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MOSCOW, March 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation has expressed hope that the OSCE mission to Ukraine will ease tensions and normalize the situation.
"Initially, the mission will include 100 civil observers. Then the number will increase. We hope that they will be up to 500,” Russian permanent representative to the OSCE Andrei Kelin said on Friday.
“Observers will stay across the country, both in the east and west - in ten cities, including Odessa, Kiev and Kharkiv. Any changes will be made by the OSCE Standing Committee,” he said.
“This operation has no relation to Crimea. On March 21 (when the mission’s mandate was approved) we said Crimea had become part of Russia.” “The mission has no mandate there,” Kelin said.
The mission will monitor security in Ukraine and human rights violations. The mission’s staff will maintain contacts with the Kiev authorities and non-governmental organizations,” Kelin said.
Forty employees have arrived in Ukraine’s different cities. “The mission’s other members will arrive in Kiev on March 29. Now they are acquiring transport and equipment to organize the work,” he said.
The OSCE mandate in Ukraine was coordinated on March 21.
Russia expects the OSCE mission to Ukraine to protect Russian-speakers, fight extremism and neo-Nazism, and eliminate illegal armed groups, Russia’s ambassador said.
“If the mission fails to do what we’ll expect from it, we’ll have to see in six months - to extend it or not,” Russian permanent representative to the OSCE Andrei Kelin said on Friday.
“Russia will also send its representatives to the mission. The number depends on the country’s contribution. Russia’s contribution is about 6-7%. It allows us to send 7-8 representatives,” he said.
“It is important to make the mission balanced. It should also include Russian monitors to make the mission’s reports objective and unbiased,” Kelin said.