Tag Archives: OSCE

OSCE observers released in Slavyansk arrive in Berlin

OSCE observer Axel Schneider leaves the plane in Berlin’s Tegel airport, May 3, 2014.

Military OSCE observers captured by anti-Kiev activists in Slavyansk on April 25 have been released and delivered to Donetsk. Most of them have flown to Berlin.

A German government plane carrying seven of the freed OSCE observers, four of whom are German, landed at Berlin’s Tegel Airport at around 9 p.m. local time, Bild reports. They were welcomed by Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Earlier on Saturday the Russian president’s representative Vladmir Lukin said that “All 12 people I have on the list were freed.”

Last week, the military observers were captured by anti-Kiev protesters who accused them of espionage. Earlier one of the detained – a Swedish officer suffering from diabetes – was released.

Lukin stressed the release of the observers wasn’t a bargain. “It was a voluntary humanitarian act, and we’re very grateful for it to those controlling the city,” he said.

Lukin has delivered the OSCE observers to Donetsk and they have met with representatives of the Council of Europe, according to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OSCE.

“As soon as they are transferred to the representatives of the Council of Europe, we’ll be able to say that the mission is over,” Lukin said earlier.

On the way to Donetsk their car came under fire, but all of them are fine, one of Lukin’s colleagues, who was with the observers in Slavyansk, Evgeny Kozhokin, told RIA Novosti.

The OSCE observers were treated well in captivity, Col. Igor Turansky, head of the Ukrainian military mission to the OSCE, said after arriving at Kiev airport from Donetsk.

“There are no injuries, all was well. [We were] given food, water, sleep, treated well,” he said, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) welcomes OSCE observers John Christensen (C) from Denmark Germany’s Axel Schneider (2nd L) and unidentified observers in Berlin’s Tegel airport, May 3, 2014.

He noted that the self-defense forces said they detained the observers because they “did not coordinate their actions with the representatives of the locals.” Turansky added that the self-defense troops wanted to know the purpose of the observers’ visit. According to him, the detained Ukrainian officers were treated the same as the OSCE observers.

Kiev authorities jeopardized the lives of the OSCE observers who were in Slavyansk, said Maria Zaharova, head of the press department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“More or less prepared analysts did not doubt the fact that these military observers were deployed to Slavyansk by the Ukrainian side and their known sponsors to create a new source of tension to escalate the crisis and to directly involve the European countries in the domestic conflict,” Zaharova told RIA Novosti.

“The Kiev junta did not only think about the observers’ security, but put their lives at direct risk by starting the punitive operation against the civilians in Slavyansk,” she added.

The conflict resolution carried out by the self-defense forces during the operation saved the lives of the foreigners, she added.

The interim Ukrainian government was supporting the mission carried out by Vladimir Lukin, including aid in establishing contacts and coordinating activities at a central administration level, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry stated, as quoted by Interfax news agency.

“Vladimir Lukin was advised of a safe way from Donetsk to Slavyansk, with transportation. The Ukrainian security forces insist on this, being responsible for the lives of both the observers and the negotiators,” the statement said.

Vladimir Lukin is Russia’s official envoy to Ukraine. He initially had difficulties in entering Slavyansk as the Ukrainian army and the Right Sector militants refused him access to the city.

The Kiev government was initially reluctant to support the mission.

“We get the impression that the Kiev administration views the mission as something handicapping their plans to start the attack on Slavyansk in the coming hours,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

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​Ukrainian inspectors in Russia look for undeclared deployment of troops

An armored vehicle during an exercise held by the Baltic Fleet coastal defense troops at the Pavenkovo training ground in the Kaliningrad region.

A Ukrainian national team of inspectors is to monitor a suspected buildup of troops in the west of Russia. It’s the third visit of its kind in March and the last that can be conducted in 2014 under Russian international obligations.

The four-member Ukrainian team will be traveling by car across an area of about 13sq km in Belgorod and Kursk Regions along Russia-Ukrainian border to ensure that Russia is not performing any undeclared deployment of troops there. The inspectors will also perform a helicopter flyover of the area, reported Sergey Ryzhkov, head of the Russian national center for reduction of nuclear threat.

The two-day visit is being conducted under the so-called Vienna document, an international treaty for members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The treaty is meant to build up trust among the members through a mechanism of voluntary declaration of deployment of troops and international inspections to verify those declarations.

“This is the last inspection event in the territory of the Russian Federation to be performed in 2014 in the framework of the Vienna document, because the quota for inspections in our territory by OSCE members has been depleted,” Ryzhkov said.

The Vienna document mechanism has been in force since 1990 and has last been updated in November 2011. A total of 56 nations are participating in the mechanism. The document allows up to three annual verification inspections, no two of which may be conducted by the same state.

Previously in 2014 Russia has hosted an observation mission from Latvia and Germany between March 1 and 3, and a mission from Switzerland and Finland between March 2 and 3, according to a statement made by Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov last Wednesday. Neither delegation voiced claimed any violations on the part of Russia.

The ongoing Ukrainian inspection is carried out amid speculation in some Ukrainian media that Russia is building up its military in the west for a possible invasion of Ukraine. Moscow dismisses such reports as false.

Russia is participating in other trust-building mechanisms, which provide for foreign inspection of its military. Those include US inspections of Russian nuclear facilities under the New START treaty, which came into force in 2011 and sets a limit on a number of nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia are allowed to deploy.

Another inspection mechanism works under the Treaty on Open Skies, effective since 2002, which provides for observation flights by participants over each other’s territory. The latest such flight over Russia was conducted on March 17 by a joint mission from Germany and the US.

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Moscow to present video proving extremists responsbile for Ukraine unrest

Moscow is soon going to provide video evidence to the EU and OSCE proving that extremists provoked unrest in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry has stated on its Facebook account. “The Western media prefer not to talk about the riots for what they really were, demonstrations arranged by extremist groups. Perhaps the leaders of the European institutions do not know about the actions of these extremists who were disguised as civilians,” the statement reads.

“We are most deeply concerned about what is happening in Ukraine. We are startled to hear that some Western countries misinterpret the events, trying to influence the situation,” the Ministry said.

Russia not going to interfere in Ukrainian affairs and expects Western countries to do the same – Lavrov

Western partners should not interfere in Ukrainian internal affairs but use contacts with various political forces in that country for peacemaking, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports. “A mutual profound concern has been expressed regarding the fact that processes are not always constructive,” Lavrov said after negotiations with his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn.

“We reaffirmed our principled position of non-interference in Ukrainian internal affairs and we expect everyone to stick to a similar logic and use contacts with various political forces in Ukraine for the promotion of peace,” he continued.

One should not try “to gain some timeserving unilateral advantages at a stage when a national dialogue and the return of the entire situation into the legal field are required,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

It is dangerous to impose ‘either with us or against us’ choice on Ukraine – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has cautioned the West against attempts to impose some drastic choice on Ukraine, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports.

“Attempting to impose some “with us or against us” choice on Ukraine is counterproductive,” Lavrov said at a press conference after negotiations with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

“We are interested in Ukraine being a member of the common European family in every sense of the word,” he said.

Decision to hold snap presidential elections in Ukraine on May 25 is deviation from gov’t – opposition deal – Lavrov

The decision to hold early presidential elections in Ukraine in May 2014 disagrees with the crisis settlement deal, which says a constitutional reform should go first, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports.

“The agreement of February 21 stipulates the holding of a [constitutional] reform before September and only after that, when a premise has been emphasized, the presidential election shall be held. So far, we have heard the decision of those in the Verkhovna Rada to hold the presidential election on May 21. This is a deviation from the agreement,” Lavrov said at a press conference after negotiations with his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn.

Ban on Russian media broadcasting in Ukraine will become serious violation of freedom of speech – Lavrov

A ban on Russian media broadcasts on Ukraine’s national frequencies, should it be introduced, will be a serious violation of human rights, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports.

“We are aware of proposals to prohibit broadcasts in Ukraine by companies of countries that are not signatories to the European Broadcasting Convention. Russia is not a signatory to this convention, but this circumstance has not stopped us from broadcasting across Europe. Such broadcasts have not encountered any problems in any country of the European Union,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

“If such a decision is adopted in Ukraine, it will be serious violation of the freedom of speech,” he added.

Stabilization in Ukraine is possible only in presence of close cooperation between EU and Russia – Luxemburg FM

The Ukrainian situation can stabilize only if Russia and the European Union cooperate closely, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said, the Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

Asselborn told a press conference after negotiating with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that he personally and the European Union as a whole were confident that close cooperation between the EU and Russia was the only way to achieve normalization and stability in Ukraine.

Abolition of languages law in Ukraine is a step in wrong direction – Luxembourg FM

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has criticized the abolition of Ukraine’s language law, which made Russian an official language in Ukraine, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports.

“A democratic state needs to respect the languages used by its people. And I totally agree with those who say that if a law restricting the use of [ethnic minority] languages has been passed, it is a step in the wrong direction,” Asselborn said at a press conference after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.

A democratic country ought to observe media freedoms as well, he added.

Luxembourg minister urges Moscow to join financial support to Ukraine

Ukraine is on the brink of a financial meltdown and Russia should join the international campaign for financial assistance to this country, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports.

He said after negotiations with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the matter concerned the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, other countries and organizations but they also thought that Russia should join that consortium for helping Ukraine’s economic and financial advancement.

The Luxembourg minister said they realized that Ukraine was very close to a financial disaster.

It would be ideal to create a group of states for rendering assistance to Ukraine and Russia should also make a contribution, he said. In the opinion of the minister, there is a need for very active cooperation between Russia and Ukraine and other international organizations.

As of now, Ukraine needs 25 billion euro, the minister recalled.

EU ready to grant financial aid to Ukraine after gov’t formed, hopes for cooperation with Russia – EU ambassador to Moscow

The European Union has not ruled out its contribution to financial and economic assistance that may be extended to Ukraine after a new government is formed in the country, saying that it relies on cooperation with Russia on this issue, the Voice of Russia correspondent Kira Kalinina reports.

Consultations on this matter are currently under way in different capitals of the European Union, the head of the EU Delegation to Russia, Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas, told reporters in Moscow.

The EU will be ready to grant financial assistance to Ukraine as soon as a new government appears in the country and as soon as this government formulates a viable program needed to stabilize Ukraine’s economy and market, he said.

The EU will be prepared to do so using the financial instruments with which it has been working, including the International Monetary Fund, Usackas said.

Hopefully, the EU and Russia would be able to work together on this issue, he added.

 The Voice of Russia

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