OSCE Vehicles Were Seen in the Donbass Region

OrganizationsInternational Organizations ♦ Published: January 24, 2023; 21:29 ♦ (Vindobona)

Several Vehicles of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) were reported to be seen in Luhansk near the Russian border. The OSCE came with an explanation afterward.

OSCE Vehicles Appeared in the Donbas Region in Ukraine. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

In social media reports on 15 January 2023, videos and images showed OSCE-branded vehicles being transported on trucks through the Russian Federation's Izvaryne border checkpoint into Ukraine's Luhansk region. There were temporary storage facilities for these vehicles in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Following 24 February 2022, OSCE personnel drove the vehicles from non-government-controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk to Rostov-on-Don, which at the time was the safest and fastest evacuation route.

While the staff was able to travel forward, the vehicles were held back for customs processing. Since then, the OSCE has persistently worked with the Russian Federation to retrieve the vehicles. Nonetheless, the OSCE had not yet been authorized to retrieve the Russian Federation's property despite numerous proposals and efforts. As soon as the OSCE received information that the Russian delegation had moved the vehicles from Rostov-on-Don, it immediately requested an explanation.

On Thursday 19 January, the Secretary-General briefed the Permanent Council on the current state of affairs. The OSCE has not had a presence in areas outside the Ukrainian government’s control since March 2022. As such, the OSCE cannot independently verify the physical location of the vehicles.