17:14 GMT30 October 2020
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    Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow does not consider it necessary to increase the mandate of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) on the border with Ukraine.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Russia does not consider it necessary to increase the mandate of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) on the border with Ukraine, but has agreed to prolong it until January 31, 2016, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

    "The Russian side has agreed with the prolongation of the OSCE observers' mandate on the Russian-Ukrainian border at Donetsk and Gukovo checkpoints till January 31, 2016. It is not necessary to expand the mandate," the statement said in light of the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the coming OSCE meeting.

    According to the statement, observance of a ceasefire regime, assistance to exchange of prisoners, help in investigating human rights violations and promoting a national dialogue in Ukraine are among the basic duties of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

    At the same time Moscow intends to continue providing the mission with personnel, finances and equipment. According to the ministry, at least 37 Russian observers are engaged in the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

    Ukraine's southeast has been engulfed in a conflict since April 2014, when Kiev launched a military operation to suppress local militia in the Donbas region.

    The OSCE mission was deployed in eastern Ukraine in 2014 to monitor the region, which until recently has remained tense, as both Kiev and the local militias accused each other of violating the February Minsk ceasefire deal.


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