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The Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine: a useful but flawed OSCE tool

Dennis Sammut

Date: 23/04/2015
The OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Eastern Ukraine is tasked with monitoring the ongoing conflict between the Ukrainian army and separatist forces impartially, monitoring compliance with the Minsk II Agreement, and being the eyes and ears of the international community. An unarmed mission in a live war that has killed over 6.000 people, it has also had to manoeuvre through a complex political and diplomatic minefield, balancing between the need to secure the acquiescence of Russia for its existence and for its deployment on the ground, whilst ensuring that Russia does not compromise the Mission's credibility and neutrality. The success – or failure – of the SMM will not only impact the situation in Ukraine, but the whole future of the OSCE and its ability to operate in conflict regions. EU member states constitute half of the membership of the OSCE, and yet the EU
often punches below its weight in the councils of the organisation. It is time for the EU to act in a more coordinated fashion in the OSCE framework, and to offer leadership on the future of the SMM and beyond.

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