Interpretative Statement on the Extension of the Deployment of OSCE Observers to Two Russian Checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian Border

In connection with the adoption of the Decision for the Extension of Deployment of OSCE Observers to Two Russian Checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian Border, the United States would like to make the following interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the OSCE Rules of Procedure:

The United States finds it deeply regrettable that the Russian Federation continues to block expanding the geographic scope of the Observer Mission, despite the clear, strong, and continued support from other participating States to do so. We once again must accept an inadequate limited-scope mission covering just two border checkpoints, which account for just a few hundred meters of the 2,300 kilometer border.

Due to Russia’s unnecessary restrictions of the Border Observation Mission’s work, the Mission will continue to be unable to ascertain the extent to which Russia is participating in or facilitating the flow of illegal arms, funding, and personnel to support the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

We note that Step 4 of the September 5 Minsk Protocol delineates a clear role for the OSCE to monitor and verify on both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian international border, and to create a security zone in the border areas of Russia and Ukraine. There are strong linkages between ceasefire monitoring and border monitoring, and it is to the detriment of all efforts to resolve the conflict that the OSCE approach to these activities has been impeded by one participating State. The Russian Federation’s repeated refusal to allow expansion of the scope of this mission shows, once again, that it has yet to fulfill its Minsk commitments.

I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and to the Journal of the Day.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.