Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 12.02.2019
The OSCE is going out of its way to insult member state Ukraine. Contradicting a law banning Russians from being official observers of Ukrainian elections, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe intends to invite the Russian Federation to send short-term observers for elections in Ukraine in 2019. This was announced by the spokesperson for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Thomas Rymer, on February 11.
The Russian Federation is at war with Ukraine. The Russians invaded Ukraine five years ago this month and they now occupy the Ukrainian region of Crimea and some of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are waging trench warfare in eastern Ukraine to this day. Putin’s army is stubbornly resisted by Europe’s defenders, the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Verkhovna Rada, the supreme parliament of Ukraine, has passed a law defining the Russian Federation as an aggressor state. Parliament has also declared sovereign Ukrainian territory of Crimea and part of Donbas to be temporarily and illegally under the de facto administration of the Russian Federation.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly passed the Tbilisi Declaration in 2016 in which it defined the Russian Federation’s actions against Ukraine as “the aggression of one [OSCE] participating State against another” and called it “the worst crisis in European security since the end of the Cold War.” The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly “recognized the actions by the Russian Federation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, as acts of military aggression against Ukraine.”
The Russian Federation is the aggressor state in the war in Ukraine.
The OSCE/ODIHR is deliberately blind to the law of member state Ukraine and to the resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. It puts the aggressor Russian Federation and the defender Ukraine on the same moral footing. Spokesperson Thomas Rymer said: “The ODIHR adheres to the same established practices and methodology for the presidential elections in Ukraine as for all of its other election observation missions. In this regard, we will send invitations to all the 56 OSCE member states to provide STOs [short-term observers] for the EOM [election observation mission].”
The OSCE/ODIHR persists in the fiction that Russian Federation is a peer to the other 55 member states. OSCE diplomats and bureaucrats ignore the reality that the Russian Federation is in gross violation of the Helsinki Final Act – the OSCE’s founding document – and is therefore no longer eligible to be a member of the OSCE.
Ukraine is is fighting a war of national salvation. It cannot afford to indulge the nonsense of the OSCE. The Ukrainian government will refuse to accredit any citizen of the Russian Federation who comes forth to be an official election observer. The OSCE would serve democracy in Ukraine best if it followed the guidance of its own legislative branch and treated the Russian Federation as the aggressor state that it is.