OSCE Chief Monitor in Ukraine: “The people of Ukraine seek peace and normalization”
KYIV, 31 December 2015 - The Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, expressed today strong hope that the coming year will be pivotal in de-escalating the violence and taking concrete steps towards a comprehensive solution to the conflict in Ukraine. “The people of Ukraine seek peace and normalization of the country,” he said.
“We recognize the devastating impact of the humanitarian crisis that confronts so many in eastern Ukraine, and the need to put an end to the violence that perpetuates this crisis,” said Apakan. In anticipation of the upcoming holidays that are celebrated by people across the country and beyond, “we are mindful of the many who have lost, or are separated from, family and friends with whom they would otherwise celebrate,” added the Chief Monitor.
There were positive developments in 2015, he said, noting the signing of agreements on the ceasefire and on weapons’ withdrawal, but this still does not mean that peace has come, or that civilians’ safety is guaranteed, said Apakan. “A full and comprehensive ceasefire is still to be established. The fact that the number of ceasefire violations in the last weeks of December had increased again in eastern Ukraine reflects a worrying development as the year ends.”
“Ceasefire violations are not the only danger for civilians. On both sides of the contact line, mines continue to cause death and injury,” said Apakan, recalling that the signatories to the Memorandum of 19 September 2014 agreed that all mines have to be removed in the security zone. “It is urgent that they fulfil their commitments, for the safety of all the people of Ukraine,” concluded Apakan.