KYIV (QHA) -

OSCE SMM expressed its gratitude to the member countries of the organization for the extension of the mandate of the mission, so that the SMM will be able to continue monitoring the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as to contribute to peace in Ukraine.

The press service of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine made a corresponding statement commenting to the QHA agency on the extension of its mandate for another year.

"The SMM is grateful to all 57 OSCE participating States for their support and confidence, so the mission will continue to contribute to reducing tensions and ensuring peace, stability and security in Ukraine. The SMM will continue to monitor and report on the security situation, establish and report the facts, responding to specific incidents throughout Ukraine, in particular regarding possible violations of the OSCE's fundamental principles, monitoring the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms and supporting them compliance, as well as facilitate dialogue on the ground," the SMM stated.

The press service further noted that the mandate of the mission remains unchanged, and the budget of the OSCE SMM for the next year is approximately 100 million Euros.

Earlier, the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has extended the mandate of the OSCE SMM in Ukraine for another year - until March 31, 2019. The decision to extend the mandate is adopted by consensus, that is, all 57 OSCE member states, including Russia, voted for it.

In its interpretative statement, Ukraine noted that the SMM should have full and unhindered access to the entire territory of Ukraine, including the uncontrolled Ukrainian-Russian border, as well as to the Crimea and Sevastopol. All EU countries, the USA and Canada supported the statement of the Ukrainian delegation.

Reference: OSCE Permanent Council adopted the decision on the deployment of the OSCE SMM in the Ukraine on March 21, 2014. In March 2017, the Permanent Council once again extended the mandate of the OSCE SMM for one year until March 31, 2018, approving the mission budget of 105.5 million Euros.

The SMM mandate covers the entire territory of Ukraine, including the Crimea, as well as the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions. However, observers do not have real access to some areas of Donbas and the annexed Crimea beyond the control of the Ukrainian government, due to unreasonable restrictions on the part of the Russian occupation administrations in the Donbas and the Russian occupation authorities in the Crimea.

Today, the mission employs 736 observers, of whom more than 600 work in the conflict zone in the Donbas. Observers represent more than 40 OSCE participating States. Observers of the OSCE SMM monitor in patrols at daylight hours, and also carry out round-the-clock monitoring with surveillance cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles and other means. In addition, SMM facilitates the establishment of "window of silence" between the parties for the repair of damaged civilian infrastructure and other humanitarian activities. SMM also patrols the administrative border between Kherson and the occupied Crimea.

QHA