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US sees Russian role in blocking OSCE's Crimea mission

Published on Mar 12, 2014 8:36 PM

VIENNA (REUTERS) - The Russian military appears to have been involved with the armed groups who set up road blocks and prevented an unarmed OSCE observer mission from entering Ukraine's Crimea region last week, the United States said on Wednesday.

The US diplomatic mission to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) quoted a report by the OSCE observer team which said the gunmen appeared to have Russian military equipment and vehicles.

Pro-Russian forces have taken over military installations across Crimea, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. When the OSCE military obsever team tried to get into Crimea last Saturday, warning shots were fired and it was turned back.

"The passage into Crimea of the multinational delegation sent to Ukraine... was blocked five times in multiple locations by heavily armed guards lacking clear national identification," a US statement said.

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