UWC welcomes extension of mandate of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

#UWC news
March 29,2018 135

The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) welcomes the decision by the OSCE Permanent Council of 22 March 2018 to extend the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine until 31 March 2019. With this decision, OSCE participating States have once again demonstrated unwavering commitment to supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its efforts to counter Russian aggression in the eastern part of the country.

The SMM was first deployed in Ukraine on 21 March 2014 following a request by the Ukrainian authorities. To date, the activities of over 1,000 unarmed civilian monitors and administrative staff have been very important in finding a resolution to the ongoing hostilities in the Donbas, namely in monitoring the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Over the past four years, the SMM has gathered a wealth of factual data on the security situation in the Donbas, namely, the status of the ceasefire violations, withdrawal of heavy weapons and military manoeuvres.

In 2017, the ОSCE reported: 1) an increase in ceasefire violations from 320,130 in 2016 to 401,336 in 2017; 2) an increase in instances when weapons in violation of Minsk withdrawal lines were observed from 3,099 in 2016 to 4,065 in 2017; and 3) an increase in impediments to the free movement of the SMM from 1,950 instances in 2016 to 2,422 in 2017. This provides hard evidence to the international community regarding the deteriorating situation in the region. In view of that, the UWC welcomes the permanent presence of the SMM, which is instrumental to providing impartial coverage of the facts of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Since the SMM mandate covers the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, the UWC also calls on the OSCE to include monitoring of the human rights situation on the territory of Crimea, illegally occupied by the Russian Federation since February 2014. The UWC also calls on the international community to pressure the Russian Federation to allow unhindered access for the SMM to the entire area of the temporarily occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, including access to the entire stretch of the Ukraine-Russian Federation border currently not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities.

“The Ukrainian World Congress welcomes the decision to extend the SMM mandate for another 12 months and calls on the international community to continue supporting Ukraine in its difficult struggle to protect its territorial integrity,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.

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