OSCE says members of its Ukraine monitoring mission ‘deprived of their liberty’

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said on Saturday that it is working to facilitate the release of members of its special monitoring mission in Ukraine amid concerns that they have been “deprived of their liberty.”

“The OSCE is extremely concerned that a number of [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine] national mission members have been deprived of their liberty in Donetsk and Luhansk and is using all available channels to facilitate their release,” the OSCE tweeted, referring to the pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions in southeastern Ukraine.

Shortly after Russia launched its invasion in Ukraine on Feb. 24, the international security organization said it would be temporarily evacuating staff in Ukraine. 

“The safety of the dedicated women and men who serve as impartial eyes and ears of the international community on the ground throughout the country is imperative,” OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid said at the time.

The development comes as Russia mounts a renewed attack in eastern Ukraine after it failed to capture Kyiv in the opening weeks of he conflict. Amid the brutal offensive, officials have warned that the besieged port city of Mariupol could fall within days.

In an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote that international organizations, specifically the OSCE and U.N. Security Council, had “failed” given their focus includes maintaining global security and peace and conflict prevention, among other aims.

While the United States and Russia are members of both organizations, Ukraine is currently only a member of the OSCE.

“Among the casualties of Russia’s war on Ukraine has been the postwar system of global order and security. Russia has done everything that the international security institutions were created to prevent. How can the United Nations Security Council, on which Moscow has a permanent seat, live up to its mission to maintain peace?” Reznikov wrote.

“What kind of security and cooperation is possible on the Continent when one participating state of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe has attacked another and killed thousands of civilians? These organizations have failed,” he added.

Tags Oleksii Reznikov Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe OSCE Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine

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