OSCE SMM doesn't confirm presence of Russian troops in Donbas, sees only 'fighters from outside the region' - Zannier
SMM OSCE can't confirm the presence of Russian troops in Donbas as such, but draws attention to the evidence of foreign residents' involvement in the conflict and inexhaustible amount of weapons in the region.
"If people ask me are there Russian units on the ground and I ask my people and they say there are no Russian units as such. But of course, what we say it's first of all, there is military equipment that keeps being renovated. So it looks like there is an influx of military equipment that never diminishes in number in spite of the conflict, in spite of the losses. Secondly we see that fuel and ammunition is always there so that also comes from somewhere. Thirdly, we see the fighters,' OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said at a briefing in Kyiv on Friday.
He stressed that these fighters come from outside the region and "they acknowledge this," but say that they come on private basis.
"And they deny any connections, any official connections with Russian structures at least when we talked to them," Zannier said.
There are also people who do not just shoot, but operate sophisticated military weaponry and equipment, the OSCE Secretary General said.
Answering journalists' questions about the similarity of the crisis in Donbas with other conflicts on the continent in recent decades, Zannier said he abstained from drawing parallels. Every single conflict has its own peculiarities, but what distinguishes the conflict in the east of Ukraine from other similar conflicts, and even from Yugoslavia, is the presence of a large number of weapons and military equipment, he said.
In his words, the OSCE refrains from evaluations, their task is to promote dialogue, facilitate the creation of platforms on which the parties concerned can discuss the situation, including the economic interests.