Russia is “at the very least, not against” deploying UN peacekeepers all over Donbas, but, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, it should be agreed with the unrecognized republics of Donbas, RIA News reports.
“Now they say, no, they must be present everywhere, so basically it means this territory will be put under international control. Is Russia for or against it? We are, at the very least, not against not against it. But it has to be agreed with these unrecognized republics. Then go and agree with them. But no, nobody wants to do that,” Putin said after a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Russian President also noted that now it’s suggested to deploy peacekeepers all over Donbas, while at first, it was about ensuring the safety of the OSCE observers who are present at the line of the contact.
“And we proceed from the premise that it’s enough if the UN peacekeeping mission implements this role. At first, Ukraine raised the issue of arming OSCE observers in order to ensure security – we agreed to it. The OSCE refused from it, pointing out that they don’t have nor this experience, nor the people who would be able to do it. And, third of all, there are concerns that the moment the OSCE observers have weapons in their hands, they will become a target for both sides of the conflict,” Vladimir Putin said.
He added that another suggestion was made – place a UN peacekeeping mission next to them to ensure the security of the OSCE staff.
Putin said that in one of the phone conversations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested that the peacekeepers be present at the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“I said that yes, you are probably right. Let them be there as well, when they accompany the OSCE staff, to ensure the security. We agreed to this. But it proved to be not enough,” he said.