Citing the OSCE Secretary General Ambassador Lamberto Zannier’s recent visit to Ukraine, scores of Russian media reported this week that the OSCE had officially denied the presence of Russian troops in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas occupied by militant separatists.
RIA Novosti, REN TV, Russkaya Vesna, Pravda.ru, Svobodnaya pressa and others all reported that the OSCE director confirmed the Russian army was not fighting in Donbas. The publications then point out according to Zannier “there are military from other regions fighting in Donbas and the region is awash with foreign weapons and fuel”.
Perpetuating the linguistic sidestepping that has become the hallmark of this conflict, Russian media cite Zannier, who said “If people ask me are there Russian units on the ground and I ask my people and they say there are no Russian units as such.”
Lamberto Zannier however did not deny that Russian military were present in eastern Ukraine, what he said was that the OSCE Monitoring Mission could not confirm that they were Russian units.
Zannier pointed out that in the occupied territories equipment keeps being renovated, the influx of military equipment never diminishes despite conflict and losses and fuel and ammunitions are always available. All this comes from somewhere, he pointed out. Fighters from outside the region don’t deny they are not locals, but deny any official connections with Russian structures, Zannier said.