U.S. Permanent Representative to the OSCE Ambassador Daniel Baer expressed his regret that Russia refused to agree to expanding the observation mission to additional checkpoints and the border areas between them - as the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship had proposed. Russia also vetoed a modest increase in the number of observers, as requested by the Chief Observer, to reduce the excessive workload faced by the observer mission's small working teams.
"Regretfully, this continued obstruction is yet another missed opportunity for Russia to match words with action and to contribute to de-escalation," stated Ambassador Baer. "There should be no illusions - the observer mission as it stands is inadequate."
"We continue to call on Russia to support full implementation of the Minsk protocol, which clearly foresees OSCE monitoring and verification on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian international border, as well as the creation of a security zone in the border areas of Ukraine and Russia," Ambassador Baer said. "Russia must also withdraw its fighters and heavy weapons from Ukraine and return all hostages, as Russia signed up to do at Minsk."
Because the expansion of the mission was blocked, the Permanent Council was only able to approve a one month extension of the existing effort today, which has 16 observers working at only two checkpoints.