The UK Government is deploying monitors and armoured vehicles in support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) special mission in Ukraine.
Announced in direct response to a request from the President of the Swiss Confederation and OSCE chairman-in-office Didier Burkhalter, the package includes ten armoured vehicles, with associated communications equipment, worth £1.2m, and an additional four observers.
The equipment includes ten AV Spares kits, ten Motorola DM4601 very-high frequency (VHF) radio-plus ancillaries and ten Codan Envoy X1 HR radios.
Deployed as part of the OSCE’s Ukraine Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), the vehicles will enable OSCE monitors to work safely in the more volatile eastern parts of the country.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: "We are one of the leading contributors to the OSCE’s mission and our further contribution of ten armoured vehicles and associated communications equipment will enable the OSCE to monitor the ceasefire and the Ukraine-Russia border.
"We are also significantly boosting the number of UK staff sent to the mission, with a further eight UK monitors arriving in Ukraine last week and three more to follow at the end of the month.
"The UK stands squarely behind the Ukrainian people and government as they defend their nation’s independence and work to make the political, economic and governance reforms that are vital to rebuilding the country."
To date, Britain has donated £1.9m to the Ukraine SMM’s budget and sent 20 observers, who are serving in field and head offices.
As the donation remains subject to Parliamentary approval, the government has laid a departmental minute and accompanying written ministerial statement before Parliament.
Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the SMM has played a crucial role, monitoring events on the ground and supporting negotiations between the Kiev Government and pro-Russian separatists in eastern parts of the country.
The mission is being expanded in response to the Minsk Protocol, which brought additional responsibilities for the OSCE, including monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and monitoring the Ukraine-Russia border.
Image: The UK has unveiled plans to provide ten armoured vehicles and more monitors for the OSCE’s special mission in Ukraine. Photo: © Crown copyright.