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US Department of State regrets Russia's closure of OSCE border observer mission

"We continue to call on Russia to allow the Border Observer Mission mandate to be extended," a spokesperson said

WASHINGTON, September 18. /TASS/. The US Department of State regrets Russia’s decision not to extend the mandate of an OSCE border observer mission at Russia’s Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints on the border with Ukraine, Spokesperson Ned Price said.

"The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Russian Federation to block consensus to extend the OSCE Border Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk," Price said in a statement on Friday. "Russia’s objection to continuing the <…> mandate raises deep concerns about its intentions to fulfill its international commitments and engage constructively with Ukraine."

"We continue to call on Russia to allow the Border Observer Mission mandate to be extended, cease its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, and contribute to a peaceful resolution to the conflict," the statement says.

Russia’s envoy to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich told a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on September 2 that Russia sees no reasons to extend the group’s mandate beyond its expiration date on September 30, 2021. According to him, this decision will not be revisited.

Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said in a statement issued on Friday that Ukraine and Western countries did not show the relevant level of respect to deploying a group of OSCE observers at the Russian initiative. In her words, the deployment was "a goodwill gesture by Russia to encourage Kiev to follow the path of peaceful settlement of the eastern Ukraine crisis."

Zakharova added that Kiev and Western countries "sought to exploit the fact of the OSCE presence on the Russian territory" for "distracting the international community’s attention from the Ukrainian government’s persistent reluctance to implement the Minsk Package of Measures.".