Kiev seeks expulsion of Russian OSCE officials from Ukraine

Kiev, June 2 (IANS) Gen. Alexander Rozmaznin, deputy chief of the Ukrainian armed forces main command centre, has proposed the expulsion of Russian officials working under the special mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in eastern Ukraine, Efe news agency reported on Tuesday.

After months of working with the OSCE, the organisation would operate on completely objective terms if officials from the Russian Federation were excluded, Rozmaznin stated on television Monday night.

He added that Kiev and other OSCE member countries should do everything possible to expel the Russian representatives from the mission.

Russian Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Grigory Karasin, chief of diplomatic relations with Ukraine, described the statements as political provocation.

Karasin explained that OSCE observers cannot be discriminated against based on nationality and that such a method would lead to bigger problems.

Meanwhile, Kiev and pro-Russian separatists, engulfed in more than a year of conflict, accused each other on Tuesday of violating the ceasefire, which has technically been in effect since mid-February.

According to the latest UN report released on Monday, at least 6,417 people have died and 15,962 have been wounded since the beginning of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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