As part of its support for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the European Union is stepping up its support for the work of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with a further EUR 18 million assistance package for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM). This will bring the total amount of European Commission support to the SMM to EUR 25 million. The funding should increase the SMM's capacity to monitor and verify the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, as foreseen in the Minsk agreements.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said: "The EU is deploying all the tools at its disposal to support the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, which offer the best chance we have for moving towards a peaceful, sustainable solution to the conflict in Ukraine based on respect for its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is why we are facilitating engagement in various formats – and it is why we are the biggest contributor to the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission, which plays a key role in this implementation. Today we are stepping-up this support with an additional € 18 million for the crucial work of the Mission."
The EUR 18 million package will be used to fund SMM monitors (EUR 6 million) and satellite imagery and analysis (to be provided by the EU Satellite Centre) as well as other complementary monitoring tools (EUR 12 million). The measures are funded under the EU’s ‘Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace’ and come on top of previous contributions of EUR 7 million under this instrument.
Taken together, the EU and its Member States contribute around two thirds of the SMM budget, and the majority of SMM monitors are EU nationals. In addition to its financial assistance, the EU has supported the SMM since the beginning of its deployment through the donation of equipment, including 24 armoured vehicles. These armoured cars are crucial for the (civilian) monitors to move safely in the volatile conflict zone and effectively monitor the ceasefire and weapons withdrawal. The EU is currently in talks with the SMM to supply it with up 43 additional armoured vehicles. The EU has also provided the SMM with 40 unarmoured vehicles, medical equipment, training for monitors and support for the SMM's planning capacity.
For more information
EU relations with the OSCE: http://eeas.europa.eu/organisations/osce/index_en.htm
EU relations with Ukraine: http://eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/index_en.htm