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Russia believes OSCE mission to Ukraine should be raised to 500 observers

June 26, 2014, 13:49 UTC+3 VIENNA
At present, the mission numbers about 300 people, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov says
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Ukrainian army soldiers

Ukrainian army soldiers

© AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

VIENNA, June 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s high-ranking diplomat has emphasised the need to increase the OSCE Mission to Ukraine to 500 observers.

“We believe that the mission should be increased to the agreed strength of 500 people,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.

At present, the mission numbers about 300 people. Twelve specialists from Russia were working in the OSCE mission, Meshkov said.

“The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) asked us to raise the number of Russian observers to 40,” he said, adding, “Russia made $600,000 voluntary contribution to the mission’s work.”

Commenting on if Russia upholds the extension of the existing mandate of OSCE observers, Meshkov said, “Now it is early to talk about it.”

“We will watch the situation in Ukraine and then we will take a decision,” he said.

“We’re sure that the mission is one of the significant factors of the conflict resolution,” he said.

“The Ukrainian parties themselves should decide because this is the internal Ukrainian conflict,” Meshkov said.

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