Sunday, May 26
Укр Eng
Log In Register
PoliticsNeighboursEconomicsSocietyCultureHistoryOpinionsArchivePhoto Gallery
6 April, 2019

OSCE cut critical remark about Russia from Ukraine vote statement

The European Parliament has accused the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) of whitewashing a press release about the Ukrainian presidential election by watering down critical wording about Russia

The letter, dated April 4 and signed by two senior members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on behalf of the European Parliament, describes "an unprecedented and unacceptable incident" involving the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR), which monitors elections.

According to the letter, ODIHR's press service urged the head of the European Parliament's delegation to the March 31 election, Polish MEP Dariusz Rosati, to tone down the delegation's contribution to a joint press release by removing wording about "the ongoing Russia-waged war against Ukraine" and replacing it with a reference to "the ongoing conflict in the east."

"Rosati made it clear that he understood the constraints faced by the OSCE...but stressed he would not depart from his original text," the letter said. "He therefore agreed that the European Parliament would not be quoted at all in the joint press release prepared by the ODIHR."

Despite reassurances from ODIHR, it said, copies of a joint press statement with the "unacceptable" watered-down wording were made available throughout the joint press conference by the monitors in Kyiv on April 1 and were "distributed to the numerous journalists present."

The letter was addressed to Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, the director of ODIHR in Warsaw. It was signed by British Labour Party MEP Linda McAvan, who chairs the European Parliament's Development Committee, and German center-right MEP David McAllister, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The "issue at stake is extremely serious. It infringes on the right of the European Parliament, as an independent and sovereign international organization, to express its own views on a specific topic," the letter said. It asked ODIHR to provide an explanation ahead of the April 21 runoff vote between incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy. 

Reached by telephone on April 5, ODIHR spokesman Thomas Rymer told RFE/RL the organization would respond directly to the European Parliament, saying that "the proper way is to respond to their concerns directly to them."

"As I understand we've received the letter, and in any case with any partner organization of course we would send a reply and we would...work with them," Rymer said. He did not comment on the substance of the accusation. 

Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014, after sending in troops and staging a referendum dismissed as illegitimate by at least 100 UN members states. 

Moscow also encouraged separatist sentiment across much of Ukraine around that time and backs separatists who hold parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, where the UN says the five-year-old war between the militants and Ukrainian government forces has killed some 13,000 people.

Both Russia and Ukraine are members of the 57-nation OSCE.

 

Radio Freedom


Related publications:

  • Reactions to Zelenskiy’s victory in Russia
    today, Denys Kazanskyi
  • An international tribunal has ordered Russia to "immediately" release 24 Ukrainian sailors and three naval ships it seized off Crimea in November
    yesterday,
  • The European Union is interested in high-level transport cooperation with Ukraine and further development and reformation of the transport sector in accordance with EU norms and standards
    day before yesterday,
  • There are limits to the possible in domestic politics and Volodymyr Zelenskiy should not stretch them
    day before yesterday, Maksym Vikhrov
  • Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has announced his administration - and several positions have gone to his former TV colleagues
    23 May,
  • Why the Zelenskiy's team needs to be careful not to torpedo the processes of economic and political emancipation from Russia
    22 May, Oleksandr Kramar
Copyright © Ukrainian Week LLC. All rights reserved.
Reprint or other commercial use of the site materials is allowed only with the editorial board permission.
Legal disclaimer Accessibility Privacy policy Terms of use Contact us