Planned Closure of the OSCE Border Observer Mission

The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Russian Federation to block consensus to extend the OSCE Border Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk, which was announced by the OSCE Chair in Office, in Vienna yesterday.  The OSCE Border Observer Mission plays a valuable role in providing transparency on movements of people and material between the Russian Federation and areas in eastern Ukraine, controlled by Russia-led forces.  This small mission has been in operation since July 2014, and its work is fundamentally connected to the commitment Russia made when it signed the Minsk Protocol in September 2014, which “ensure[s] permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian Russian state border and verification by the OSCE.”  Russia’s objection to continuing the Border Observer Mission’s mandate raises deep concerns about its intentions to fulfill its international commitments and engage constructively with Ukraine.  We continue to call on Russia to allow the Border Observer Mission mandate to be extended, cease its ongoing aggression against Ukraine, and contribute to a peaceful resolution to the conflict.