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Anti-OSCE Protest Held In Eastern Ukraine

A protest has taken place in the separatist-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk against the deployment of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The rally on June 10 was organized by the Russia-backed leaders in the region of Donetsk.

The OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has 580 unarmed staff based in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Separatists leaders have accused the SMM of unfairly blaming much of the violence in the conflict zone on separatist fighters.

More than 9,300 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since hostilities erupted in April 2014.

Amid an uptick in violence, Kyiv is hoping to get an armed police mission under the auspices of the OSCE deployed in separatist-held areas in Donetsk and Luhansk.

"We have gathered here to say a firm 'no' to an armed OSCE mission," Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin told the pro-Russia crowd.

Based on reporting by AFP