German Foreign Minister Stresses Importance of Continuing OSCE Work in Ukraine

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OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2022
BERLIN (Sputnik) - The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) special monitoring mission (SMM) in Ukraine has a major role in de-escalating the crisis and should be able to work without interruptions, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says.
"Now more than ever, the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission OSCE_SMM in Ukraine plays a key role in de-escalation efforts and as the eyes and ears of the international community. We must ensure that it can carry out its full mandate without interruption," Baerbock said on Twitter on Sunday.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed concern on Sunday over the reported decision of a number of countries, including the US and the UK, to withdraw their OSCE monitors from Ukraine. Zakharova called on the OSCE to prevent attempts of manipulating the mission.
OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid said on Sunday that the SMM will continue to fulfill its mandate in Ukraine.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in Ukraine's southeast said on Saturday that US representatives in the OSCE SMM had already "packed their bags," and were ready to leave at any moment. He emphasized that their departure would mean that a Western-sponsored Ukrainian provocation is being plotted.
On Saturday, the US State Department said that the United States was relocating some of its diplomatic personnel from the Ukrainian capital to the city of Lviv amid security concerns. Both Canada and Australia said they were suspending embassy operations in Kiev and opening temporary offices in Lviv amid the escalation of the Ukraine crisis.
In the past few months, the West and Ukraine have accused Russia of a troop build-up near the Ukrainian border in alleged preparation for an "invasion." Moscow has denied these accusations, repeatedly stating that it is not threatening anyone and at the same time expressing strong concerns over NATO's military activity near the Russian borders, which it deems a threat to its national security. Moscow has also said Russia has the right to move troops within its national territory.
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