US State Department Regrets Russia’s Closure of OSCE Border Observer Mission

The US Department of State deeply regrets Russian Federation’s decision, announced by the OSCE Chair in Office in Vienna, not to extend OSCE border observer mission’s mandate at Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints on the Russia’s border with Ukraine, the statement published on its website says.

Spokesperson Ned Price added in a statement on Friday that Kremlin’s questionable objection to continuing the OSCE mandate entices deep doubts and concerns about its commitment to fulfilling its international obligations and engaging constructively with Ukraine.

Price added that the US will continue to call on Russia to allow extension of the Border Observer Mission and to contribute to a peaceful resolution to the conflict Ukraine by ceasing its ongoing aggression.

The small OSCE Border Observer Mission initiated in July 2014 provided valuable transparency on movements of people and material between the Russia and Russia-influenced areas in eastern Ukraine.

The mission’s work is within the Minsk Protocol in September 2014 that Russia signed and committed to allow permanent monitoring on the Russian Ukrainian state border and verification by the OSCE the Protocol guarantee.

The OSCE Border Observer Mission’s mandate ends on September 30, 2021 and Russia informed via its envoy to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich during OSCE Permanent Council’s meeting on September 2. Lukashevich also pointed that this decision will not be revisited.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova  pointd on Friday that OSCE mission’s deployment was Russia’s goodwill gesture to encourage Kiev to peaceful settlement of the eastern Ukraine crisis.

She noted that neither Ukraine not the Western countries have showed the relevant level of respect to deploying a group of OSCE observers at the Russian initiative and accused them of trying to exploit the OSCE presence on the Russian territory to hide the persistent reluctance of the Ukrainian government to implement the Minsk Package of Measures.

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