Friday, February 24 2017 20:47 EET
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OSCE will increase number of observers in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine
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The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) plans to increase the number of observers for its Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, in order to strengthen its technical capacity and increase patrol hours along the contact line in the conflict zone. Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Foreign Minister who currently holds the OSCE Chairmanship, made the announcement at a UN Security Council meeting.

Kurz, who visited Ukraine in January, called the level of violence in the east of the country absolutely unacceptable. He once again called on all parties to the conflict to fulfill the Minsk agreements and fully adhere to the ceasefire.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also urged for the immediate implementation of the agreements, which were reached at a meeting in Munich on February 18. In a special statement, he accused Russian and Ukrainian authorities of absence of political will and the devaluation of the negotiation process. Moscow and Kyiv have promised to use their influence to stop the fire in the Donbas, but have not done anything, Gabriel said.

At the Munich meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine endorsed a return to the ceasefire regime beginning from February 20, as well as the removal of heavy weapons. However, according to OSCE data, heavy weapons have been used in many parts along the contact line within the last day.

The German Foreign Minister warned of the risk of escalation of the conflict, which would lead to a large number of civilian casualties and an impasse in the political process to resolve the situation.

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