Foreign monitors enter Ukraine to observe political situation

24 March 2014 09:23
(QHA) -

The first foreign observers permitted by governments in Moscow and Kiev to monitor the political situation and human rights are assembling in the Ukrainian capital and will start fanning out across Crimea on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said Sunday, New York Times reports.

Deployment of the first 100 observers — a number that may rise to 500 during the six-month mission — was viewed by some diplomats as the first break in the crisis over Crimea since Russia sent thousands of troops into the peninsula and then annexed it last week.

The monitors are working for the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E., which is based in Vienna and frequently used to monitor military and ethnic tensions.

Up to 40 members of advance teams were expected in Kiev by Monday and will start deploying on Tuesday, said Tatyana Baeva, a spokeswoman for the O.S.C.E. The observers will operate from nine cities, which diplomats said were considered sufficient to monitor tensions particularly in eastern and southern Ukraine.

The mission was first suggested in a telephone call between Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia last Sunday.