Russia slams OSCE for taking Kiev’s side in civil war
Russia has slammed the OSCE's reports from eastern Ukraine, saying the organization has omitted the facts of Kiev's military build-up and “violations of international law." It claims it has instead focused on rebels' actions in the conflict zone.
“It appears that [the OSCE monitoring mission’s] efforts are aimed at helping and supporting only one side of the conflict – the authorities in Kiev,” Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that this causes concern in Moscow.
The reports produced by the OSCE based on the findings of its monitors describe in great detail the movements of rebel forces in the areas under their control, the statement stressed. At the same time, they ignore “military preparations and the concentration of the Ukrainian Army’s strike forces along the line of engagement.”
The OSCE reports also failed to mention “numerous cases when the Ukrainian military violated not only conditions of the Minsk [ceasefire] agreement, but also the norms of international humanitarian law, the rampaging of neo-fascists, and nationalist Kiev-controlled regions.”
“This policy of the mission leadership undermines the credibility to its work,” the ministry warned, adding that cooking the reports in favor of one of the parties was “unacceptable.”
Another criticism of the OSCE voiced by Moscow is that the organization’s reports fail to mention episodes when Russian members of the mission were pressured and even harassed by the Ukrainian military.
“The mission has to report all obstructions to the work of its monitors, while Kiev authorities carry the full responsibility for ensuring safety, due privileges, and immunities to all OSCE employees in Ukraine, including those with Russian citizenship,” the ministry said.
Moscow also criticized the mission for not doing enough to establish working contacts with local authorities in rebel-held areas.
The statement reminded that the monitoring mission mandate states that its main objective is “to help reduce tensions and promote peace, stability and security.” This should be done through ensuring that both warring parties maintain the ceasefire, assisting in prisoner exchange and investigating cases of alleged crimes.
Of particular interest to Russia are mass graves discovered in the wake of the hostilities in areas previously controlled by Kiev’s forces and reports that the Ukrainian military used weapons in violation of international law.
The OSCE deployed its monitoring mission to Ukraine in March as the security situation in the country was rapidly escalating. After Kiev and Ukrainian rebels agreed to a ceasefire in early September, the mission’s objectives were broadened to include the monitoring of its implementation.
The ceasefire somewhat de-escalated the violence in eastern Ukraine and allowed for regular prisoner exchanges to be conducted. It also provided conditions for humanitarian aid to be delivered to regions most affected by the hostilities.
But it remains shaky at best, as Kiev and rebels continue to clash and accuse each other of violating the Minsk agreement. Some believe the deal is doomed to eventually fail, as neither side is motivated enough to hold it.