Moscow does not mind if OSCE observers carry personal firearms, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“Russia is ready to offer a compromise and agree that the OSCE observers stationed at the front line in eastern Ukraine carry personal arms,” Lavrov said during an interview with the Russian “Saturday News” TV program.
“We said, as long as this helps the common objective, we are ready to give our consent that the group of observers who will be monitoring the contact line and the weaponry storage locations have personal arms,” Russian RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying.
“Pistols for self-defense. There are cases when this happens. We can look at it as a part of the police mission, but most importantly this is for the protection and monitoring of the storage locations of the weapons as well as the passages for the future weapons withdrawal," he explained.
“Although experience shows that sometimes unarmed observers are safer than when they carry personal arms. We are ready for such compromise as long as our other partners are,” Lavrov added.
“We have been ready for these special OSCE monitors to have personal arms, but many other OSCE members oppose this,” noted the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the end of May, Lavrov said that Donbas will never agree to having armed peacekeepers in the region.