VIENNA, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – After days of intense debates, the permanent council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reached an agreement on Friday evening to send a monitoring mission to Ukraine.
A resolution on the mission’s six-month mandate was approved by all 57 OSCE member states.
The mission’s headquarters will be in the capital Kiev. First observer teams are to arrive within the next 24 hours.
Observers will visit nine cities: Dnepropetrovsk in central Ukraine, Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv in the east, Kherson and Odessa in the south, Lviv, Chernivtsi and Ivano-Frankivsk in the west.
Initially, the mission will comprise 100 observers, but the number may further be enlarged to 500. It is yet unknown who will head the mission, but the OSCE chairman, Didier Burkhalter of Switzerland, is to decide on the matter soon.
The monitoring mission will not visit Crimea, formerly an autonomous republic within Ukraine which reunification with Russia was sealed earlier on Friday.
A previous OSCE mission, invited by the central government in Kiev, has tried to enter Crimea at least three times in early March, but was denied entry. Warning shots were fired on one occasion.