On March 30th, whilst in Russian occupied Donetsk, Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, announced changes to its monitoring of the Ukrainian border with Russia.
Since Sept 2014, Russia’s had total control over 409 km of Ukraine’s eastern border. Currently, the OSCE only permanently monitors two Ukrainian border crossings, both of which Russia has full control over. That leaves a further 10 road and two rail crossings unobserved, along with a number of old border crossings which the Russian army has reopened.
With ongoing restrictions and harassment by Russian led forces, coupled with travel time restrictions, it’s extremely difficult for the OSCE to visit the border area.
To get around these problems, the plan is to create two permanent OSCE bases, at the towns of Amvrosiivka & Novoazovsk. From them, OSCE monitors would have far easier access to the border and one hopes will be better able to give more detailed reports on activity along it. Importantly, both locations are in the Donetsk Oblast (province), where most of the fighting takes place and where the majority of Russian forces cross the border.