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VIENNA, April 23. /TASS/. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) plans to increase the number of its monitors in Ukraine to 500 by mid-May, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan said on Thursday.
In his report on the SMM operations in February-April 2015 unveiled at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the organization, Apakan said a total of 429 international monitors from the OSCE have been deployed to Ukraine.
Some 350 monitors will be working in eastern Ukraine, Apakan said. The overall mission currently consists of a total of 700 people, including 484 foreigners, and only 429 people are directly involved in the monitoring effort, he said.
In March 2015, a SMM mandate was agreed which envisages increasing the number of monitors by another 500 people. The decision on expanding the mission will be taken judging from the real situation, he said.
However, this could be possible if the mission has the full freedom of movement and gets access to all the areas in Ukraine’s east, including the territories not controlled by the government and the areas of the Ukrainian-Russian border, he said.
Now these problems have not been yet solved and the deployment of additional monitors will have an insignificant influence on the OSCE capacities to monitor the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Apakan said.
The OSCE SMM to Ukraine was deployed in late March 2014 and its mandate has been extended until March 31, 2016. The mission’s tasks are to observe and report in an objective way on the situation in Ukraine and facilitate dialogue among the conflicting parties.