OSCE responds to crisis in Ukraine
Swiss Chairmanship takes lead in OSCE Ukraine efforts
Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (CiO), has been active throughout the crisis and intervened on presidential and ministerial level with the aim of finding a diplomatic solution. Learn more about Swiss Chairmanship's efforts in resolving the situation in Ukraine here.
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (21 March 2014 - ongoing)
Q&A: What is the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine? (updated 1 July 2014)
On 21 March 2014, all 57 participating States of the OSCE took a consensus decision to put in place a Special monitoring mission of civilian internatonal monitors to be deployed within 24 hours.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine gathers information and reports on the security situation; seeks to establish facts in response to incidents; establish contacts and facilitate dialogue on the ground to reduce tensions and promote normalisation of the situation.
Election observation mission
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) received an invitation to observe the 25 May presidential election and on 3 March announced that it would send an election observation mission. ODIHR deployed 00 long-term observers to follow the campaign countrywide in the weeks leading up to the vote, and 900 short-term observers to monitor Election Day proceedings, counting and tabulation of election results. The size and format of this election observation mission were similar to those for previous ODIHR observation missions in Ukraine.
Human Rights Assessment Mission (18 March - 1 April)
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) upon the request by Ukraine conducted a Human Rights Assessment Mission, in co-operation with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. The Mission worked on the ground from 18 March to 1 April, and presented its report on 12 May. Learn more at www.osce.org/odihr
OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine
The OSCE Project Co-coordinator is the permanent OSCE field presence in Ukraine. The OSCE Project Co-coordinator in Ukraine (PCU) was established to plan, implement and monitor projects between relevant authorities of Ukraine and the OSCE and its institutions. The PCU implemented the National Dialogue project in Ukraine, aimed at facilitatingdialogue between different parts of Ukrainian society.
OSCE National Dialogue project in Ukraine (10 March - 30 April)
The OSCE on 20 March 2014 deployed a team of 15 international experts to Ukraine as part of a National Dialogue project to identify areas for further OSCE activities to support confidence-building between different parts of Ukrainian society. Five teams of two project experts were deployed to Odessa, Kharkiv/Luhansk, Lviv, Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk. The project core team was in Kyiv. The project experts met with local authorities, NGOs, and followed public events in these cities and surrounding regions to gather information about issues of concern, in particular political, humanitarian and minority issues.The team was deployed following a request by Ukraine. The project was carried out by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.
The field work under the project completed on 17 April 2014. Based on these inputs, the Team Leader prepared concrete recommendations for future OSCE engagement to foster social cohesion and dialogue in Ukraine. These recommendations were presented to all participating States, including Ukraine, at the Permanent Council on 30 April 2014.
Astrid Thors, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, travelled to Kiev and Simferopol during the week of March 3, to assess first-hand the situation on the ground, especially regarding the Crimean peninsula. See her comments on the situation in Crimea and learn more about language and identity in Ukraine. She also travelled to Ukraine in the end of March and beginning of April; see her comments following these visits.
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović visited Kyiv and Crimea in March, travelled to Ukraine again in April and has made continuous reports on issues of media freedom. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom.
Military verification activities
Ukraine requested OSCE participating States, OSCE partners for co-operation and the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC) to send their representatives from 5 to 12 March 2014, invoking Chapter III of the Vienna Document 2011 which allows for voluntary hosting of visits to dispel concerns about unusual military activities. A continuation of the verification visit was later requested by Ukraine until 20 March 2014, this time to cover the south and east of the country. During these visits, 30 OSCE participating States sent 56 unarmed military and civilian personnel to Ukraine. The group attempted to visit Crimea several times, but was unable to move beyond checkpoints at the administrative border, however, based on the observations made of the military activity the group stated that it is not able to dispel military concerns in Crimea.
In addition, requests for consultation and co-operation as regards unusual military activities were made under the Vienna Document by Canada, Estonia, Ukraine and the United States addressed to the Russian Federation. These request led into three joint meetings of the Forum for Security Co-operation and of the Permanent Council of 7, 17 and 30 April 2014.
From the 20th of March up to the present moment, smaller inspection teams of unarmed military experts from OSCE participating States have been on the ground in Ukraine. The military inspectors work on behalf of their countries. They look at military security aspects of the situation on the ground.
Countries that so far decided to send military inspectors and observers in accordance with the Vienna Document 2011 are Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, USA and the United Kingdom which conducted in total 11 verification activities in Ukraine. In addition, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States conducted in total five verification activities in the Russian Federation.
These visits, inspections and other types of military verification activities under the Vienna Document 2011 are elements of the larger response by the OSCE community to the crisis in Ukraine.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, based in Copenhagen, has mandated the creation of an Interparliamentary Liaison Group on Ukraine, which aims to bring together parliamentarians from Ukraine, Russia and other participating States in an effort to promote dialogue and de-escalation of the conflict. OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva continues to actively engage with government and parliamentary leaders in both Ukraine and Russia on efforts to resolve the crisis.
The PA organized one of its largest ever election-monitoring missions for Ukraine's May 25 Presidential election . The PA made several pre-election visits to Ukraine, and OSCE parliamentarian Joao Soares, was named by the Swiss CiO as the Special Co-ordinator of the nearly 1,000 OSCE short-term election observers. On 26 May, one day after the election, international observers presented their preliminary statement which said that despite violence and threats in east, Ukraine election was characterized by high turnout and resolve to guarantee fundamental freedoms. See all information about the election observation mission here.
The OSCE PA will observe the parliamentary elections on October 26. Learn more at www.oscepa.org.