OSCE SMM monitors say Russia continues sending troops and equipment to Ukraine
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine reports ongoing cases when Russian troops and weapons arrive in occupied Donbas from Russia, despite the fact that combined Russian-separatist forces continue to deny access to OSCE monitors.
"Despite combined-separatist forces' restrictions, the SMM continues to document evidence that Russia is sending troops and equipment into Ukraine," U.S. Ambassador Daniel Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council said in a statement.
In his words, taking advantage that the Ukraine-Russia state border is not controlled at night, Russia moves weapons and ammunition to militant-controlled areas in Donbas.
"Russia can and does easily move weapons, fuel, and ammunition across the border, under the cover of darkness, and in the absence of OSCE observers," he said.
On October 17, the SMM spotted a minivan with military license plates carrying personnel in camouflage as it crossed from Russia into separatist-held Ukraine. "The minivan did not transit the border at an official crossing point, as would have been the case if it had been carrying a routine rotation of Russian officers to the Joint Center for Coordination and Control," Baer said.
Also last week, monitors spotted a bus with at least 20 persons in camouflage crossing from separatist-held parts of Ukraine back into Russia.
"Taken together with the ramp up in access restrictions, this evidence is indicative of Russia’s continued and active support of combined separatist-forces in Ukraine," the U.S. Ambassador said.
All along Ukraine’s internationally-recognized border, Russia continues its subterfuge to cloak its activities from the international community, he said.
"Just last week, Russia again rejected proposals to expand the SMM area of operations to cover all nine border crossings from Russia into separatist-held areas in Ukraine," he added.