GENEVA, June 03. /ITAR-TASS/. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is reducing the number of observers in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Eastern Ukraine for security reasons, OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier told journalists on Tuesday.
The OSCE will continue monitoring Ukraine’s eastern regions as closely as possible but at the moment it has to relocate its observers from Donetsk to safer places such as Kharkiv, Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk so that they could perform their monitoring functions from there, Zannier said, adding the OSCE would also cut the number of observers in the Luhansk region.
The OSCE Secretary-General added that observers lost in east Ukraine are safe.
The observer missions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will continue working in east Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions despite incidents when their observers went missing there, Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the OSCE’s mission in Ukraine, said Monday.
There is still no contact with two groups of OSCE observers that went missing in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk region, he said. The people who abducted OSCE observers have not set any conditions for their release as of yet, he added.
As for the group of four observers that went missing while involved in planned patrols in the south of the Donetsk region, they still remained in the region according to еру latest information, he said, adding that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission was trying to get in touch with them. Four observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are nationals of Estonia, Turkey, Switzerland and Denmark
Another group was detained by armed people at a checkpoint in Starodonetsk last Thursday, and attempts to establish contact with them have failed since then. Bociurkiw also said the OSCE still had no information as to who could have been involved in the abduction of its observers and urged all groups that could be holding them to contact the organization.
Earlier another group of the OSCE observers, detained in Sloviansk on April 25, were released on May 3 with the assistance of the Russian president’s special envoy Vladimir Lukin, who took them out of the city and handed them over to Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland and representatives of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. After that they headed to Donetsk wherefrom they will go to their respective home countries. The observers represent the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark, as well as Ukraine.
Not only OSCE observers undergo difficulties during their work in Ukraine. LifeNews journalists Marat Saichenko and Oleg Sidyakin
were detained by Ukraine’s National Guard near the city of Kramatorsk in the eastern Donetsk Region on May 18. They were released from their Ukraine captivity on May 25.
Coup in Ukraine
A coup occurred in Ukraine in February and the country has been in turmoil since then. New people were brought to power amid riots as President Viktor Yanukovych had to leave the country the same month citing security concerns.
Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.
Demonstrators in southeastern regions, who have been demanding the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings. Kiev has been conducting what it has dubbed “an antiterrorism operation” against pro-federalization activists. Russia, which does not recognize the new Kiev authorities, has said the operation is punitive.
The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine.
Ukraine held a presidential election set by the coup-imposed authorities on Sunday, May 25. Billionaire businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko won the election with more than 54% of the vote, with over 94% of election protocols processed, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission reported Tuesday.