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OSCE envoy condemns blocking of monitors’ work in occupied Donbas.

Special Representative of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on Eastern Europe Daniela De Ridder (Germany) said that undue restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine are a troubling development that must be reversed.

That’s according to De Ridder’s statement released Tuesday, October 19.

“The Special Monitoring Mission is not only the OSCE’s biggest and highest profile operation, but also one of its most vital,” De Ridder said.

“Mandated since 2014 to observe and report impartially on the situation in Ukraine, it has been an invaluable tool in documenting ceasefire violations, providing essential data to policymakers, and facilitating dialogue among belligerents,” she added.

Read also: OSCE monitors practically taken hostage in occupied Horlivka – Ukraine delegate to TCG

De Ridder reminded “all parties to the conflict that the SMM is authorized by consensus decisions of all 57 OSCE participating States, and that its freedom of movement must be unconditionally respected.”

As Ukrinform reported earlier, on October 17, militants with the Russian occupation forces blocked the exit from the OSCE SMM patrol base in the temporarily occupied Horlivka, prohibiting the monitors from leaving the hotel premises. The monitors were told they were not allowed to leave until Ukraine releases a member of one of the illegal armed groups, detained near Zolote on October 13.

On that day, Russian occupation forces resorted to a gross provocation as an armed group sporting armbands of the Joint Center for Ceasefire Control and Coordination were caught red-handed on a reconnaissance mission under the guise of a demining effort near the abandoned positions of Ukraine’s Joint Forces.

Read also: Russia's actions “unacceptable”: MFA Ukraine reacts to blocking of OSCE monitors

One of the group members, Russian national Andrey Kosyak, was detained on the spot.

On Monday afternoon, the OSCE SMM reported that the Mission had resumed its work in Horlivka.

From January 1, 2022, Poland will be chairing the OSCE. Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau has recently stated that one of Warsaw's priorities during its presidency will be to resolve crisis in eastern Ukraine.

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