OSCE Extends Mandate for Observers at Russian-Ukrainian Border Crossings

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The Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) extended its mandate for observers at crossing points on Russian-Ukrainian border for three months, Russia’s OSCE envoy said Thursday.

“The decision has been made. We confirm our goodwill gesture,” Andrei Kelin said.

On Friday, envoys from the so-called Normandy Quartet, comprising France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, during talks in Berlin supported the extension of the mandate of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine and called on the organization to expand the mission’s staff, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.

Members of Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) to Ukraine walk along a convoy of Ukrainian armed forces in Paraskoviyvka, eastern Ukraine, February 26, 2015

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier also on Friday had urged the OSCE to extend the mandate of its monitoring mission in Ukraine as soon as possible.

The mission was deployed to Ukraine in March 2014 at the request of Kiev authorities. OSCE experts were tasked with impartially monitoring the conflict between independence supporters and government forces in the country and facilitating dialogue between the warring parties.

OSCE experts currently monitor the ceasefire signed by Kiev authorities and the self-proclaimed republic in eastern Ukraine late February.