On the extension of the deployment of OSCE observers to two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border: Statement to the PC

In connection with the adoption of the Decision for the Extension of Deployment of OSCE Observers to Two Russian Checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian Border, the United States would like to make the following interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the OSCE Rules of Procedure: 

The United States finds it deeply regrettable that, once again, the Russian Federation rejected expanding the geographic scope of the Observer Mission, despite the clear, strong, and continued support from other participating States for expanding the Mission – support that was again expressed in the Permanent Council and a meeting on the mandate for the Observer Mission last week. We once again have to accept a limited-scope mission covering just two border checkpoints, which account for just a few hundred meters of the 2,300 kilometer border.

Due to Russia’s unnecessary restrictions of its work, the Mission will continue to be unable to ascertain the extent to which Russia is participating in or facilitating the flow of illegal arms, funding, and personnel to support the separatists in eastern Ukraine, or to gather sufficient information that could indicate in any meaningful way the extent to which Russia is taking any action to stop that flow of support to those separatists.

We note that Step 4 of the September 5 Minsk Protocol delineates a clear role for the OSCE in monitoring and verification on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian international border, and the creation of a security zone in the border areas of Russia and Ukraine. There are strong linkages between ceasefire monitoring and border monitoring, and it is tragic that the OSCE approach to these activities has been impeded by one participating State. The Russian Federation’s repeated refusal to allow expansion of the scope of this mission raises serious questions about its resolve to implement critical elements of the Minsk Protocol.

I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and to the Journal of the Day.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna