OSCE PA president: Mission should have access to entire Ukraine-Russia border.

Russia's closure of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk is troubling and only demonstrates the need for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to be present along the entire section of the border between Ukraine and Russia.

President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Swedish MP Margareta Cederfelt said this in her speech at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on September 16, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"We have regularly repeated our condemnation of the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and its aggression in Donbas and expressed our concern over the recent military build-up in and around Ukraine. Against this backdrop, I find the announced closure of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk troubling," Cederfelt said.

According to her, while this has been a very limited operation facing many obstacles, "it has still been a sign of hope for greater cooperation within this organization."

"More than ever, this latest development demonstrates the necessity for the Special Monitoring Mission to be able to work unhindered and in accordance with its mandate, and to be present along the entire border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. After all, the SMM mandate covers all of the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine, which includes the Crimean Peninsula," Cederfelt said.

On September 2, at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, Russia announced the Russian president's decision not to support the existing broad consensus within the OSCE on extending the mandate of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk after September 30. 2021.

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