Deployment of peacekeepers should be agreed with both sides of Ukrainian conflict – Lavrov

UN peacekeepers (Reuters / James Akena)
Russia is ready to discuss the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine but only on condition that it is agreed both with Kiev and self-proclaimed republics in Donbass, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

The agreement must be reached by participants of the conflict about the forms of monitoring every point of the reached agreement that they both find acceptable,” RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying Monday.

The minister added that Moscow was ready to consider deploying peacekeepers to Ukraine if both sides in the conflict express their interest in this.

To be honest, we see no arguments against looking into any suggestions. But for this we must talk to the sides of the conflict,” he said.

Lavrov refuted the allegations that more members of the UN Security Council should have secured the Minsk peace accords. “Of course not all of the UNSC members participated in Minsk talks, but Russia, together with France and Germany, submitted all necessary documents in this body and the Security Council approved of all these documents in a unanimously passed resolution. So it is not quite correct to say that not everyone who must decide on a peacekeeping operation took part in the Minsk talks,” RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying.

Earlier in the day, Lavrov’s first deputy, Gennady Gatilov, told reporters that Russia was aware of Kiev’s appeal to the United Nations seeking to bring peacekeepers to the Donbass, but did not consider such steps reasonable.

We are acting on the basis of Minsk accords that name the OSCE as the main monitor of the ceasefire observation. We see no use in sending any new units [to the southeastern parts of Ukraine],” the official was quoted as saying by Interfax. He added that the OSCE had just decided to increase its monitoring mission to 1,000 observers.

Gatilov also said that in the UN the deployment of peacekeeping forces is decided by the Security Council, not its secretariat.

The Secretariat of the United Nations can only develop technical parameters of such peacekeeping mission after a principle decision is made by the Security Council,” he said.

Gatilov also said that the issue of deploying peacekeepers was very complicated as it required agreement on the mandate, the numbers and the national composition of contingents and, most importantly, their tasks and licensed activities.

Both Russian comments came shortly after international media quoted Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebiynisas as saying that his nation had sent a preliminary request to the UN seeking a peacekeeping mission to the war-torn regions in the Donbass. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday submitted to parliament the draft address to the UN Security Council seeking the deployment of an international mission for sustaining peace and security on the Ukrainian territory.

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The document has already been approved by the Ukrainian Security Council. When this happened in late February, Gatilov promised that Russia would veto the move in the UN as it considered the Minsk accords a sufficient basis through which an effective resolution of the conflict could be secured.