Maxim Chalenko: New OSCE head Kurz should visit Donbass Republics, too

Maxim Chalenko, politician: For a more objective understanding of what is happening in Donbass, the new head of the OSCE should visit both sides of the boundary line

January 4: The fact that [Austrian Foreign Minister] Sebastian Kurtz already visited Donbass in the first month of his appointment as head of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says a lot — at least that the conflict in the Donbass region is one of the priorities of the OSCE’s current activity. However, for a full and objective understanding of the situation, a visit only to Mariupol and the “Pishchevik” checkpoint controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and speaking with [Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo] Klimkin and Azov fighters, is not enough. Kurz must visit and listen to the other side of the conflict – the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics.

Maxim Chalenko
By and large, the appointment of the OSCE Chairman is a quite formal procedure and does not bear any political implications; the position is that of a public face, nothing more. But at the same time, it is a good platform for career development of certain European politicians interested in international relations. It’s a position where they can show their extraordinary quality and the ability to take concerted action and offer promising solutions. How effective the work of the OSCE is this year will depend on the political savvy of Kurz, and whether he understands the special attention paid by policymakers around the world to the activities of the OSCE SMM (Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine).

A visit to the Ukrainian-occupied part of Donbass is only the first step in studying the conflict; for a full and objective understanding of the situation, it is necessary to look at it from the other side — from the Donbass republics.

I think that such an invitation can be issued to Sebastian Kurtz by LPR and DPR authorities in the near future, and his response will depend on whether he is ready to actually engage with the affairs entrusted to him, or is just planning to serve meekly in the post allotted to him for this year.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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