VILNIUS, March 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told journalists on Wednesday that military observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have been banned from entering Crimea.
“We wish they were allowed to enter Crimea very much but we cannot give any guarantees,” the Lithuanian diplomat said. He added the peninsula had a ‘specific leadership’ that was reluctant to contact with other organizations. Nevertheless, Linkevicius said he hoped the observers would be able to convince their Crimean partners.
The OSCE military mission consists of 15 observers, including two from Lithuania. Its aim is to assess the current situation in Crimea.
Lithuania is also planning to delegate its diplomat to an OSCE civilian mission, which is being formed and is expected to visit Crimea soon.
In the meantime, Germany, the United States and Switzerland are sending military observers to Ukraine at the request of the new government in Kiev, a source at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) told Itar-Tass.
The decision was made after the three countries, which are the OSCE members, had received an invitation from the Ukrainian delegation at OSCE.
Germany, the United States and Switzerland have been the only ones to respond to the invitation so far. The OSCE explained that sending military observers to Kiev was in full compliance with the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures.
In case of Ukraine, it is not going to be an observer mission under the OSCE aegis but a group of unarmed military observers who will be sent by their countries and who will not have OSCE mandates. The Vienna Document allows each country to send no more than two military observers at the invitation of another country.
The German Defense Ministry reports that it has sent two military observers to Ukraine on Wednesday as part of a group of OSCE experts.
According to the German Defense Ministry, German military observers are going to visit Ukraine on March 5-12 at the Ukrainian side’s invitation with an aim to remove fears concerning military activities in the interests of strengthening confidence-building measures.
A German Defense Ministry spokesman said the military observers would first arrive in Odessa. They will need to get permission from the regional authorities to visit the Crimea.