Military men refused the OSCE Mission entry into Crimea

OSCE mission refused entry to Crimea

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 01:04:06 GMT

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says its observers have been prevented from entering Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Poland’s Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said on Thursday that the observers were stopped by unidentified men in military fatigues.

“The mission has been detained, they cannot go further. They landed in Odessa and they were travelling by car from Odessa towards the Crimean Peninsula, but they were detained by unidentified men in fatigues,” the minister said.

The OSCE mission was requested by the new pro-Western authorities in Kiev to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

Russia’s envoy to the organization, Andrei Kelin, warned on Monday that earlier OSCE missions in the breakaway Serbian and Georgian territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia had “aggravated the situations.”

On Thursday, lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared they wanted to join Russia and would put the decision to voters in 10 days.

The new Ukrainian government, however, has declared the planned vote illegal, and opened a criminal investigation against Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Askyonov.

First Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea Rustam Temirgaliev reacted by saying that the region is already part of Russia, and the vote is only needed to stamp this.

Political crisis erupted in Ukraine in November 2013 after the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, refrained from signing the Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych and named Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s newly-elected speaker, as interim president.

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