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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OSCE Military Monitoring Mission Sent to Crimea

TheOrganization ofSecurity andCooperation inEurope, or OSCE, said Wednesday that 18 ofits member states were sending atotal of35 unarmed military personnel toUkraine's Crimea region onthe request ofthe interim government inKiev with theaim ofmonitoring thepresent situation.

Unidentified military forces started spreading rapidly throughout theregion over theweekend, surrounding Ukrainian army bases andtaking control ofvarious military installations andtransport facilities.

Russia's Federation Council onSaturday voted togive President Vladimir Putin permission tosend troops toUkraine, However Putin anda number ofhis top acolytes have said that theoccupying forces inCrimea, which has alarge ethnic-Russian populace andcontains Russia's Black Sea Fleet, are not Russian, but local self-defense units.

Despite some high profile defections tothe Russian side, Ukraine's military has stepped up its resistance tothe occupation without firing ashot, refusing toleave various bases inthe face ofintimidation bythe pro-Russian forces andreaching out to the West forsupport.

Ihor Prokopchuk— Ukraine's ambassador tothe Vienna-based OSCE, aforum forsecurity issues that was set up during the Cold War said Monday ata meeting ofthe organization's permanent council that Kiev will use "all possible means" to defend itself froma Russian military threat, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Britain, theUnited States andGermany are among thenations that have supplied personnel forthe military observation mission that has beenset up with theintention ofdiffusing tensions.

An earlier version of this report said that an OSCE military monitoring mission had been barred from entering Crimea. However, it was in fact a different OSCE mission that was blocked on Wednesday. The military mission was blocked Thursday.