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.
25 May 2014 Presidential election
Following an invitation from Ukraine to observe the 25 May early presidential election, both the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) sent observation missions.
ODIHR opened its long-term election observation mission on 25 March, consisting of 18 election experts based in Kyiv, and 100 long-term observers, who were deployed in pairs across the country. ODIHR also requested that OSCE participating States second 900 observers, who arrived in the country the week before the election to observe Election Day.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly organized one of its largest ever election-monitoring missions for Ukraine's May 25 presidential election. The OSCE PA made 5 pre-visits across Ukraine in the weeks leading up to the vote. The OSCE PA’s Joao Soares was named by the Swiss Chairman-in-Office as the Special Co-ordinator of the 100 members of the OSCE PA delegation and the 900 short-term observers from ODIHR.
On 26 May, one day after the election, international observers from ODIHR, the OSCE PA, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Parliament (EP) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) presented their preliminary statement which said that, despite violence and threats in east, the election in Ukraine was characterized by high turnout and a resolve to guarantee fundamental freedoms.
ODIHR issued its final report on the election on 30 June.
26 October 2014 Parliamentary election
On 19 September 2014, following an invitation from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ODIHR opened an election observation mission for the 26 October 2014 early parliamentary elections in Ukraine. The mission is led by Tana de Zulueta and consists of 16 experts based in Kyiv and 80 long-term observers to be deployed across the country. In addition, ODIHR will request 600 short-term observers to monitor election day proceedings.
The mission will assess the entire election process for compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation. Observers will monitor the legislative framework and its implementation, the work of the election administration and relevant government bodies, campaign activities, media coverage and the resolution of election disputes.
In the course of observation, the mission will meet with representatives of relevant authorities and of political parties, as well as with candidates, and with representatives of the judiciary, civil society, the media and the international community.
On election day, observers will monitor the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots and the tabulation of results at all levels. For election day, the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission will join efforts with delegations from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other parliamentary partners.
The day after the elections, the mission will issue a statement of preliminary findings and conclusions. A final report on the observation of the entire electoral process will be issued approximately two months after the end of the electoral process.
Members of the OSCE PA will also observe the 26 October parliamentary elections in Ukraine and lead the short-term OSCE observer mission.
Upon the recommendation of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter has designated Kent Harstedt (MP, Sweden) as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission. Doris Barnett (MP, Germany) will serve as Head of the OSCE PA Delegation, which will consist of parliamentarians from across the OSCE area.
OSCE PA observers will deploy to polling stations across Ukraine, working closely with ODIHR long-term observers and in co-ordination with partners from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) and the European Parliament (EP).
The mission will assess the elections against democratic commitments contained in the OSCE's 1990 Copenhagen Document.
See full information about our election work in Ukraine at: osce.org/odihr/elections/ukraine/116545 and http://www.oscepa.org/election-observation/election-statements/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
In March, 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. This Chapter entitled “Risk Reduction” allows, inter alia, for voluntary hosting of visits to dispel concerns about unusual military activities. A continuation of 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 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.
From the 20th of March onwards, smaller inspection teams of unarmed military experts 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. A German led inspection team was held hostage from 25 April - 3 May 2014.
27 countries decided to send military inspectors and observers in accordance with the Vienna Document 2011: Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, USA and the United Kingdom. They conducted in total 19 verification activities in Ukraine. In addition, 11 countries: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States conducted in total 5 verification activities in the Russian Federation.
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, as well as by the Russian Federation addressed to Ukraine. 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.
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.