claim, by OSCE Deputy Mission Head in Ukraine Alexander Hug, adds to the
already overwhelming evidence that the Kremlin has continually lied about its
involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

This is the
closest the OSCE has ever come to admitting that it is aware that the Russian
army is fighting in the Donbas, something which Ukraine and its western allies
have insisted has been true since the war began in the spring of 2014. Despite
the vast amount of evidence, Russia has never admitted its involvement in the
Ukraine conflict.

the beginning of the conflict…We have written in our reports that we have
observed armed people with Russian insignia,” said Hug in response to
questions about whether the mission has observed Russian soldiers or equipment.


“We have also talked to prisoners who told us that they are Russian soldiers,”
said Hug at a news conference in Odesa for local journalists. “We have
also seen the tire tracks, not the vehicles themselves, but the tracks of
vehicles crossing the border (between Russia and Ukraine.)”

comments were reported by Interfax-Ukraine on March 25, and confirmed to the
Kyiv Post by OSCE Senior Press Assistant Iryna Gudyma on March 26.

stressed that the mission only remarks on what it sees and hears, but doesn’t draw
other conclusions.

In a
separate press conference later on March 25, Hug noted to journalists via video
link from Odesa that it was the second anniversary of the OSCE monitoring
mission in Ukraine.

happy to know that both sides can hold fire when they choose to,” he said,
before lamenting a series of incidents in which OSCE representatives had been
caught in crossfire between the sides.

noted that there are still a number of hot spots in Donetsk Oblast on the road
between Luhanske and Debaltseve and between Adiyivka and Yasynuvata. In Luhansk Oblast, he noted that separatist and government positions had moved closer to
each other in Pervomaisk and Popasna, which was both worrying and dangerous for
the monitors.


He also highlighted
the poor humanitarian situation in the conflict zone, saying that civilians
living in Novooleksandrivska in Donbas Oblast have been without electricity for
20 months.

The OSCE has repeatedly stated their difficulties in accessing certain
territories controlled by the separatists, and this was reiterated by Hug
during the news conference.

the so-called DPR refused to allow the SMM to patrol in Yasynuvata, signalling
the fragility of their commitment to what we are trying to achieve there.”

He also
reminded both sides that the deadline for completing mine-clearing actions agreed in the
Minsk accords is “fast approaching.”

Kyiv Post staff writer Isobel Koshiw can be reached at [email protected]

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