OSCE's Hug on Russian involvement in Donbas war: "Facts speak for themselves"
First Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Alexander Hug, in a statement voiced via Skype from the Russia-occupied Donetsk, clarified his statements earlier published by Foreign Policy ezine on the alleged lack of direct evidence of Russian invasion in Donbas.
"I find it important to clarify statements with regard to my interview with Foreign Policy. The text published yesterday was misleading and did not reflect my opinion. An amended version has been issued," Hug said, according to the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
"Meanwhile, as you know, we do not conclude on the facts we establish and we do not provide evidence.
"SMM's facts speak for themselves," the official stressed.
He added that over the past four years, he has been "very clear all along, over the past four and a half years, that the SMM is not speculating, it is not concluding on the facts it does establish."
The SMM, Hug said, will continue to implement its mandate and it will continue to document facts and establish facts.
"We are in Ukraine […] and we will continue to support Ukraine," the official said.
Asked by a reporter, what is his real opinion on the matter given that Foreign Policy's text was misleading, Hug said: "The OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission has been documenting over the past four and a half years specific types of weapons that include electronic warfare equipment which we have described in great detail, including for instance the 'Zhitel' jamming system. We have been seeing at least in six instances convoys leaving and entering Ukraine, which we have been documenting, which have been driving towards the unsecure border with the Russian Federation in the middle of the night, on dirt roads, and have been seen at the unsecure border at areas where there is no official border crossing."
"The Special Monitoring Mission has also seen tracks that are in close proximity of the unsecure border with the Russian Federation. We have also described in multiple times […] specific types of weapons that we have seen in the areas not controlled by the government, and we have seen and spoken to prisoners taken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces who claimed to have been members of a Russian unit fighting on rotation in Ukraine. All of these facts have been made available and I have been referring to them, including in that interview. These facts speak for themselves," Hug concluded.
Earlier, the U.S.-based Foreign Policy ezine published an interview with First Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug, claiming that the OSCE SMM had not seen direct evidence of Russia's interference in eastern Ukraine.