The United States on Sunday began withdrawing staff from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from the Russian invasion of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine over a possible Russian invasion, MTI reported, citing a Reuters reporter at the site.
According to the report, several armored vehicles bearing the emblem of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were seen in front of the organization’s local headquarters in the early hours of Sunday morning. The vehicles were full of suitcases and then drove away. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has not yet responded to the requests. Reuters has also learned from two sources that the US is withdrawing OSCE monitors from Ukraine and that Britain is redirecting its forces from separatist-controlled areas to Ukrainian-controlled areas.
Mihajlo PodoljakAn adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office told Reuters that Kyiv was interested in the full capacity of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission but did not comment on “OSCE issues”.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Affairs accuses Washington of “dragging the OSCE into unfair political games”:
We call on the leadership of the OSCE to put a definitive end to attempts to manipulate the mission and prevent the organization from being drawn into the unfair political games surrounding it.
– written by Maria Zaharova In a decision issued on Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said he also added that “the mission is being deliberately drawn into Washington’s military psychosis and used as a tool for possible provocation.” (This includes the fact that, according to Western intelligence sources, the Russians are preparing for an invasion with reference to an alleged Ukrainian “provocation).
According to a diplomatic source, the Danish OSCE observers also left Donetsk. Reuters was unable to determine whether they had left Ukraine or entered areas controlled by Ukrainian government forces. So far, 21 observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have left the rebel-ruled city, and another thirty are planning to do so. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has been operating in the region since fighting erupted between government forces in Kyiv and pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. According to the OSCE website, 515 of the 680 monitors in Ukraine are located in the eastern part of the country.
Amid renewed tensions, Washington and its allies have called on their citizens to leave Ukraine immediately, and the remaining US Embassy staff in Ukraine are currently working in Limberg, western Ukraine, rather than Kyiv. According to Western reports, the Russian army has deployed an unprecedented number of over a hundred thousand soldiers across the Ukrainian border in preparation for the invasion. Moscow denies wanting to attack its western neighbor.
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