The European Union has increased its financial support to Ukraine by providing additional €18 million for the assistance package administered by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The money, which will bring the total amount of the Commission’s support to Ukraine to €25 million, will finance the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM). The new tranche of funding ought to increase the SMM’s capacity to monitor and verify the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The funding should also generally support the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Chief of the EU diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, commented that “the EU is deploying all the tools at its disposal to support the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, which offer the best chance we have for moving towards a peaceful, sustainable solution to the conflict in Ukraine based on respect for its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.” She further stressed that this was the way the EU was facilitating engagement in various formats.
The block is the biggest contributor to the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission covering about two thirds of the SMM budget. Moreover, the majority of SMM monitors are EU nationals. Therefore, the €18 million package will cover funding of those SMM monitors (€6 million) and satellite imagery and analysis (to be provided by the EU Satellite Centre) as well as other complementary monitoring tools (€12 million). The work of SMM monitors has also been supported by equipment such as medical supplies or training for monitors. Most of the equipment, however, consists of armoured cars, which are instrumental in effective monitoring in the volatile conflict zones. Brussels is now also involved in negotiations to supply additional 43 armoured vehicles.