OSCE ready to send armed observers to Donbas

Observers are at risk in ATO area due to provocation by pro-Russian militants.

11 May 2016 11:11

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, observing the fragile "truce" on militants-controlled territory of eastern Ukraine,  is open to sending armed personnel with the consent of all parties, said the acting OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier in his comments to Reuters journalists.

His statement is based on the fact that the unarmed observers, monitoring the ceasefire between the Ukrainian armed forces and pro-Russian separatists, face danger. Separatists continue to ignore the agreement and the ceasefire, killing soldiers and civilians.

According to Zannier, the observers in ATO zone were harassed, threatened and shelled, and their movement was restricted by pro-Russian militants groups.

“We have ideas to create a police contingent. Someone says about arming the observers working in the contact zone ... We faced obstacles during our movement. In some cases, especially in the territory controlled by the rebels, there have been episodes where we have been pursued ... they were shooting at our vehicles and struck the glass,” said Lamberto Zannier.

Ceasefire agreement, concluded in Minsk, February 2015, failed to stop the conflict completely, which has been continued for the third year and claimed more than 9,000 lives.

The number of killed Ukrainian soldiers has increased dramatically in the spring after a relative lull earlier this year. About 20 people were killed in April, compared with 5 dead in January. Both sides accuse each other of violating the truce, which provides for the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

Photo: Internet