According to Berlin and Paris, pro-Russian separatists in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics obstruct the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine, under the pretext of protection against the spread of coronavirus, reports Deutsche Welle.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian said they were "very concerned" about the restrictions faced by OSCE SMM staff in Ukraine from March 21, 2020.
"Observers should be able to move safely and freely throughout Ukraine, and the coronavirus pandemic should not become a pretext to restrict the freedom of movement of SMM members and their ability to carry out their objectives," the diplomats said in a joint statement.
Earlier, the Ukrainian Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories said that the authorities of the so-called LPR,DPR and Crimea hide from local residents the real coronavirus mortality rate , which deprives the residents of the opportunity to protect themselves from the pandemic. Thus, as of March 30, the administrations of DPR have confirmed the presence of one infected person, and no cases are confirmed in the LPR.
The OSCE SMM mandate in Donbas was extended until March 31, 2021. The mission has been operating in Ukraine since March 2014. This is an unarmed civilian mission that monitors the situation in all regions of Ukraine. It regularly prepares reports on the situation in the country, as well as participates in negotiations between the parties to the conflict in the Donbas.