The OSCE mission is not a bargaining chip

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The United States reminded Russia that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) is not a bargaining chip and that Moscow should not use it in its conflict with Ukraine.

According to Ukrinform, the charge d’affaires of the US mission to the OSCE Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller said this during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, October 28.

“We are relieved that the protests outside the SMM Monitor Hotel in the city of Donetsk have ceased and patrols have resumed. The international community depends on the SMM monitors’ reports, but their safety is paramount. If Russia has a dispute with Ukraine, it must be resolved diplomatically. The multinational SMM is not a bargaining chip, “she said.

The US diplomat also noted that this latest incident is also “a perfect illustration of why Russia should return to the Joint Control and Coordination Commission, or JCCC.” It would be “an important step towards the implementation of a lasting ceasefire,” she said.

“Despite the conclusion of the protests, we call on Russia to allow the SMM to fulfill its mandate and to monitor all of Ukraine, including the parts of the Donbass controlled by Russia and the Russian-occupied Crimea. Russia must stop. to obstruct SMM patrols, to jam drones thefts and tampering with SMM cameras, ”said Rosenstock-Siller.

She also added that unrestricted SMM movements in Russian-controlled territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, across the line of contact and across the so-called inter-regional demarcation line “should be the norm, not the exception “.

On October 13, the Russian occupation forces resorted to blatant provocation when an armed group wearing Joint Control and Coordination Center armbands were caught red-handed during a reconnaissance mission under the guise of ‘a demining effort near abandoned Ukrainian army positions. Forces. One of the members of the group, Russian national Andrey Kosyak born in 1978, was arrested on the spot. Weapons and ammunition were seized from him. Ukrainian law enforcement suspects the man of having committed a serious crime in 2010 under article 115 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code

After that, on October 15, the Russian occupation administration in Donetsk organized a “demonstration” in front of the hotel where the OSCE SMM members reside, criticizing the activities of the SMM and in particular the events that took place. produced inside the disengagement zone near Zolote on October 13, when a member of the armed formations was reportedly detained by the Ukrainian armed forces.

On October 17, Russian-backed forces blocked the exit of the OSCE SMM forward patrol base in the temporarily occupied town of Horlivka. Observers were also not allowed to leave the hotel. OSCE observers were informed that “they were not allowed to leave the hotel premises until the member of the armed formations allegedly detained by the Ukrainian armed forces in the disengagement zone near Zolote on October 13 was released ”.

The OSCE SMM resumed its patrols from its base in Horlivka on the afternoon of October 18.

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