Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 10.08.2018
Russia supplies its army invading Ukraine in Donbas with practically unlimited weapons, ammunition, and supplies. On the night of August 7-8, a surveillance drone from the OSCE spotted one of the ways the Russians get war matériel to their forces in occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions. They employ truck convoys that travel across the uncontrolled international border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine daily report issued on August 9 gave the results of a flight of an unarmed aerial vehicle. It read: “An SMM long-range UAV spotted convoys of trucks entering and exiting Ukraine via a dirt track where there are no border crossing facilities in the middle of the night.” The surveillance drone spotted two Russian convoys passing each other, one leaving and the other entering the Russian-occupied zone in Ukraine. The convoys crossed the border on a dirt track west of the village of Manych, a place that is 83 kilometres from where Russia is attacking Ukraine at Avdiivka and 102 kilometres from where Russia is attacking Ukraine at Shyrokyne. The OSCE SMM drone observed that the dispersal of the convoy entering Ukraine was co-ordinated by men waiting in a vehicle near Manych. The convoy entering Ukraine went to a Russian army base near Khrustalnyi, Luhansk region, Ukraine (Russian-occupied).
Note that the OSCE SMM never says that Russian convoys are Russian convoys. It never says that parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are ‘non-government controlled’ because Russians took away that control by invading Ukraine. It never says that part of the international border between Ukraine and Russia is uncontrolled and unmonitored because Russia invaded Ukraine. Defying logic and morality and sanity, the OSCE SMM refuses to say that Russia is a party to the conflict.
The OSCE SMM defies the 2016 Tbilisi Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly which stated clearly that the Russian Federation is committing “acts of military aggression against Ukraine” in Crimea and in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. By acting against the legislative branch of the OSCE, the OSCE SMM is illegitimately constituted.
The OSCE SMM compounds its moral jeopardy by allowing Russians to serve as monitors and rejecting Ukrainians as monitors. 37 Russians currently serve as ‘monitors’ on the OSCE SMM teams. Beyond question, they are all agents of Russia’s intelligence services. This is confirmed by the fact that late last year all the Russian officers withdrew unilaterally from the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC), a body which is supposed to follow-up on reports of ceasefire violations.
The OSCE SMM refuses to say that Russia is the aggressor, even though the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the host nation Ukraine both do. The OSCE SMM allows invader Russia to ‘monitor’ its own invasion. This is madness.
The information obtained by the OSCE SMM surveillance drone about military truck convoys surreptitiously entering and leaving occupied Ukraine is convincing evidence that Russia is supplying the forces fighting the Ukrainian army in Donbas. It is proof that Russia is invading Ukraine. But the illogical and immoral and insane mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine means that the truth is hidden, Kremlin lies is allowed to stand, and inaction on the part of all the other members of the OSCE is excused.
Russia is at war with Ukraine. When Russia invaded Ukraine and was not punished for doing so, the Helsinki Final Act was shattered. The foundations of security and co-operation in Europe are in ruins because the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is faithless to the principles articulated in the Tbilisi Declaration. Ukrainians are suffering into the fifth year of Putin’s War because the West abandoned its principles and its moral courage.