Kyiv, July 24, 2014. Today the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine visited crash sites which they had not visited before, but they “had by far the most pieces of large intact debris,” such as “a piece [of the plane] with the windows still intact.” OSCE’s current mission is to allow access for the forensic experts to continue their work on the site. The experts are currently examining debris, mapping the site, and taking notes and photographs in order to make accurate assessments of the area. This was reported by Michael Bociurkiw, the OSCE SMM spokesperson, who is currently with the OSCE team at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines MH17 Flight in the Donetsk region, via a telephone call at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Mr. Bociurkiw reported that the OSCE SMM team is cooperating with two Australian and three Malaysian diplomats and forensic experts at the MH17 crash site. The OSCE monitoring mission consists of about 275 international civilian monitors, who are present at ten locations throughout the country. OSCE SMM to Ukraine is presently examining the crash site, as well as searching for forensic evidence and human remains. Mr. Bociurkiw explained the mission objectives and general situation in the crash site area, before fielding questions from journalists about his teams’ findings and future plans.
Michael Bociurkiw told Ukraine Crisis Media Center that the Moscow-supported mercenaries in the region are not currently controlling their movements or impeding their efforts to conduct forensic research. He said that presently, OSCE SMM team “has had fairly good access” and “covered a lot of ground.” Mr. Bociurkiw also stated that Ukrainian emergency services and other officials are not currently present at the site. “All we’ve observed today are ourselves and quite a few journalists, as well as villagers who live in the area,” he said.
Following questions from journalists, Mr. Bociurkiw stated that the OSCE monitoring mission, which was originally slated to end its mandate in September, has now been extended for another six months. OSCE will continue to fulfill its original mandate, which is to establish the facts, report on them, and facilitate dialogue. He claimed that the OSCE will remain in Donetsk, and will continue to fulfill its mission in the region as long as the need be. “If there are developments later, and we’re asked to facilitate access or anything like that, we will do so,” he said. “We are not only assisting in access to the crash site and helping with monitoring, but we also monitor the general security situation in this part of Ukraine.” He stressed that OSCE continues to provide daily reports that offer significant amounts of information on the security situation in eastern Ukraine.