OSCE mission in occupied Donbas lacks personnel - Reznikov

OSCE mission in occupied Donbas lacks personnel - Reznikov

Ukrinform
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine does not currently have adequate access to the occupied territories of Donbas and also lacks the personnel to effectively monitor the situation in these territories, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov has said.

He stated this during a webinar "Minsk Process: Moderate Success or Political Deadlock?", organized at the initiative of the Mission of Ukraine to the EU and the Ukrainian World Congress.

"I can comment on this only by referring to the information we receive during a report by Mr. Ambassador Cevik [Yasar Halit Cevik] who is currently both the head of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine and the coordinator of the OSCE security group in the TCG. Mr. Cevik informs us on a regular basis at each meeting about OSCE patrols being denied access to territories not controlled by the government of Ukraine. […] Due to restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as the need for rotation, the number of OSCE SMM monitors is currently smaller from the capabilities that the OSCE SMM needs to carry out operational tasks. Today, they are not able to physically move quickly on the territory of the temporarily occupied territories in order to carry out 100 percent monitoring," Reznikov said.

According to him, it is for this reason that the question of opening an additional checkpoint now arises for the OSCE SMM to be granted access to the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas. At the same time, all Ukrainian checkpoints are open, and OSCE SMM patrols arrive there every morning. They can pass through Ukrainian checkpoints, but the opposite side does not let them through. Despite the fact that this issue is raised during each meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group, no progress has been made in addressing this issue, he said.

Reznikov drew the attention of the participants in the discussion to the fact that the occupying power in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions uses the global COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to prevent representatives of the OSCE SMM and the International Committee of the Red Cross from entering the temporarily occupied territory under the guise of "quarantine restrictions."

"The leaders of the Normandy Format, including the president of the Russian Federation, clearly stated in Paris last December that control by the OSCE SMM should be ensured around the clock, and ICRC representatives have the right to unconditional admission to persons who are held in prisons. Ukraine has fulfilled this obligation, and in December, after the summit in Paris, amended the legislation, and today representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross have the undisputed right to be admitted to persons held in the Ukrainian penitentiary system," Reznikov added.

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