Kuleba says Ukraine will lead the FSC in the turbulent times of Russian aggression / Photo from UNIAN

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has announced the four-month Chairmanship of Ukraine at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) and outlined its priorities.

"Ukraine will lead the FSC in the turbulent times of the ongoing Russian aggression against my country and global coronavirus pandemic. This is a time of grave challenges," he said in opening remarks at the online session of Ukrainian FSC Chairmanship on April 29, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

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Nevertheless, Ukraine will continue looking for opportunities and constructive responses, he said.

The OSCE remains an essential platform of cooperation and dialogue. "Especially now, when our societies face unprecedented hybrid threats, restrictions, economic crisis and profound changes to everyday life," he said.

According to him, the Forum, with its focus on the politico-military dimension of security, is a key pillar of the OSCE and a relevant platform for rebuilding trust and stability in the OSCE region.

The minister noted the contribution made by all civilian observers of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine who work in Donbas. "Ukraine is convinced that the politico-military aspects of this conflict should remain in a spotlight of the Forum," he said.

Kuleba outlined the priorities of the Ukrainian FSC Chairmanship.

"We've tried to draft a well-balanced and forward-looking agenda. I should start with the dire security situation in the Black Sea and the Azov Sea region, which is marked by ongoing militarization and impediment of the freedom of international navigation. We need to start a thorough discussion on this matter in the FSC," he said.

"Next comes a very topical issue of the global coronavirus pandemic, its impact on the Armed Forces and the role of the latter in assisting governments in fighting this threat," he continued.

According to him, Ukraine plans to pay close attention to the topic of hybrid threats and their possible interconnection with modern warfare. "These threats affect the majority of participating States," he said.

The foreign minister also emphasized the need to regulate the activities of private military companies and monitor snap military drills.

"Our priorities also include an emphasis on the issue of small arms and light weapons, and stockpiles of conventional ammunition," Kuleba said.

"Additionally, we would like to bring to the attention of participating States the topic of mine action and the OSCE's role in assisting participating States in this field," he added. "This topic is particularly relevant due to the dire humanitarian situation in and around certain areas of the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. It also maintains a particular importance for participating States facing negative humanitarian and socio-economic impacts of landmines and explosive remnants of war."

*** The Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), the predecessor of the OSCE, was established in the 1970s to deal with risks deriving from inter-State rivalries and to reduce the risk of military confrontations during the Cold War.

The participating States agreed to base their security relations on co-operation and not to enhance their security at the expense of other States.

In 1992, the FSC was created as a decision-making body to consult on military security and stability in the OSCE area. Its mandate was expanded in 1994 and in the early 2000s, the FSC began designing and implementing projects on the ground.

The FSC is a decision-making body that brings together representatives of the 57 OSCE participating States every week. Its work is supported and operationalized by the OSCE Secretariat's FSC Support Section and OSCE missions in the field.

The Forum is chaired on a rotating basis, with each State holding the Chairmanship for four months. The FSC Chairmanship is separate from, but works closely with the OSCE-wide Chairmanship. Decisions taken by the FSC are politically binding and taken by consensus to ensure that all participating States have an equal say in the decision-making process

During 2014-2020, FSC plenary meetings' attention was drawn at the initiative of the Ukrainian delegation to debates and condemnation of gross violations by Russia of the fundamental norms and principles of the OSCE and international law.