Conflict in Ukraine: OSCE warns of rising tensions – Politics

US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter said on Thursday in Vienna on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting, which focused on tensions between Russia and the West, that the crisis was becoming more dramatic and the “strident” Russian voice. US President Joe Biden has made it clear that the United States is ready to take massive countermeasures if Moscow gets carried away by aggression. The security interests of one state will not be put above those of many others, especially since it was Russia that recently invaded two other states. Carpenter brought up Ukraine and Georgia. Carpenter did not want to speculate on the context of the transfer of Russian troops to the western border. But you have to be prepared for an escalation.

The OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which actually wanted to focus on the Polish chairmanship at the start of the year, always acts by consensus, so decisions that might be directed against a member are practically impossible. The American ambassador thus recalled that action within the framework of the OSCE must above all focus on negotiations. No one assumes that a solution will be found quickly; it is now a question of engaging in a new security dialogue.

Alongside the talks in Vienna, representatives from NATO and Russia recently met for dialogue, and EU defense ministers in Brussels also discussed the topic. So far, Russia has been ruthless when it comes to its own demands. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung The permanent representative of Russia to the OSCE, Alexander Loukachevitch, also insisted Thursday before the OSCE that a decision on the security guarantees demanded by his country be taken soon. A delay in the negotiations could lead to an “inevitable deterioration in the security situation of all states without exception”, Lukachevitch said. Russia is a peace-loving country. “But we don’t need peace at any cost.”

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who currently chairs the OSCE, reacted with a warning: “It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is currently greater than it has been. been for 30 years,” he said Thursday. In principle, the OSCE could play a major role in controlling tensions between Russia and the West, since it has 57 members. Also Russia, USA and European countries. “Only at the OSCE can we sit together at the same table, with equal voices from all participating countries,” said US Representative to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter. But the effectiveness of the organization is repeatedly weakened by its own members.

The Mission has repeatedly complained of being hampered in its work

Andriy Yermak, who as head of the Ukrainian presidential office leads the negotiations on the Kyiv side, considers the current OSCE presence in beleaguered eastern Ukraine to be totally insufficient. He demanded that the Germans and French help monitor rebel areas and enforce the armistice. According to the OSCE, the camera systems installed alone have detected nearly 300,000 ceasefire violations over the years.

The OSCE has been traveling Ukraine with a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) since March 2014, fighting for dialogue and observing the situation especially on the disputed Donbass border line. In practice, however, their resources in the conflict are very limited. The OSCE monitors are unarmed and, for security reasons, patrols only take place until nightfall. And the mission repeatedly complained that their freedom of movement and therefore their work were restricted. Sometimes the Russian-backed rebels have prevented them from leaving their base, such as in the town of Horlivka in the Donetsk region, and sometimes their electronic surveillance systems are jammed.

Moreover, only the OSCE has the power to use drones over disputed areas, but this monopoly is constantly undermined. A Ukrainian frontline soldier once told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that pro-Russian rebels had dropped their own drones right behind an OSCE drone so he was not allowed to fire into this direction. But Ukraine has already angered the West with its own deployment of a Turkish drone, which Kiev has justified with the right to self-defense. Of course, this does not help the authority of the security organization.


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