European mission in Ukraine to monitor security situation

European mission in Ukraine to monitor security situation

01Kiev, March 4 (IANS) A delegation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) arrived in Kiev Tuesday to monitor the security circumstances in Ukraine, with special focus on Crimea, an autonomous region that is the new epicentre of the ongoing crisis.

“In the soonest time, the OSCE mission will go to the Crimea to monitor the situation in the peninsula, near our military units,” Xinhua quoted Security and Defence Council Secretary Andriy Parubiy as telling reporters.

The situation near the Ukrainian-Russian border in Crimea is complex, but stable, Parubiy said, adding that there was no substantial intensification of frontier crossing.

The OSCE “advance team” was sent to Ukraine to monitor the security situation in the country’s eastern and southern regions and “provide neutral facts and a true assessment of facts on the ground”.

Tensions in Crimea, heavily populated by ethnic Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians, flared up last week following the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych.

Armed groups seized government and parliament buildings in Crimea and took control of the two airports. Russian flags were raised over the seized buildings.

On March 1, Russia’s upper house of parliament approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for using armed forces in Ukraine “in connection with the extraordinary situation and the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation”.

Russia has a Black Sea naval base in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea.

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