The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has announced that the UK will send ten armoured vehicles with associated communications equipment worth £1.2m to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ukraine Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).
The UK is also sending more monitors to support the mission.
The OSCE’s SMM has played a crucial role since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, monitoring events on the ground and supporting talks between the Ukrainian government and the Russian-backed separatists in the east.
The mission is being expanded in response to the Minsk Protocol, the peace plan and ceasefire agreed between Ukraine and Russia on 5 September 2014, which created significant additional responsibilities for the OSCE, including monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and monitoring the Ukraine-Russia border.
The armoured vehicles are crucial to allow OSCE monitors to work safely in the more volatile eastern parts of Ukraine.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:
The UK stands squarely behind the Ukrainian people and government as they defend their nation’s independence and work to make the political, economic and governance reforms that are vital to rebuilding the country. The OSCE will play a vital role in implementing the Minsk Protocol between Russia and Ukraine. We are one of the leading contributors to the OSCE’s mission, and our further contribution of ten armoured vehicles and associated communications equipment will enable the OSCE to monitor the ceasefire and the Ukraine-Russia border.
We are also significantly boosting the number of UK staff sent to the mission, with a further 8 UK monitors arriving in Ukraine last week and 3 more to follow at the end of the month. I am encouraged by the significant donations we have seen from some partners, but hope to see all OSCE members contributing to this mission.
The UK’s latest contribution is in direct response to a request from Swiss Federal President and OSCE Chairman-in-office Didier Burkhalter, who has written to OSCE foreign ministers requesting people, money and equipment for the mission.
The gifting of armoured vehicles remains subject to Parliamentary approval. A Departmental Minute and accompanying Written Ministerial Statement has been laid before Parliament today (Tuesday 18 November).
As well the 10 Armoured Vehicles (8 x LC200, 2 x LC105), the UK is donating 10 AV Spares kits, 10 Motorola DM4601 VHF Radio plus ancillaries and10 Codan Envoy X1 HR Radios.
The UK has previously donated £1.9m to the Ukraine SMM’s budget. There are currently 20 UK staff in the mission, both in the field and head office, with a further 4 due to deploy in the coming weeks.
Funding for the increased support comes from the Government’s Conflict Pool, which is coordinated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development.
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