PRESS RELEASE March 9, 2014
The United States notes with deep concern reports that warning shots were fired while the OSCE multilateral military observer team was at a checkpoint near Armyansk.
Threats to an unarmed international mission whose only goal is to observe and report on conditions on the ground are obviously unacceptable.
U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel Baer said today, "Russia says it doesn't know who is blocking the free access to the peninsula -- as a signatory to the Vienna Document, Russia should publicly call for free access for these monitors."
"Russia has voiced concerns about security in Crimea," Baer said. "For this reason, Russia should strongly support getting these monitors on the ground."
This incident underscores our concern about the safety of the local population and the need for Russia to pull its troops back to their bases and cease provocative actions in Crimea. It underlines as well why we believe impartial reporting regarding security and safety conditions in the region is essential, and we deplore the violent assaults on journalists in the past 24 hours.
The United States calls on Russia -– as a participating state of the OSCE and signatory of the Vienna Document -– and all concerned parties to support maximum access of the team to all of Ukraine, including the Crimean peninsula, in order to provide transparency and unbiased reporting on the human, economic, and security situation in the region.
For questions please contact:
Public Affairs Counselor
U.S. Mission to the OSCE