15:07 29.04.2020

Militarization of Black, Azov Seas will be among priorities of OSCE's FSC - Kuleba

3 min read
Militarization of Black, Azov Seas will be among priorities of OSCE's FSC - Kuleba

The ongoing militarization of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov region and the obstruction of freedom of international navigation will be one of the priorities of Ukraine's chairmanship at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC), Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

"We tried to draw up a well-balanced and far-sighted agenda. I must start with a difficult security situation in the Black and Azov Seas, which is marked by continued militarization and an obstacle to the freedom of international navigation. We must begin an exhaustive discussion on this topic. High-ranking officials and speakers from academia should present their points of view by analyzing the implications of these events on a wider region, and the possible steps that we can take to end them," Kuleba said, speaking during an online session on the occasion of the beginning of the Ukrainian Chairmanship of the Forum on Wednesday.

The minister also emphasized that the political and military aspects of the conflict in Donbas should remain the focus of the Forum.

"Six years ago, OSCE member states found the courage to send hundreds of their citizens as international civilian observers to the conflict zone to work in a very dangerous and unpredictable security environment ... We continue to appreciate the contribution of all civilian observers working in the areas affected by the conflict," he said.

Kuleba noted that the priority of Ukraine's chairmanship is the theme of the global coronavirus pandemic, its impact on the armed forces and their role in helping governments deal with this threat.

"Ukraine plans to pay special attention to the topic of hybrid threats and their possible relationship with modern hostilities. These threats affect most member countries," the minister said.

In addition, he added that there would be a security dialogue on the activities and regulation of private military companies. Kuleba drew attention to the fact that the Forum should pay special attention to military exercises, especially taking place near the borders. Also, the priorities of the Ukrainian Chairmanship include an emphasis on the topic of small arms and light weapons and stockpiles of conventional ammunition.

"We would like to draw the attention of member countries to the topic of mine action and the role of the OSCE in helping member countries in this area. This topic is especially relevant due to the difficult humanitarian situation in or around some areas of the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine," Kuleba said.

As reported, on April 20, Ukraine began to chair the OSCE's FSC, taking over the baton from Turkey. Ukraine is the first country to chair the Online Forum in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the OSCE, the chairmanship of the Forum changes three times a year and lasts four months.

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