MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) – The decision to send a group of military observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member-states to eastern Ukraine’s Slaviansk could have been Kiev’s provocation, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has said.
In remarks to the incident over the detention of OSCE team in Slaviansk, Churkin told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine on Tuesday: “This was either a provocation of the Kiev authorities or I am sorry, stupidity.”
“They had been invited by the Kiev authorities, as they were responsible for their security. How can you place guests in a bus and send them without an arrangement to a region, controlled by self-defense forces, without giving them the respective documents, confirming their status,” he said.
Churkin added, “We are trying to assist the release of the observers.”
A bus carrying seven members of an OSCE observer mission in Ukraine and five Ukrainian military officers was seized by pro-federalization protesters in eastern city of Slaviansk on April 25. People's mayor of Slaviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, said the monitors and Ukrainian military officials who accompanied them were detained on suspicion of “espionage.”
After negotiations, one of the OSCE team members, Swedish military officer Ingvi Thomas Johanson, was released for medical reasons. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called on Russia Monday to help secure the release of the remaining OSCE inspectors.
On Tuesday, Churkin also accused the coup-imposed Kiev authorities of pushing the country to a catastrophe by having done nothing to comply with Ukraine's commitment under the Geneva deal.
On April 17 in Geneva, top diplomats from Russia, the United States, Europe and Ukraine agreed a number of measures aimed at the de-escalation of tensions in the crisis-hit country, including the disarmament of irregular militant groups and a dialogue on constitutional reforms.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney accused Russia of doing nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and of involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the West’s accusations as ungrounded.