Despite the fact that some states have ordered their citizens employed in the OSCE special monitoring mission to leave Ukraine, its work will continue.
Employees of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) to Ukraine, who were in Donetsk, began to leave the city controlled by pro-Russian separatists on Sunday, February 13, amid the threat of a Russian attack on Ukraine.
“Individual OSCE participating states have recently decided that their citizens seconded to serve in the SMM should leave Ukraine in the next few days,” reads a statement on the OSCE SMM website. It is not specified the citizens of which countries left.
The OSCE Mission will continue its work
“The mission will continue to fulfill the OSCE-approved mandate with observers stationed in ten cities across Ukraine,” the statement says.
According to Reuters, the US has called on all its citizens to leave Ukraine, including SMM observers, while the UK has only withdrawn monitoring staff from areas controlled by separatists. Up to 160 SMM employees could leave Ukraine, including citizens of the Netherlands, Canada, Slovakia and Albania, an OSCE source said.
An unarmed civilian mission monitoring the situation in Ukraine around the clock was deployed in March 2014 after the Ukrainian government appealed to the OSCE. The main tasks of the SMM are impartial and objective monitoring and reporting on the situation in Ukraine, primarily on the observance of the truce between the parties to the conflict in its eastern regions, as well as facilitating dialogue between all parties.
The threat of war in Europe
Earlier, on January 13, OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau warned about the threat of war in Europe. “The threat of war in the OSCE region now appears to be greater than at any time in the past 30 years,” Rau said.