Kyiv, October 13, 2014. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) will continue to monitor the ongoing security situation in Ukraine, increasing the amount of observers and the number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to help monitor the border region with Russia. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by Ertugrul Apakan and Michael Bociurkiw, Chief Monitor of the SMM and the SMM’s spokesperson, respectively. The OSCE mission will also monitor the creation and work of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), which was established to facilitate bilateral dialogue between Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense and military representatives of the Russian Federation.
OSCE’s SMM currently has more than 300 monitors in Ukraine, who represent 41 countries. OSCE’s mission in Ukraine is based on the joint decision of the organization’s 57 member states. “We are operating on the basis of impartiality and objectivity,” said Apakan. The mission is unarmed and will only act as monitors to observe the situation on the ground in order to facilitate peace. The SMM is located all over the territory of Ukraine, with approximately one-third of monitors stationed in the security zone of eastern Ukraine. The SMM is currently supporting the prospect of peace by observing the fulfillment of the Minsk Protocol, and supporting the work of the JCCC. “We hope that the JCCC will help to establish an effective and durable ceasefire and put an end to the armed confrontation in eastern Ukraine,” stated Apakan. SMM monitors the situation and reports back to the permanent council in Vienna.
In addition to the work of the OSCE monitors throughout Ukraine, SMM is also deploying UAVs to the security zone in eastern Ukraine in order to supplement the work of observers on the ground. The UAVs are complex drones that will observe the development of the cease fire in eastern Ukraine, as well as monitor the border region of Russia and Ukraine. “In terms of border monitoring we are ready to take up the job,” Apakan stated. “The expansion of SMM will also increase our effectiveness in eastern Ukraine and the whole country.”
The OSCE representatives thanked the Ukrainian authorities for their cooperation and assistance, stressing that SMM will help ensure that the principles of the Minsk Protocol’s roadmap lead to peace in Ukraine. SMM is also ready to support the investigation into the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 tragedy. “In regards to MH17, we are ready to continue with the work and closely cooperating with the Ukrainian authorities, and are thankful to them,” said Apakan. The mission foresees the possible deployment of more monitors and UAVs to Ukraine in the future in order to safeguard the ceasefire agreed upon in Minsk last month.