: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Russia blocks extension of OSCE mission on border with Ukraine

Russia has blocked the OSCE’s decision on the extension of the mandate of this organization’s mission on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Thus, observers will work for a month only at two checkpoints that are located at a one-kilometer section of the border.
The United States Mission to the OSCE said this in a press release on October 22, a Ukrinform correspondent reported.
“Despite repeated requests from OSCE member and partner States, the Russian Federation continued to block the expansion of the Border Checkpoint Observation Mission beyond the two border checkpoints where it is currently deployed. These checkpoints together make up just 1 km of the hundreds of kilometers of the international border between Ukraine and Russia,” reads the document.
U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSCE Ambassador Daniel Baer expressed his regret that Russia refused to agree to expanding the observation mission to additional checkpoints and the border areas between them.
“Regretfully, this continued obstruction is yet another missed opportunity for Russia to match words with action and to contribute to de-escalation. There should be no illusions – the observer mission as it stands is inadequate,” he said.
Baer called on Russia “to support full implementation of the Minsk protocol, which clearly foresees OSCE monitoring and verification on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian international border, as well as the creation of a security zone in the border areas of Ukraine and Russia.”
Russia must also withdraw its fighters and heavy weapons from Ukraine and return all hostages, as Russia signed up to do at Minsk, Baer said.
Because the expansion of the mission was blocked, the OSCE Permanent Council was only able to approve a one-month extension of the existing effort, which has 16 observers working at only two checkpoints.

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