Senators demand OSCE monitors in Ukraine

Russia on Wednesday blocked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from sending peace monitors into Ukraine but a bipartisan group of senators said the organization should keep pushing to get involved. 
 
Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDem senators accuse Trump of purposefully holding back information The GOP must fight against the Durbin amendment's price controls It’s time to rethink prisoner re-entry MORE (D-Ill.) sent the letter to OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, along with seven other lawmakers who traveled to Ukraine last week: Sens. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants McCain: Dems killed Lieberman’s FBI shot When education is an ignored national security matter MORE (R-Ariz.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDem rep jokes ‘body slammed’ reporter lucky GOP healthcare plan isn’t in place yet GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Chris Murphy on Infowars' White House press credentials: 'I want to throw up' MORE (D-Conn.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonDivisions emerge in the Senate on pre-existing conditions Health groups push FDA not to repeal e-cig rules Senate GOP short on ideas for stabilizing ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Wis.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDOJ pitches agreements to solve international data warrant woes Senators push for enhanced powers to battle botnets GOP rejects Dem effort to demand Trump’s tax returns MORE (D-R.I.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoWhite House looks to speed infrastructure pace Pressure is on for administration to release infrastructure plan Trump to nominate three to nuclear commission MORE (R-Wyo), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeAARP targets five GOP senators on healthcare GOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges Republicans consumed by Trump-Comey saga MORE (R-Ariz.) and John HoevenJohn HoevenOvernight Healthcare: Divisions emerge in Senate over preexisting conditions GOP senators meet with insurer for input on ObamaCare repeal Senate GOP short on ideas for stabilizing ObamaCare markets MORE (R-N.D.).
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“We write to urge the immediate deployment of OSCE civilian monitors to eastern, southern and other potentially unstable regions of Ukraine to report on security and human rights conditions on the ground and to help defuse tensions,” the letter states.
 
“Russia’s further use of provocateurs and intelligence agents to brazenly stir trouble in eastern Ukraine must be exposed and monitored so as to not provide Russia a manipulated pretext for additional military action in Ukraine,” the senators said.
 
An Senate aide said the lawmakers are not currently urging OSCE to abandon the consensus model that has allowed Russia to block monitors. But the senators note that Russian officials have expressed openness to the idea of a monitoring mission even if specifics are holding up an OSCE deal. 
 
The Senate letter comes as Russia is moving Wednesday to consolidate its military control of the Ukrainian region of Crimea which Russian President Vladimir Putin formally annexed on Tuesday.