World Bulletin/News Desk
The international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should remain in eastern Ukraine to continue their efforts to monitor Kiev's anti-terror operation, Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
In a statement, the ministry harshly opposed a suggestion for withdrawing the observers from the restive eastern regions due to safety concerns amid ongoing shootings between government troops and pro-Moscow separatists.
Earlier this week, Wolfgang Ischinger -- OSCE negotiator on national dialogue in Ukraine -- told German broadcaster ZDF that the organization might withdraw the monitors due to fears for their lives.
On Friday, the organization announced that four other observers from its mission in Ukraine had gone missing the day before in Lugansk, one of the two separatist eastern regions where pro-Russians unilaterally declared independence from the country after a controversial referendum on May 11.
There are currently eight international observers missing in Ukraine in total as another team of four OSCE members, including Turkish observer Memet Kilic, earlier disappeared in the east. They were last heard from on the evening of May 26.
"In a time Kiev government has amplified its punitive operation in the east of the country, it is crucial to intensify the efforts of international observers who is responsible for establishing and reporting all kinds of human rights violations," said the Russian Foreign Ministry statement.
The ministry also dubbed supportive voices for Kiev's anti-terrorist operations in the east as "outrageous."
Established on March 21 upon a consensus agreement by all 57 OSCE participating states, the Special Monitoring Mission for Ukraine aims to contribute in reducing tensions, fostering peace, stability and security in the country.
Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are clashing with government forces.
In his victory remarks after Sunday's presidential elections in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko vowed "to ensure peace and stability" by retaining control in eastern regions, as well as returning the Crimean peninsula to the country.
Ukrainian troops launched an operation Monday and regained control of Donetsk airport previously seized by pro-Russian rebels.
Nearly 100 people, 50 separatists and 30 to 50 civilians, were killed in the operation, according to a separatist leader in Donetsk.
Besides, 14 Ukrainian troops were killed on Thursday as their helicopter was shot down by pro-Russian separatists in Slavyansk.
Last Mod: 31 Mayıs 2014, 23:55