OSCE members to send military observers to Ukraine: diplomat

5th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Fifteen member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have agreed to send military observers to Ukraine, a diplomatic source told AFP Wednesday.

"Fifteen countries, including the United States and other countries in Europe and central Asia, will participate in this mission," the envoy said.

The diplomat gave no details on how many people would be involved in the mission, nor on when it would start or where in the former Soviet republic they would be deployed.

The OSCE said Ukraine had made a request for the mission to operate from March 5-12.

Military observers are unarmed, and are tasked with finding out facts on military matters. They report back to OSCE participating states.

Under OSCE rules, each member state is entitled to send two military observers, meaning the mission could comprise up to 30 people.

Washington has called for a full-scale OSCE monitoring mission in order to ease the crisis. But the organisation's member states failed this week to agree, in the face of Russian objections.

Russian's envoy to the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, told reporters Monday that earlier missions in breakaway Serbian and Georgian territories Kosovo and South Ossetia had "aggravated the situation".

Washington's top envoy in Europe, Victoria Nuland, said Monday a monitoring mission would allow Russia in Crimea to "pull its forces back to base and have them replaced by independent monitors".

© 2014 AFP

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