On the somber occasion of the third anniversary of the death of a member of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, senior OSCE Parliamentary Assembly officials called for an end to harassment and restrictions placed on international monitors in Ukraine, respect for principles of the Helsinki Final Act, and the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity.
Congressman Richard Hudson (United States), Costel Neculai Dunava (MP, Romania), and Laurynas Kasciunas (MP, Lithuania), the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Political Affairs and Security, released the following statement:
“Joseph Stone, an American paramedic supporting the OSCE monitors in eastern Ukraine, was killed by a landmine in the conflict zone three years ago today. This solemn occasion must remind us of the dangers this needless Russian war of aggression imposes not only on international monitors but on innocent Ukrainian civilians on a daily basis. It is long past time for the monitors to be allowed to do their work unimpeded, for the human costs of the conflict to be addressed, and ultimately for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty to be fully restored.”
The PA leaders underscored that restrictions on the monitors’ movement, including under the pretext of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions, were unacceptable and only served to deepen the misery of local populations by depriving them of critical assistance. They also lamented the continued toll of landmines and unexploded ordnance in eastern Ukraine.