Russia doesn’t want OSCE to expand mission mandate

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“It does not correspond to the Berlin Declaration on foreign affairs of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine,” stated Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative in the UN. Russia doesn’t think there’s a need to expand the OSCE observers’ mandate over the Donetsk-Luhansk district that forms the Russian-Ukrainian border. This statement was made by Vitaly Churkin in the meeting of the OSCE Security Council.

“It doesn’t correspond to the Berlin Declaration (dated 2 June 2014) on foreign affairs of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine. We should manage the problem through an agreement with militia men who are a party to conflict,” said the diplomat.

OSCE observers at the Russian-Ukrainian border

According to Churkin, Russia “is generally satisfied with OSCE observers’ work at the Russian-Ukrainian border and at the border checkpoints “Donetsk”, “Gukovo”. They register the refugees’ actual conditions and without any speculations deny Russian troops movements,” specified Churkin. He informed that Russia supported the OSCE special monitoring mission (SMM) “financially, materially and in terms of human resources”.

“We are for building its capabilities. We continue assigning specialists for the SMM considering its capacity-building,” highlighted the Russian permanent representative. He stressed the unacceptability of attacking and pressing the observers, telling that Moscow “follows closely the SMM’s report content that should not be censered”.

The Minsk agreements

As Churkin said, the Russian Federation was satisfied with the Minsk agreements’ results and the UN SC resolution in its support.

“Now we have to make all the parties to conflict keep the Package of measures (on the Minsk agreements accomplishment). OSCE has already started working on taking real steps to contribute the Minsk agreements implementation,” he stated.

According to Churkin, OSCE top-priority activities should include “watching the cease-fire and heavy weapons withdrawal, supporting a national dialogue, assistance in the investigation of human rights and humanitarian law violations”. At the same time he said “SMM should pay attention to other Ukrainian regions, not only to the south-east.”

Elections in Donbas

Russia believes the conflict management process in Ukraine depends largely on Donbas elections that are covered in the Minsk agreements, explained Churkin. The official stated “OSCE/ODIHR is ready to follow Donbas elections as soon as there are regulated and coordinated all the aspects of its organization and conduct according to the Package of measures dated 12 February 2015. The process of the conflict management depends largely on these elections. We should also take into account the fact that many people had left the conflict zone and moved to other Ukrainian regions or abroad,” stressed Churkin.

The Package of measures signed in Minsk on February 12 provides holding local elections in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Article 4 says “within a day after heavy weapons withdrawal there shall be started a dialogue on holding local elections according to the Ukrainian legislation and the Ukrainian law on The temporary organization of local self-government in some Donetsk and Luhansk regions” and on the future regime in these regions according to the law mentioned above.

Article 12 says “according to the Ukrainian law on The temporary organization of local self-government in some Donetsk and Luhansk regions”, issues concerning local elections shall be discussed with Donetsk’s and Luhansk’s representatives within the framework of the Tripartite Contact Group. Elections will be held according to the correspondent OSCE’s standards and watched by OSCE/ODIHR.

Text and pictures by TASS