OSCE to Send Monitors to Ukraine

Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andrii Deshchytsia, looks on during a press conference after a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, Austria, 20 March 2014. Ukraine has allowed the OSCE to enter the country. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe is to send international monitors to Ukraine within 24 hours.

Europe's leading security organization announced Saturday its teams, comprising a total of 100 members, will be stationed in various regions, including south-eastern areas where violence had erupted amid tensions ahead of Crimea's secessionist referendum.

OSCE teams, however, are not expected to go to Crimea, the BBS has reported.

Crimea was officially incorporated into the Russian Federation this week, days after a majority of its citizens voted on March 16 to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

Nine regions will be monitored by the OSCE in a mission which is to last six months. Up to 400 personnel could be added to the 100-strong team if necessary.

Apart from Donetsk, Luhansk, and Dnepropetrovsk, whicl lie to the east and south-east of Ukraine, OSCE monitors will also be deployed to the southern region of Odessa, which is next to the Crimean peninsula.

Odessa also has a significant Bulgarian majority.

Euronews previously informed that Ukrainian authorities had allowed the 57-member pan-European security group to send a mission there.

The prospects of sending a team of OSCE to Crimea has met the dissent of Russia, which claimed the peninsula was already part of its territory and the organization had "no mandate" for a mission there.

Before last week's referendum in Crimea, OSCE had announced it would not deploy monitors to observe the poll, amid reports that they actually failed to enter the peninsula's territory because they were scared away by solders upon Russian orders.

Continue reading on: