The United States welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Yasar Halit Cevik of Turkey as Chief Monitor of the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM). As the OSCE marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the SMM, we recognize the crucial visibility it provides into the Russia-instigated conflict in eastern Ukraine. The United States commends outgoing Chief Monitor Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan for his leadership in standing up the OSCE’s largest mission and his commitment to improving its safety and efficacy. We are grateful to the SMM monitors and staff for their valuable contributions to this mission and their dedicated service under difficult and, at times, dangerous conditions. Ambassador Cevik’s extensive public service as a diplomat make him well-suited for this position.
The United States urges all OSCE participating States to reiterate support for the SMM. We call on Russia and the forces it arms, trains, leads, and fights alongside in Ukraine to allow the SMM full and unhindered access to the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.