as foreseen in the Minsk package. The SMM parked its two armoured vehicles close to a shelter which the team could use if needed. The SMM marked its location with large OSCE flags which could be illuminated in case of emergency. Throughout the night the OSCE SMM Unmanned/Unarmed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hovered over Shyrokyne and environs, updating the SMM team in real-time about the situation in the area.

At the location of the SMM overnight presence “DPR” members were present at times. Between 23:00 and 23:22hrs and between 23:45 and 00:00hrs the SMM heard artillery duels at a distance of approximately 10km north of its position. During its overnight stay in Shyrokyne, the SMM did not register any ceasefire violation in or around the village of Shyrokyne.

On 18 April, at 06:30hrs, the team was replaced. At the time, the ceasefire in Shyrokyne was holding continuously for 59 hours and the SMM had an uninterrupted presence for more than 24 hours in the village. The SMM managed to access the village on six days in a row. The overnight team returned at 08:05hrs to the SMM base in Mariupol. 

Simon Ostrovsky has been in the town traveling with the OSCE and reporting for VICE news. In his latest dispatch he talks to Russian-backed rebels, OSCE monitors, and local residents. He also witnesses a gunfight, and the injury of a Russian journalist who triggered a landmine:

James Miller