Hug denies claiming there was no Russian military interference in Donbas
Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) Alexander Hug said that the remarks in an interview with the U.S. publication Foreign Policy about the absence of Russian military intervention in Donbas did not reflect his point of view.
During a Skype briefing on Friday, Hug said that the published text was misleading and did not reflect his opinion, and that an amended version had already been issued.
The facts presented by the SMM speak for themselves, he said.
"I have been myself very clear all along over the past four-and-a-half years that the SMM is not speculating, it is not concluding on the fact it does establish. The facts that are listed in these reports we issue and in the interview that you refer to speak for themselves. The SMM will continue to implement its mandate and it will continue to document facts and establish facts. We are in Ukraine upon the invitation of Ukraine and we will continue to support Ukraine," Hug said.
The SMM recorded and documented the presence of various types of weapons originally from Russia in the areas not controlled by the Ukrainian government.
He also said that he and other SMM staff saw and spoke to people held captive by the Ukrainian military, who said they were regular Russian troops and were sent to Ukraine on a rotational basis.
In the original interview, Hug was quoted as saying that SMM staff saw people with Russian insignia in Donbas but that such uniforms can be purchased anywhere. Asked what the OSCE position was on the question of Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine, he said that the SMM saw no direct evidence of it.