Ernst Reichel, Germany’s Ambassador to Ukraine, today in Kyiv handed over to the OSCE’s civilian Special Monitoring Mission the thermal imaging cameras that Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had pledged to provide during his most recent visit.
In this connection, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement in Berlin today (20 March):
“The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission is doing great work. Without it, the conflict could have escalated militarily on numerous occasions. We need the OSCE to be continuously present along the line of contact, and we need it to have good situational awareness.
It is therefore in our interest to do everything in our power to support the Special Monitoring Mission. Support is urgently needed, because the monitors face numerous challenges and obstacles on a daily basis. In the last few weeks alone, their patrols have repeatedly come under fire, and another surveillance drone was destroyed. Only if the sides to the conflict finally guarantee the safety of the OSCE monitors and give them access to the conflict area can they monitor observance of the ceasefire in the long term.
Moreover, even the best technology is useless if the sides to the conflict do not finally implement what they agreed a long time ago. Until guns fall silent and heavy weapons are withdrawn from the line of contact, we will not make any headway in the political process, and those affected by the conflict will continue to suffer.
Germany is today handing over three high-resolution thermal imaging cameras to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. These cameras can provide important around-the-clock situational awareness from the line of contact, and they can show how efforts to implement the agreed ceasefire and troop withdrawal are going.”