Donetsk, Dec 9 - DAN. The motorcade carrying Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Mark Etherington tried to enter the Kiev-controlled area through the Yelenovka checkpoint on Thursday morning without coordinating the passage with Donetsk as required by the established procedure, the Donetsk People’s Republic Office at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) said.

“Today, an unsound precedent was created at the Yelenovka crossing point which would not have happened if the Mission had respected the accords. At around 9:00 Moscow time, a motorcade carrying OSCE SMM Deputy Chief Monitor Mr Mark Etherington arrived at the Yelenovka facility to cross the DPR border and enter Ukraine. The duty borderguards told the Mission personnel that they had not received the appropriate notification about the crossing and in this connection they were not technically ready to ​ carry out the exiting procedure,” the JCCC said.

Approximately half an hour later, the head of the mission received a phone call from the OSCE which complained about the delay in the mission’s movement. A review of the circumstances found that the SMM liaison team had not notified the DPR Office in time about the planned crossing, contrary to the established procedure. Because of this fact, Donetsk could not assist in the crossing, as the crossing point had not been prepared for the procedure. The crossing points on the contact line operate according to special schedule due to the threat of the coronavirus infection. At 11:00, the OSCE sent a notification saying that on December 9, from 8:30 to 12:30 an OSCE motorcade would cross the contact line at the Yelenovka crossing point. The letter was marked as “duplicate.”

“That is, the notification had been allegedly forwarded before, but it did not reach the DPR Office for the reasons unknown to us. The DPR Office made haste to provide assistance in ensuring the operation of the Yelenovka crossing point and at 11:30, the OSCE motorcade entered the Ukrainian territory,” the JCCC said.

The DPR Office expressed concern over the monitors’ actions. “Was a dereliction of duty by the OSCE SMM liaison team or a technical fault in timely delivery of information?” it said.

The Yelenovka crossing point is located south of Donetsk. It is currently the only link between the DPR and Kiev-held areas.​ It operates as a humanitarian corridor on Mondays and Fridays. The operation of other crossing points was suspended due to the threat of spread of the coronavirus infection.*jk