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"The situation remained tense in and around "Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR")-controlled Kominternove (23km north-east of Mariupol). Positioned immediately south-west of the village between 11:45 and 11:57hrs on January 16, the SMM heard 30-35 single shots of small-arms and three bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire to the west-south-west," the OSCE SMM said in an update on Monday, January 18, based on information received as of 19:30 local time on January 17.

"At 12:53hrs, the SMM heard one undetermined explosion and at 13:22hrs, three undetermined explosions, 10-15km to the south-south-west. The following day at the same position, the SMM heard one shot of small-arms 1km to the south. Also on January 17 – positioned on the outskirts of nearby "DPR"-controlled Oktiabr (29km north-east of Mariupol) – the SMM heard one explosion to the south-west. An armed "DPR" member present told the SMM that the explosion had been caused by a tank round impacting in Kominternove. Whilst in government-controlled Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol) at 11:14hrs, the monitors heard three single shots of small-arms to the east," the report said.

According to the update, in "DPR"-controlled Telmanove (50km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM on January 16 observed that part of the hospital building was occupied by armed "DPR" members, and sandbags and ammunition boxes were placed around the entrance and at windows. The mission monitors noted that another building in the town was similarly fortified.

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The SMM also said they heard several bursts of small-arms fire 2km to the west in "DPR"-controlled Horlivka (39km north-east of Donetsk) between 12:10 and 12:50hrs on January 16.

What is more, OSCE monitors reported an SMM patrol had come under small-arms fire in the town of Maryinka. On January 16, a five-person SMM patrol – facilitating the repair of critical infrastructure in government-controlled Maryinka (23km south-west of militant-occupied Donetsk), 1.5km from the contact line – heard what it assessed to have been one or two small-arms rounds. Having left the area, the SMM noted that the rear window in one of its vehicles was shattered. No bullets were found in the trunk, which is separated from the rest of the vehicle by armored plating.