Swiss President, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter has told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that OSCE representatives intended to visit on Saturday Donetsk “people’s governor” Pavel Gubarev, who has been under arrest since March 6 on trumped-up charges.
The visit will be paid at 18:00 Kiev time on Saturday, April 26, by OSCE officials currently in Ukraine, ICRC spokesperson for Europe and Central Asia David-Peirre Marquet told ITAR-TASS news agency.
He said the choice in favour of the OSCE had been made in keeping with the Geneva accord reached on April 17 by top diplomats from Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine.
On Thursday, April 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had sent letters to the OSCE and the ICRC requesting immediate access to Gubarev.
“We will push for immediate access to Gubarev to make sure that he has no problems with health,” Lavrov said. “We will of course continue efforts aimed at ensuring his immediate release as a political prisoner.”
Lavrov said in an interview with the RT television channel on April 23 that despite “an agreement on amnesty for political prisoners, Donetsk Region people’s governor Pavel Gubarev is in prison. Gubarev never seized buildings, he was arrested only for calls for a referendum on federalisation. Gubarev is a political prisoner.”
A crowd of demonstrators in a square in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1 proclaimed Pavel Gubarev people’s governor. The Ukrainian Security Service SBU promptly opened a criminal case against him on the suspicion of calls for changing Ukraine’s borders.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has dispatched a negotiating team to try to secure the release of military observers sent by the organization, a German government source said on Saturday. “A negotiating team from the OSCE is on the way to the region,” said the source, declining to give further details, including exactly where they were heading, Reuters reports.
Moscow is taking steps to free the international military observers working for OSCE which were allegedly detained by the pro-federalization protesters near the Ukraine’s eastern city of Slavyansk, said a statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry published Saturday. The Russian side to the extent possible is taking measures to resolve the situation, which has arisen after international military observers were detained near Slavyansk, the statement said.
The OSCE military observers were invited to Ukraine in March under the 2011 Vienna Document on military transparency, said Kiev interim authorities. According to the document, the receiving side is responsible for the safety of the observers.
“Thus, it would be logical to expect from the current Kiev authorities to preliminary coordinate all issues involving location, activities and safety of the observers in the regions where these authorities do not control the situation and where they launched a military operation against the people of their own country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
On Friday, the press service of the OSCE reported that the military verification team, coordinated by Germany, included four German military experts and one representative from these countries: Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden.
The detained team is “not OSCE monitors” but international military mission sent by OSCE member states in accordance with the 2011 Vienna Document on military transparency, the organization explained on Twitter.