Baku, Azerbaijan, March 5
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
Eighteen OSCE participating States decided to send 35 unarmed military personnel to Ukraine in response to its request, the website of the organization reported on March 5.
The matter was discussed at a joint meeting of the Permanent Council and the Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) in Vienna on 4 March 2014.
The visit is taking place under Chapter III of the Vienna Document 2011, which allows for voluntary hosting of visits to dispel concerns about unusual military activities. Ukraine has requested all OSCE participating States to send military representatives from 5 to 12 March 2014, starting in Odessa. This is the first time this mechanism has been activated.
As of now, eighteen OSCE participating States have responded positively to the request sending up to two representatives each. Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. One representative from the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre will also be participating. The military visit participants are on their way to Ukraine now.
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said: "It is my hope that this military visit will help to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine. By providing an objective assessment of the facts on the ground, the OSCE will be better placed to foster a political solution to the current crisis through dialogue."
"Confidence-building and transparency are key elements of the OSCE approach to security, which seeks to foster openness and dialogue as the best way to resolve conflicts in our region," he added.
Mass protests in Ukraine began on November 21, 2013, when the government announced the suspension of the preparation of the Association Agreement with the EU.As a result of protests in Ukraine, the country's President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on Feb.22. The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has approved the new composition of the parliament and is preparing to hold pre-term elections.
On Feb.26 several thousand people participating in two rallies gathered in front of Supreme Council of Crimea. After the escalation of the protest actions in Crimea, the Federation Council supported President Vladimir Putin's appeal regarding the use of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine pending "the normalization of the socio-political situation in that country".
Leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the U.S., as well as chairman of the European Council and the chairman of the European Commission made a joint statement condemning Russia's position on Ukraine and canceled the preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi, scheduled for June 2014.