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 DurbinPassing the DACA legislation will provide relief to children living in fear Dems don’t want to help GOP improve repeal bill Mnuchin: Trump administration examining online sales tax issue 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 McCainRyan signals readiness to move to tax reform GOP lawmaker: Time for us to listen to Democrats on healthcare Trump urges Senate GOP to end filibuster for future votes MORE (R-Ariz.), Chris MurphyChris MurphySenate heading for late night ahead of ObamaCare repeal showdown Senate releases 'skinny' ObamaCare repeal bill Dems don’t want to help GOP improve repeal bill MORE (D-Conn.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonObamaCare repeal: Now what? McCain casts crucial vote to kill 'skinny' ObamaCare repeal Senate heading for late night ahead of ObamaCare repeal showdown MORE (R-Wis.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senators 'seek assurances' Icahn not swaying regulators on AIG: report Overnight Regulation: Federal prisons want to increase use of restraints | EPA moves ahead on water rule repeal Overnight Energy: EPA moves forward with water rule repeal MORE (D-R.I.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoLive coverage: Senate begins debate on ObamaCare repeal What Trump can do to cripple ObamaCare Top Republican: Senate will vote to proceed to House healthcare bill MORE (R-Wyo), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeSenate ObamaCare repeal bill falls in shocking vote Passing the DACA legislation will provide relief to children living in fear OPINION | Healthcare vote a political death wish for GOP in 2018 MORE (R-Ariz.) and John HoevenJohn HoevenMcCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty McCain diagnosis looms over GOP healthcare talks This week: ObamaCare repeal faces latest setback in Senate MORE (R-N.D.).
 
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“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.