photo courtesy OSCE/Mickey KrollOSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (photo courtesy of OSCE/Micky Kroll)COPENHAGEN, 8 April 2015 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) today called for an immediate end to the intimidation of OSCE monitors in Ukraine and reiterated the need for the monitors to have unfettered access throughout the country.

"The illegal separatists have threatened OSCE staff on the ground in Ukraine and I especially deplore yesterday's extreme example, in which a fighter from the so-called Donetsk People's Republic opened fire toward an OSCE monitoring patrol. This situation cannot continue as is, and I am even more convinced of the need to seriously consider an international peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine in support of the OSCE's civilian mission," Kanerva said.

The OSCE PA President also noted the continuing restrictions placed by illegal separatists and Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel on the movement of OSCE monitors and the effect of those restrictions on their reporting capacity.

"OSCE participating States unanimously agreed to dispatch an observer mission to Ukraine, but monitors must be allowed full access, with safety guarantees, to all areas if we are to get a full picture of what's happening on the ground. I also call on OSCE states to help ensure that the Special Monitoring Mission is as well-equipped as possible to perform its critical job," Kanerva added.

The Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine was deployed in March 2014. In March of this year the Mission's mandate was extended until 31 March 2016. The number of monitors may be increased up to 1,000 as necessary, according to the situation on the ground, from its current level of approximately 400.