MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for expanding the OSCE monitoring mission on Russian-Ukrainian border at their meeting in Milan, the presidential press service said.
"The parties underlined the necessity of expanding the OSCE mission and improving its technical equipment for the monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian border," said the statement published on the Ukrainian president's website.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine was deployed 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 troubled regions.
On October 12, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed that the OSCE had satisfied his request to increase the monitoring mission in the country's South-East to 1,500 personnel - a statement, later denied by the organization. Spokesperson of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship Roland Bless said that the current mandate limits the number of observers to 500 and "this can only be changed if the Permanent council decides so in a consensus decision". This week, the OSCE has also welcomed the steps undertaken by the parties to de-escalate the tensions in eastern Ukraine.