Russia-led military bloc ready to send peacekeepers to Ukraine
The head of the CSTO says its peacekeepers are ready for any operations, including in Ukraine, but their deployment requires the go-ahead from leaders of all member-countries.
"Deployment of the CSTO peacekeeping force can be ordered only by the Collective Security Council – the supreme body formed with heads of state of the member countries. By a joint decision these leaders can order the use of peacekeepers both on the territory of the member-states and also outside their borders,” General-Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Nikolay Bordyuzha, stated on Friday.
“The CSTO peacekeeping force was formed several years ago and its units have already completed the training in combat cooperation. The servicemen in these units are well trained and equipped with all necessary weapons and hardware,” Bordyuzha noted.
He added that the forces’ readiness to take part in operations of all levels had been checked and proven in a recent joint exercise in Kyrgyzstan.
The CSTO is a military bloc uniting six ex-Soviet nations - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia. Currently Russia holds the rotating presidency of the organization.
The fighting in eastern Ukraine has intensified over the past week, claiming more casualties among combatants and civilians. On Thursday, President Putin called on self-defense militias in Ukraine to create a safe humanitarian corridor so that encircled servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard and other pro-Kiev units can leave the combat area and "reunite with their families."
Commanders of the unified pro-federalist force have supported Putin's initiative, provided that the pro-Kiev troops leave behind their weapons.
“We support the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to create a humanitarian corridor to create a safe passage for the surrounded armed forces of Ukraine. We are ready to ensure the safety of the Ukrainian troops out of the encirclement under one condition – they have to go through the established corridor without weapons,” the anti-Kiev militia press service said in a statement.