Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the OSCE thematic report “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement and other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns impediments and provocations which come from the militants towards observers of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. Their aim is crystal clear – to hide the Kremlin’s responsibility for fomenting the conflict and blocking implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The OSCE thematic report “Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement and other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate. January to June 2017”, published on September 6, 2017, says that the biggest number of gross violations of the rights for free movement of the observers took place in the certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions which are not under control of the Government of Ukraine. A particular concern cause reports about hostile attitude of the pro-Russian militants towards the SMM observers which from time to time was accompanied by violence.
The report, in particular, says that “the death of an SMM patrol member in the incident of 23 April near Pryshyb (an area outside government control) was the most serious consequence of the threats and dangers that the SMM faces in such an insecure environment”.
Russian hybrid forces systematically restrict the SMM’s freedom of movement when observers are trying to enter the uncontrolled areas of the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The SMM’s freedom of movement was restricted 40 times.
Such actions constitute gross violation of article 4 of the Minsk Protocol on ensuring permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification by the OSCE, together with the creation of a security area in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. They are aimed at ensuring uninterrupted supply of the Russian weapons, ammunitions and mercenaries to the territory of Ukraine.
We once again demand from the Russian Federation to stop harassment of the SMM’s observers, refuse from practice of “closed zones” which the OSCE cannot monitor and guarantee uninterrupted and unhampered access of the OSCE SMM to the whole territory of the certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including areas of the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation which are not under control of the Government of Ukraine.