: Reuters: OSCE says open to sending armed monitors to Ukraine conflict zone

17:24 May. 9, 2016

Reuters: OSCE says open to sending armed monitors to Ukraine conflict zone

An OSCE official gives a thumbs up during an exchange of prisoners-of-war between representatives of the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed militants, in Shchastia, on the line of contact. (Getty Images)

OSCE's current mandate in Ukraine is as an unarmed civilian mission to monitor and help implement the ceasefire

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which is monitoring a fragile ceasefire in militant-controlled eastern Ukraine, is open to sending armed personnel there, but only if that is agreed by all sides, its chief said on Monday.

OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier's comments are a measure of the threat to unarmed staff observing a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists that is constantly violated, killing soldiers and civilians.

During a trip to Kyiv, Zannier said monitors had been threatened, shot at, had their access restricted, and harassed — mainly on the rebel side.

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