Donetsk, Jan 24 – DAN. The mandate of the OSCE SMM in Donbass should be extended, said DPR envoy to the negotiations Denis Pushilin, commenting on the mission's authorization expiring in March 2018.

"The expiration of the OSCE SMM which is to monitor and verify the Minsk Agreements in accordance with the document is another disadvantage. Without the mission, levers of influence on Ukraine will be offset. We consider it necessary to prolong the SMM mandate."

Pushilin said that Ukraine's actions in late 2017 resulted in 'de-facto squeezing Russian representatives out of the JCCC' disrupting its operation as a sole platform for cooperation between the sides supported by Russian officers.

Earlier Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM Alexander Hug said the mission's mandate was valid until March 2018; the consent of all OSCE members is required to prolong it. *ot