LUXEMBURG, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – The EU Foreign Affairs Council has expressed strong support for the expansion of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine to Russian border checkpoints.
"The Council supports swift expansion and extension of the OSCE Observer Mission to Russian checkpoints to ensure effective and full control of the border by Ukraine and calls on the Russian Federation to do the same," the Council said in a statement Monday.
Earlier on Monday Russia's OSCE envoy Andrei Kelin said the issue of extending the monitoring of Russian checkpoints on the border with Ukraine would be discussed by the OSCE Permanent Council on Wednesday. Kelin stressed that Russia has strict control over all of its checkpoints and does not see the necessity of expanding the mission.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) deployed a monitoring mission to Ukraine in late March, following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine's government and a consensus agreement by all 57 OSCE participating States. The monitors are to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security in Ukraine.
In July, Russia agreed to international monitoring of its Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Moscow said the OSCE Mission needed to continue its work in Ukraine to keep a record of what was actually happening in the country's conflict areas.
Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German chancellor Agela Merkel called for expanding the OSCE monitoring mission on the Russian-Ukrainian border.