OSCE Chief Monitor in Ukraine, reacting to incident near Marinka, demands respect for security and mandate of SMM monitors
KYIV, 17 January 2016 – The Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Ertugrul Apakan condemned yesterday’s incident in which small-arms fire disrupted the work of the Mission’s monitors near Marinka in eastern Ukraine, and issued the following statement:
“We received the news that SMM monitors who were facilitating the restoration of critical infrastructure near Marinka, just south-west of Donetsk city, were exposed to small-arms fire. The incident comes just nine days after their colleagues in non-government-controlled Horlivka were removed from their vehicles and forced to the ground at gunpoint.
“Given that these monitors are unarmed; that they have come to Ukraine with the aim of the normalization and stabilization of the security situation; and, that essentially they are peace-makers; these incidents – and others before them – are entirely unacceptable.
“Every day, SMM monitors are tasked to verify the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the security zone, the centrepiece of the Minsk agreements. Ensuring and guaranteeing the security and safety of SMM monitors is therefore not only a matter of the well-being of those monitors. It is also a prerequisite for peace in the interest of all segments of people in the country.
“If monitors are unable to perform their duties, there can be no security and there can be no stabilization. The process for achieving normalization demands that SMM monitors’ security be respected, that they be guaranteed safe access and freedom-of-movement throughout the country, and that all sides respect the mandate under which they operate.”