OSCE SMM's Approval of its Pursuits on Crimea Reflects Political Progress — Tsymbaliuk
Although Crimea’s occupying authorities do not allow monitoring missions to enter the peninsula, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has begun to officially acknowledge the activities concerning the annexed Crimea.
According to the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organizations in Vienna Yevhen Tsymbaliuk, Ukraine can not call it real achievement yet, but Mission’s approval of its pursuits on Crimea is substantial.
“We can’t talk about real achievements yet indeed. But the most important thing is that the Mission has started to officially acknowledge that it works with Crimea. Yes, it is not physically allowed [to enter the peninsula], but just six months ago the SMM leadership tried to avoid discussing Crimea. Thus, there is some political progress on this issue,” the ambassador said.
At a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in April, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Yaşar Halit Çevik stated that the SMM was dealing with Crimea, working to the extent possible and collecting relevant material. In the future, this activity may result in a separate report on Crimea.
During the weekly meetings of the OSCE Permanent Council, the Ukrainian delegation regularly emphasizes the need to ensure the SMM’s access to the Crimean peninsula which is temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation. These calls are increasingly supported by partner countries, notably the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, which also point to the need to extend the SMM’s mandate to the entire territory of Ukraine, including Crimea.
“The Ukrainian delegation and our Western partners call for monitoring of the situation in Crimea. After all, UN human rights monitoring missions, in case of inability to enter the territory, conduct surveys of people who come from there, monitor the media, work with lawyers and human rights activists,” Yevhen Tsymbaliuk said.