Russia on Saturday expressed hopes for the success of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, while stressing the observers were excluded from Crimea after its takeover by Moscow.
The Foreign Ministry said that it hopes the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors can help resolve what Russia called an "internal Ukrainian crisis."
The ministry urged the OSCE observers to bring an end to what Moscow called the "rampant nationalist banditry" and "ultra-radical trends" in Ukraine.
Russia and the OSCE agreed Friday to deploy civilian monitors to Ukraine.
The OSCE, which works by consensus, says up to 500 monitors will gather information on the security situation in Ukraine, including human rights.
The United States says the OSCE has a mandate to work in all of Ukraine, including Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Friday completing the annexation of Crimea. The law recognizes parliament\’s approval of a referendum by Crimeans earlier in the week on breaking away from Ukraine.
The U.S. says no one in the international community will recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
White House officials say the situation in Ukraine will be "front and center" during President Barack Obama\’s trip to Europe in the coming week.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice told reporters Friday that the common theme to the president\’s trip is the fundamental strength of U.S. partnerships and alliances, including NATO, the European Union and the G7.
Rice said Ukraine and the Russian takeover of Crimea are prompting a fundamental reassessment of U.S.-Russian relations. She said the world will clearly see that Russia is more and more isolated.
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said a G-7 summit in The Hague – a meeting that probably would have included Russia as an eighth member – has been added to the president\’s agenda as part of that isolation.
Also on President Obama\’s European schedule is a nuclear security summit with more than 50 other countries, including Russia.
Rice says the United States has every interest in continuing to cooperate with Russia on this issue, which she calls a pillar of the Obama national security policy — making it harder for terrorists to get their hands on nuclear materials.
Source: VOA and agencies