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Use of drones in Ukraine may considerably ease OSCE mission task — Russian diplomat

November 13, 2014, 18:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Consultations are currently underway in Vienna on the issue use of drones in eastern Ukraine

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© Maxim Nikitin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 13. /TASS/. The use of drones can considerably ease the tasks of the monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

The diplomat said consultations are currently underway in Vienna on this issue based on the top-level agreements reached in Minsk. “The Swiss presidency is actively assisting such contacts,” he said. “The work is being carried out in two directions.”

The first, Lukashevich said, is the coordination of the draft framework decision of the OSCE Permanent Council that should serve as the basis of the future mission’s work - it is called the “drone mission,” which supports the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine. The second is the elaboration of the whole set of organisational and practical aspects of the drone mission functioning.

“The work on both matters is conducted in parallel,” Lukashevich said. “Taking into account the considerable volume and difficulty of the negotiators’ problems it is so far premature to speak of the consultations’ results, let alone breakthroughs.”

“The Russian side proceeds from the assumption that the use of drones can considerably ease the special mission’s task to monitor the fulfilment of the Minsk memorandum clauses on pulling heavy weaponry 15 kilometres back on each side of the line of contact,” the diplomat said, adding that safe flights of drones in this zone are possible only on the condition of close co-operation with both sides of the conflict.

The Minsk Protocol, an agreement to halt the war in the eastern regions of Ukraine, was signed by representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) on 5 September 2014. It was signed after extensive talks in Minsk, Belarus, under the OSCE auspices. The agreement, which followed multiple previous attempts to stop fighting in eastern Ukraine, implemented an immediate ceasefire.

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