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The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has become the Eyes and Ears of the International Community on the Ground in Ukraine

Stephanie Liechtenstein
Journal01 January 2014

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine is currently the only international presence that operates throughout Ukraine – including in the east and south-east of the country where fighting is taking place between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels. Since its inception in March 2014, the SMM has established an impressive network of contacts with all sides in Ukraine and it has become the ‘eyes and ears of the international community on the ground in Ukraine’. Alexander Hug, the Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM explains in this interview how the SMM operates in Ukraine. While he says that the security of the SMM personnel is ‘the most important parameter in the decision-making process’, he adds that ‘a minimal risk remains.’ He also explains in the interview how the SMM was able to facilitate the access of experts to the crash site of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines jet and points out some of the limitations of a civilian monitoring mission. The interview was conducted on 2 September 2014 and published on the Security and Human Rights blog on 8 September 2014.

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