After being an important confidence-building measure for more than seven years, OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian-Ukrainian border expired on September 30 after Russian Federation’s decision not to extend its mandate.
The Mission had a mandate to report on the situation at the Russian border checkpoints of Donetsk and Gukovo, as well as on the movements across the Russian-Ukrainian border.
The Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission, Ambassador Gyorgy Varga stressed on Friday that the Mission at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk has managed to fulfill its mandate under the principles of impartiality and transparency.
Varga also believes that the Mission’s uninterrupted presence in the region has been an important element of the OSCE’s response to the crisis in and around Ukraine from 29 July 2014 until 30 September 2021, reports of which have been made available to the 57 participating States.
Russia informed the OSCE Permanent Council on September 2 via its Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich that it sees no grounds to extend the observer mission’s mandate after its expiration and underlined this decision was not subject to revision.
The US State Department immediately expressed its disappointment and deep regrets with regard to the Russian Federation’s decision, saying that Kremlin’s questionable objection to continuing the OSCE mandate entices deep doubts and concerns about its commitment to constructive engagement with Ukraine and to fulfilling its international obligations.
Spokesperson Ned Price noted that the US will continue to call on Russia to allow extension of the Mission and to cease its ongoing aggression as a manner to contribute to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.
Stressing that OSCE mission’s deployment was, first and foremost, Russia’s goodwill gesture to encourage Kiev to peaceful settlement of the eastern Ukraine crisis Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed 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
She also 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 Agreement’s measures.
Her deputy Alexei Zaitsev, on top of that, pointed that a number of countries used the presence of the OSCE observers as a pretext to fan confrontation and advance more aggressive and absurd demands to Russia, making the extension of the mission’s mandate inexpedient.