The OSCE and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine [fr]
After launching an unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Russia blocked the consensus on extending the mandate of OSCE missions and activities in Ukraine and thus forced these operations to discontinue.
The OSCE used to have a field mission in Ukraine, commonly known as the Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine (PCU), which was initiated on 1st June 1999. This field mission was established at the request of the Ukrainian government, after its launch was approved by all OSCE participating States. The PCU used to provide assistance and expertise to the authorities and to the civil society on a large range of topics, including constitutional reform, justice reform, human rights, promotion of dialogue as a tool for crisis management and implementation of reforms, psychological and social rehabilitation of people affected by the conflict, fight against cybercrime and human trafficking, mine action and democratic control of the security sector, environmental protection, border security, media freedom, elections, good governance, and gender equality. Due to the Russia’s opposition regarding the extension of its mandate, the PCU was forced to end its activities on 30 June 2022.
In addition, since 2014, the OSCE has played a pivotal role in mediating the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Minsk Agreements were developed in the Trilateral Contact Group (consisting of representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE). The OSCE was also in charge of implementing the commitments made in the Minsk Agreements. Its Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (known as SMM) was responsible, among other things, for monitoring compliance to the ceasefire, verifying the withdrawal of heavy weapons, and providing an impartial report on the security situation in the country. After the outbreak of war on 24 February 2022, the mission’s activities were suspended and Russia subsequently objected to the extension of the SMU beyond 31 March 2022, resulting in its shutdown. Another OSCE observer mission (BOM) was present at two border crossings, Donetsk and Gukovo. The BOM mandate could not be extended beyond 30 September 2021, due to Russia’s opposition.
However, the OSCE has remained present in Ukraine since the establishment on 1st November 2022 of the Support Programme for Ukraine (SPU), which takes over most of the projects and activities of the former PCU. The SPU is funded by a group of volunteer States on an extra-budgetary basis, to which France is a major contributor. The OSCE Secretariat also conducts projects funded by voluntary contributions to assess and analyze the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, particularly with regard to the impact of the war on the environment.
Find out more on OSCE’s missions in Ukraine here: https://www.osce.org/ukraine-latest.