Ukraine is a fully participating State of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) since 30 January 1992.
The OSCE traces its origins back to the detente phase of the early 1970s when the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was created to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. Meeting over two years in Helsinki and Geneva, the CSCE reached an agreement on the Helsinki Final Act, which was signed on 1 August 1975. This document contained some key commitments on politico-military, economic and environmental and human rights issues that became central to the so-called «Helsinki process».
Today the OSCE - the world’s largest regional security organization, is a pan-European security body whose 57 participating States span the globe, encompassing three continents – North America, Europe and Asia.
The OSCE is a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its approach to security is unique in being both comprehensive and co-operative: comprehensive in that it deals with three dimensions of security – the politico-military, the economic and environmental and the human.
The Organization maintains a regular dialogue and co-operation with partner states and a large number of other international, regional and sub-regional organizations. The Mediterranean and Asian Partners of Co-operation comprise 11 states: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia; and Afghanistan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan.
Unanimously adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Meeting in November 2010 decision on Ukraine's Chairmanship in the OSCE in 2013 was the recognition of the role of our country in strengthening security and stability in the OSCE area.
Following the results of the Ukrainian Chairmanship, some important final Decisions and Declarations of the OSCE were adopted at 20th Ministerial Council in Kyiv on December 5-6, 2013 in all three dimensions of the Organization and within the Forum for Security and Cooperation.
Among the main priorities of Ukraine in the OSCE are:
1. Recognition by the international community of the facts of violation by the Russian Federation of the fundamental principles and commitments within the OSCE as a result of the military aggression in Eastern Ukraine, the illegal occupation and attempted annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, condemnation of kidnapping and illegal detention of the Ukrainian citizens in Russia and illegally occupied Crimea. The use of the OSCE tools and the events within the OSCE to stop the Russian aggression against Ukraine and restoration of the rights abused.
2. Ensuring support from the OSCE and participating States to Ukraine's activities in defending sovereignty and territorial integrity, implementation of the necessary reforms.
3. Strengthening cooperation with the OSCE institutions and participating States to enhance the capacities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Eastern Ukraine, to expand the mandate of the OSCE monitors to the all checkpoints of the Ukrainian-Russian border, to ensure the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights monitoring of the trial cases in Russia with the Ukrainian citizens - political prisoners.
4. Ensuring such priority for Ukraine issues to be kept in the OSCE agenda as: ceasing violations of the fundamental principles and commitments within the OSCE caused by the on-going Russia's aggression against Ukraine and attempted annexation of Crimea, restoring trust, necessity of peaceful settlement of conflicts, strengthening the OSCE tools in preventing conflicts, updating security and confidence building measures, ensuring the freedoms of speech and mass-media, fighting propaganda, strengthening protection of the human rights, prevention of misuse of the consensus rule.
5. Involvement of the expert potential of the OSCE through extension of the projects of practical assistance in implementing the reforms program in Ukraine.
6. Settlement of the so-called "frozen conflicts" in Transnistria (Moldova), Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia), and Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan).
7. Strengthening the effectiveness of the OSCE.
In this context, Ukraine supports in particular the balancing of the three OSCE dimensions, enhanced effectiveness of the field operations and OSCE peacekeeping activities, ensuring the principle of the geographical representation in the employment policy.
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine
On 21 March 2014, the Permanent Council of OSCE decided to deploy the Special monitoring mission of unarmed civilian observers to Ukraine. The Mission is being deployed following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s government and was agreed upon by all 57 OSCE’s participating States.
The SMM aim is to gather information and report on the security situation, establish and report the facts, especially on specific incidents on the ground, including those concerning alleged violations of fundamental OSCE principles and commitments as well as to monitor and support respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and facilitate the dialogue on the ground to reduce tensions and promote normalization of the situation.
On 14 April 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the deployment of the SMM was signed in Vienna to create appropriate conditions for the activities of the SMM in Ukraine. The Memorandum was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 13 June 2014.
The SMM plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of all relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements which include the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements of 12 February 2015. These Minsk documents establish the agreed commitments in accordance to which the SMM has to ensure effective monitoring and verification of the implementation of the Minsk arrangements, in particular those related to the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and border monitoring.
The mandate of the SMM covers the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
The monitors report their daily observations to the OSCE and its participating States. Such reports are available on the OSCE website.
OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk
On 2 of July 2014, it was agreed that Russia will provide access to the OSCE international observers to monitor Russian checkpoints «Donetsk» and «Gukovo» following the Joint Declaration of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, France, Germany and the Russian Federation (Berlin Declaration).
On 24 July 2014, the OSCE decided to deploy an “Observer Mission to the two Russian checkpoints of «Donetsk» and «Gukovo». There will be one Observer Team working 24/7 at each checkpoint at Gukovo and Donetsk.
Paragraph 4 of the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 envisages the OSCE's permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification with the creation of security zone in border areas of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Full implementation of paragraph 4 of the Minsk protocol is inextricably linked to accomplishing the objectives of establishing a sustainable cease-fire regime and the ultimate peaceful resolution of the situation in Donbas.
For more information on the activities of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Russian state border please visit Mission webpage.
OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine (PCU)
The former OSCE Mission in Ukraine was established in August 1994. Its main purpose was to underpin the stabilization processes in Crimea. In 1999 the Mission was closed after full implementation of its mandate. This was the first-ever case when an OSCE field operation was closed after the successful fulfillment of its tasks.
1 June 1999, with the adoption of the mandate of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, a new form of co-operation between Ukraine and OSCE was created.
The normative basis of the Co-ordinator's activities consists of its mandate, adopted by the Decision of the OSCE Permanent Council and being extended every six months, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the OSCE signed on 13 July 1999 and ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 10 January 2000.
The PCU is tasked with planning, implementation and monitoring of projects involving the OSCE, its institutions and the relevant Ukrainian authorities. These projects, which are approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, may cover all aspects of OSCE activities and can involve Ukrainian governmental and non-governmental organizations. At present the Co-ordinator is working on the implementation of projects in the following fields:
Democratization and good governance: assisting development of the civil society; enhancing election process in Ukraine; promoting national dialogue in Ukraine; providing support to the Government of Ukraine in improving information and communication policies
Rule of law and human rights: further strengthening the rule of law in Ukraine; strengthen the capacity of government agencies and NGOs in combating human trafficking; ensuring gender equality and combating domestic violence; development of administrative justice; improving the quality of legal education in Ukraine; improving the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in Ukraine; enhancement of human rights protection and rule of law in legislative and judicial practice; supporting the development of police reform in Ukraine; support for the national dialogue for reforms, justice and development.
Economic, environmental and politico-military projects: increasing the efficiency of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine; rehabilitation of areas contaminated by explosive remnants of the past wars; enhancing radiological safety and security in Ukraine; environmental inspection and reclamation of the former storage sites of liquid rocket fuel «mélange»; assistance in the process of social adaptation and reintegration of discharged military personnel; improving standards of digital administrative services in Ukraine; countering terrorism and transnational organized crime; preventing money laundering and terrorism financing; enhancing mechanisms for public awareness-raising on environmental issues.
More information on the activities of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine is available at the link.
Ukraine also cooperates with OSCE institutions, especially with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
Cooperation with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities was carried out in the context of drafting legislation of Ukraine to protect the rights of formerly deported people and language policy and minority issues in bilateral relations of Ukraine with other countries.
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which, among other things, engaged in election observation in OSCE participating States, monitored the electoral process in Ukraine since 1998.
Ukraine also pays special attention to the development of constructive dialogue with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Speech, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental areas towards the development of this component of regional security, as well as with OSCE Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
The Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the OSCE – established in April 1991. Plenary meetings are held once a year with the support of the International Secretariat of the PA, located in Copenhagen (Denmark).
In the context of responding to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted the following documents:
Baku Declaration called for Russia to cancel the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and also contains a resolution «Clear, gross and uncorrected violations of Helsinki principles by the Russian Federation» which refers the so-called referendum in the Crimea, held on 16 of March 2014, to the illegitimate and illegal act, whose findings have no legal force (as of July 2014);
Helsinki Declaration, which includes, among others, two resolutions in support of Ukraine «Continuation of clear, gross and uncorrected violations of OSCE commitments and international norms by the Russian Federation» and «Abducted and illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in the Russian Federation» (July 2015);
Tbilisi Resolution on Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol (2016);
Minsk Resolution on Restoration of the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine (2017);
Berlin Resolution on Ongoing Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol (Ukraine) (2018);
Luxembourg Resolution on the Militarization by the Russian Federation of the Temporarily Occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol, Ukraine, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov (2019) and
Resolution «On the destabilizing military build-up by the Russian Federation near Ukraine, in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov» (2021).
Information about the Permanent delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine at the OSCE PA is available at the link.