KIEV, April 19, /ITAR-TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities have informed the participants in the April 17 Geneva meeting on de-escalation of tensions in the country about the efforts taken to normalise the situation in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrei Deshchitsa met with Ertugrul Apakan of Turkey, the head of the monitoring mission, on Saturday, April 19, to brief him on the progress in the implementation of the April 17 agreement. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said representatives of the other participants in the Geneva talks - the European Union, Russia and the United States - were also present during the meeting.
The participants in the Saturday meeting agreed on the need for urgent measures to implement the Geneva statement of April 17. “In this context, the participants in the meeting acknowledged the need for urgent steps towards de-escalation. Ukraine informed those present about the first steps taken in this respect. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission announced plans to send the mission deputy head to the eastern regions of Ukraine today in order to work out practical modalities for implementing the Geneva statement and reviewed the current work of its members in regions,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The diplomats agreed to meet on a regular basis in the near future in order to coordinate the prompt implementation of the Geneva statement.
Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said the OSCE Monitoring Mission in Ukraine would be scaled up. The negotiators in Geneva agreed that “control over the implementation of agreements in Ukrainian cities will be vested with the OSCE monitoring mission, which is already working in Ukraine and regularly sends its reports to Vienna,” he told the Russia 24 television channel on Friday, April 18. “I think the mission will be expanded - more personnel will be sent there and more funds will be allocated. Russia supported the initiative to send this mission. It took much time and effort to agree its mandate.”
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier has requested EU support for expanding the Organisation’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
He said the Mission should ensure objective fact-finding as the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.
“What we are seeing in the eastern part of Ukraine is extremely troubling. The neutral observation and factual reporting carried out by OSCE monitors contributes to creating conditions for de-escalating this dangerous situation,” Zannier said.
He stressed the importance of OSCE monitoring and appealed to all sides to refrain from violence and calling for engagement in dialogue.
The Special Monitoring Mission has been working throughout Ukraine for the past two weeks after its deployment was agreed by the 57 OSCE participating States. Its purpose is to monitor events all over the country and gather neutral information, contributing to reducing tensions. Around one hundred monitors are currently deployed in Kherson, Odessa, Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk, Kharkov, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Chernovtsy, Lugansk, and Kiev.
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin earlier this week that the OSCE monitoring mission had to continue its work in Ukraine.
“It is also important for the monitoring mission to continue working in Ukraine and gather objective and impartial facts about the state of affairs. It is important for the mission to work smoothly and make real assessments of events,” he said.
The diplomat said an additional 200 observers would be deployed in Ukraine before May 5.
He said that the number of observers might be increased to 500 persons in accordance with the mandate approved by the OSCE Permanent Council on March 21.
Kelin said Russia supported the idea of sending more observers to Ukraine. “I see no obstacle to that because the mission’s work has so far raised no complaints or concerns,” he said.
On April 14, international military observers arrived in Ukraine in compliance with the OSCE Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures.
The mission includes inspectors from the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Belgium, and Luxembourg, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.
The purpose of the mission “is to visit south-eastern regions and record facts of possible unusual military activities and provocations aimed at destabilising the situation in Ukraine”, he said.
The inspection initiated by the Netherlands has replaced the Poland-led mission which was in Ukraine from April 3 to April 13.