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VIENNA, October 9. /TASS/. Russia is ready to extend the mandate of the OSCE mission deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border for another three months, Russia's deputy permanent representative to the organization said on Thursday.
“In today’s statement we officially said that we are ready to extend the mission’s mandate as it is on two checkpoints, Donetsk and Gukovo, for three months as a gesture of good will on our side,” Andrey Rudenko told reporters on the sidelines of the session of the OSCE Permanent Council.
Speaking on the proposal to extend the mission’s mandate in other territories, Rudenko said he believes there is no need in this as “Russia fully controls its part of the territory.”
“Russia takes the prospects of expansion to other checkpoints with a grain of salt,” the diplomat said.
Russia agreed to international monitoring of its Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints on the border with Ukraine in July. The OSCE mission’s mandate expires on October 23.
Paul Picard, acting head of the OSCE monitoring mission at Russian-Ukrainian border crossings Donetsk and Gukovo, said earlier on Thursday the OSCE debates the extension of its mission's mandate on Russian-Ukrainian border.
“All the OSCE efforts should be aimed at supporting the ceasefire regime in the safety zone,” Rudenko said. “This is the main goal, as people are still being killed in this zone, and the ceasefire is fragile.”
“If everything goes as normal and a political dialogue is launched, as well as the constitutional reform and so on, the border issue will be no more relevant,” the diplomat said.
US ambassador to the OSCE, Daniel Baer, told reporters on Thursday that the US and the EU have called to extend and expand the mission’s mandate to include new checkpoints and launch mobile groups on the parts between the border crossings.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Alexander Lukashevich announced that the OSCE mission in Ukraine will be increased to its maximum ammount of 500 observers in the near future.