Nine extra police officers to join Ukraine mission

The Netherlands has sent nine extra police officers to Ukraine to monitor the situation there. They will join the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co operation in Europe (OSCE), of which the Netherlands has been a part since May 2014.

The decision to send the Dutch monitors was taken by foreign minister Bert Koenders and justice minister Ard van der Steur. They say extra OSCE monitoring is necessary to ensure the provisions of the Minsk agreements, including a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons, are implemented. ‘We can see that the security situation is still fragile,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘So the OSCE’s work is very relevant. The Netherlands wants to support the mission, to promote further de-escalation.’

‘We will continue to urge parties at all levels to ensure the Minsk agreements are implemented, so as to achieve a political solution to the conflict,’ he added. ‘The OSCE’s role is crucial. It’s the only organisation in Ukraine that reports daily on the developments there, on the basis of a mandate accepted by all parties.’

The mission team works in difficult conditions. Mr Koenders emphasised how important it is that the monitors can do their job properly. It is essential that the mission receive the information it needs and has full and safe access.

The Dutch police are contributing to EU and UN missions in seven countries, enhancing international security. The experience gained in these missions has equipped them with the right expertise and capabilities to contribute to the expansion of OSCE monitors in Ukraine. ‘It’s crucial that member states provide monitors if the OSCE is to succeed in its difficult task,’ said Mr Van der Steur.

Besides sending various numbers of monitors to Ukraine over the past couple of years, the Netherlands is also making a sizeable financial contribution of more than €6.8 million to the Special Monitoring Mission. That makes the Netherlands one of the largest financial donors of the mission. OSCE monitors previously provided valuable assistance to the Netherlands in the MH17 repatriation mission.