Bipartisan Group of Senators Call for International Monitors in Ukraine

Senators Ask OSCE to Immediately Dispatch Monitors to Follow Deteriorating Situation in Ukraine

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 19, 2014.  A bipartisan group of Senators, led by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), today sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, urging the international body to immediately deploy civilian monitors to eastern and southern Ukraine as the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and John Hoeven (R-ND), all of whom traveled to Ukraine last week, signed the letter.

“We write to urge the immediate deployment of OSCE civilian monitors to eastern, southern and other potentially unstable regions of Ukraine to report on security and human rights conditions on the ground and to help defuse tensions,” the Senators wrote.

 

“We just returned from Ukraine and are deeply concerned about events that are transpiring as well as the broader implications for European security should Russia’s actions go unchecked.   Russia’s aggressive use of military force to invade and annex the sovereign territory of another country is an affront to decades of established security norms and agreements in Europe.  Russia’s further use of provocateurs and intelligence agents to brazenly stir trouble in eastern Ukraine must be exposed and monitored so as to not provide Russia a manipulated pretext for additional military action in Ukraine.”

 

“The Ukrainian people deserve peace and security without military threats from Russia as they work to rebuild their democratic governing institutions and economy.  The strong reputation of the OSCE is ideally suited to help ensure the space needed to see these important processes go forward.”

Earlier today, the OSCE failed to reach consensus on sending monitors to the region. Despite overwhelming support for such monitors, including from Russian officials, Russia brazenly quashed this most recent attempt to send in an international monitoring force. Also today, Russian-backed militiamen and regular Russian forces, continued to escalate the military situation in Crimea, overrunning and occupying a Ukrainian naval base.

A copy of today’s letter is pasted below and attached.

March 19, 2014

Secretary General Lamberto Zannier

OSCE Secretariat

Wallnerstrasse 6

A-1010 Vienna

Austria

Dear Secretary General Zannier:

We write to urge the immediate deployment of OSCE civilian monitors to eastern, southern, and other potentially unstable regions of Ukraine to report on security and human rights conditions on the ground and to help defuse tensions.  We just returned from Ukraine and are deeply concerned about events that are transpiring as well as the broader implications for European security should Russia’s actions go unchecked.   Russia’s aggressive use of military force to invade and annex the sovereign territory of another country is an affront to decades of established security norms and agreements in Europe.  Russia’s further use of provocateurs and intelligence agents to brazenly stir trouble in eastern Ukraine must be exposed and monitored so as to not provide Russia a manipulated pretext for additional military action in Ukraine. 

On March 16, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for foreign observers from the OSCE to be sent “urgently” to the east and south of Ukraine.  We note that on the same day, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter urged “participating States to act responsibly and work with full speed in the spirit of cooperation towards consensus on a monitoring mission and its rapid deployment, leading to an enhanced presence of the OSCE in Ukraine.”  Russia has also supported the idea of deploying an OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, including Crimea.  We must seize upon these openings to quickly deploy such monitors to help prevent any further violence and Russian violations of Ukrainian sovereignty.

The OSCE has an important mandate to address security-related concerns, including confidence and security-building measures, human rights, and national minorities – a mandate perfectly suited to address escalating problems in Ukraine.  The Ukrainian people deserve peace and security without military threats from Russia as they work to rebuild their democratic governing institutions and economy.  The strong reputation of the OSCE is ideally suited to help ensure the space needed to see these important processes go forward.

We thank you for your attention and stand ready to help through our positions in the United States Senate.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin, United State Senator           

John McCain, United States Senator

Chris Murphy, United States Senator                                                                      

Ron Johnson, United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senator  

John Barrasso, United States Senator

Jeff Flake, United States Senator                    

John Hoeven, United States Senator

Source: durbin.senate.gov