U.S. calls on Russia not to hamper OSCE SMM’s work in Ukraine

The United States has called on Russia to stop obstructing the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and its efforts to document Russian military presence in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

That’s according to the address of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE to the meeting of the organization’s Permanent Council, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Russia and the forces it controls continue to obstruct the work of the Special Monitoring Mission, a mission that Russia joined consensus to establish. Clearly, Russia’s goal is to prevent the SMM from documenting the Russian forces, Russian equipment, Russian weapons, Russian convoys, and Russian fuel trucks on the other side of the Line of Contact,” the statement says.

Read also: OSCE SMM records 196 ceasefire violations within 24 hours

This has always been a “Russia-led conflict,” the U.S. stressed.

“ Russia initiated it and continues to be the aggressor,” the U.S. Mission said. “Only Russia is responsible for the death and devastation it has caused.”

Against this background, U.S. diplomats have implored Russia to “cease obstructing SMM operations and allow the monitors, including those that are Russian nationals, to observe and report on the situation in eastern Ukraine.”

Separately, the U.S. Mission to the OSCE expressed concern over the fact that, despite a ceasefire announced, the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed or wounded each month “is on the rise.”

“As of September 22, 29 Ukrainian soldiers have been wounded and five killed this month alone,” the Mission stressed.

Read also: Russia removes OSCE observers from border to set up “election carousels” – Kuleba

“Reducing violence in this ongoing conflict is in the best interest of all parties. The United States calls on Russia to exercise the political will to ease human suffering and prevent further damage to the lives and livelihoods of all who live in these areas,” said the statement.

As reported earlier, the OSCE SMM almost daily reports hindered access across the temporarily occupied areas in eastern Ukraine.

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