Who’d have thought Russia would use the Coronavirus as a means to hinder the work of the OSCE? Well, we all did. With around 90% of all OSCE “denials of access” (patrols refused entry to an area) attributed to Russia-led forces, it’s unsurprising that Russia’s now taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Due to COVID-19, all Ukrainian and Russia-led front line civilian crossings are now temporarily closed. Since their closure, the OSCE has reported numerous occasions when their vehicle and foot patrols have been refused entry into “non-government-controlled” territory. As seen below in four OSCE “Spot Reports,” we get a variety of conflicting reasons for these denials of access – “quarantine, checkpoint closed & orders from superiors.”
March 26th: 4 OSCE patrols denied access into occupied territory. Link
March 25th: 3 OSCE patrols denied access. Link
March 23rd: 3 OSCE patrols denied access. Link
March 21st & 22nd: 3 OSCE patrols denied access. Link
Now, you might think this is a good thing. That the occupied regions are just being careful and merely attempting to stop the spread of the virus infection entering their territory? But nothing could be further from the truth. March 23rd, seen below, Russia’s sham Donetsk Republic (DPR) reported people from both the DPR & LPR (Luhansk Republic) could enter Russia, and presumably come back.
And lastly, seen below, OSCE monitoring of two Russian border crossings at the towns of Donetsk & Gukovo, show thousands of people, soldiers, trains and hundreds of vehicles are still allowed to enter the occupied regions. With Donetsk & Gukovo accounting for just two of the many Russian controlled border crossings into occupied Ukraine, we can also add thousands of additional people and vehicles which Russia’s allowed to enter elsewhere. Naturally, these thousands will include large numbers of Russian soldiers and mercenaries who criss-cross the border every week.
So it’s clear, the stopping of OSCE patrols has nothing to do with countering the spread of the Coronavirus and everything to do with Russia STOPPING the OSCE from doing their work.
Trends and Figures from Feb 18th to March 24th. The March 24th stats being most relevant. Link to report.