Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#OSCE denies allegations of a pro-Russian bias used in #Ukraine’s east

#OSCE denies allegations of a pro-Russian bias used in #Ukraine’s east

A Ukrainian serviceman (R) and OSCE observers wait on a road near Donetsk on September 20, 2014 before an exchange of captives, which are being freed under the terms of a ceasefire deal between Kyiv and the separatist forces. OSCE, which is a signatory to the deal, has faced allegations of pro-Russian bias for their work in Ukraine increasingly frequently.A Ukrainian serviceman (R) and OSCE observers wait on a road near Donetsk on September 20, 2014 before an exchange of captives, which are being freed under the terms of a ceasefire deal between Kyiv and the separatist forces. OSCE, which is a signatory to the deal, has faced allegations of pro-Russian bias for their work in Ukraine increasingly frequently. © ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP
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A spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) refuted allegations of bias within its observation mission in eastern Ukraine voiced by an adviser to the defense minister earlier.

He said there is only one Russian1 working in the monitoring mission in Mariupol, and that was “definitely less than 80 percent,” which is what a defense ministry official implied.
Vasyl Budik, an adviser to the Defense Ministry, told Ukrainska Pravda website earlier on Tuesday that he has been told by mission representatives in Mariupol that 80 percent of the mission is composed of Russian nationals.

“What are Russia’s representatives doing in our positions? It’s not a secret that there is a war going on, and Russia is taking an active part in it. I am against Russians being a part of the mission. Do replace them with anyone else because they’re not doing the job they’re supposed to,” said Budik, according to the website.

He also said that most of those Russians come from secret services, and use derogatory forms of address when they describe Ukrainian soldiers. But Bociurkiw insisted that the main principles of work of the OSCE is neutrality and objectivity.

OSCE has been running an observation mission in eastern Ukraine and producing daily reports about its work in the region. It has also been a party in negotiations between Ukraine, Russia and separatists that have taken place in Minsk, and signatories of the cease-fire deal on Sept. 5.
This is not the first time the mission comes under fire for its work in Ukraine, however
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Dmytro Tymchuk, leader of Information Resistance, a civic initiative with a mission to inform the public about the war, had previously said in his public blog that he refused to meet with OSCE representatives because of their alleged bias towards Russia after it released a report about the shelling of school #63 in Donetsk last week, which killed two teenagers.

In the report, the mission said the shelling came from northwest of Donetsk, which many Russian and foreign media interpreted as coming from the Ukrainian positions. But OSCE denied it assigned blame, saying it only identified the direction from which the attack came.

Tymchuk said that his group has also recorded at least four cases when OSCE vehicles were used by Russia-backed separatists, and said OSCE recognized one such facts and issued an apology, stopping short of explaining how it could happen in the first place.

Tymchuk also alleged that his group has recorded cases when separatists knew beforehand of OSCE’s movements, and were able to remove heavy weaponry in time for the observation mission’s arrival.

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