The organization will strive to continue its activities in Ukraine.
The OSCE will take immediate steps to close the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
This was stated by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau and OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid.
“The OSCE will immediately take prompt, administrative and financial steps to close the mission as responsibly and cost-effectively as possible, while the safety of mission members throughout Ukraine will remain a priority”, – Schmid said.
According to Rau, a difficult decision had to be made in response to russia’s actions.
“This is not an easy decision. We have explored all possible options through political dialogue with member states to extend the mandate of the Special Monitoring Mission, but the position of the russian federation left us no choice but to take steps to close the mission”, – he said.
At the same time, the OSCE will seek to continue its activities in Ukraine in accordance with existing commitments.
It will be recalled that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, consisting of unarmed civilian observers, was established in March 2014. Its purpose was to monitor the situation in Donbass and throughout Ukraine.
In February 2022, on the eve of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 60% of OSCE observers from Western countries and more than 40% of Ukrainian staff members went on leave, and some were recalled. However, the mission continued its work.
In early March, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission evacuated international observers from russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk.
On April 24, the OSCE announced the illegal detention of a number of its staff in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk.