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 DurbinRepublicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown No. 2 Senate Democrat opposes Trump's Supreme Court pick The Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee 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 McCainMcCain and Graham: We won't back short-term government funding bill GOP lawmaker calls for select committee on Russia 'Morning Joe' co-host: We got into Trump's head MORE (R-Ariz.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDems wait for GOP olive branch after ObamaCare debacle GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership MORE (D-Conn.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonLawmakers share photos of their dogs in honor of National Puppy Day GOP targets Baldwin over Wisconsin VA scandal The Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan MORE (R-Wis.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGovernment Accountability Office will review Mar-a-Lago security procedures Green groups vow war over Trump’s climate rollback Gorsuch is restoring lost faith in government MORE (D-R.I.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoTrump climate move risks unraveling Paris commitments Overnight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back How 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation MORE (R-Wyo), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeObama FCC's 'privacy' rules were a sham Wounded Ryan faces new battle Overnight Tech: High court hears case on where patent suits are filed | House to vote on blocking internet privacy rules | Facebook's new tools for voters MORE (R-Ariz.) and John HoevenJohn HoevenCombating opioid epidemic, repealing ObamaCare will hurt the cause Senate panel considers how to fund Trump’s T infrastructure package A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-N.D.).
“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.