Deutsche Welle reports that former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has claimed that the introduction of a full-fledged peacekeeping mission in the Donbas would contribute to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
"I believe that the peacekeeping mission would become a mechanism for the implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said.
In the meantime, according to Rasmussen, "there is no progress at all." He believes that the reason for this is precisely the absence of a mechanism to compel the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Rasmussen noted that Ukraine objectively cannot organize elections in the Donbas as long as the region continues to be bombarded and people continue to die. In his words, it is necessary to first establish peace, and only then to move further in the implementation of Minsk agreements.
Rasmussen insists on a powerful peacekeeping action. He believes that peacekeepers must necessarily take control of the border between Ukraine and Russia in order to stop the import of military equipment and reinforcements from Russia.
Rasmussen also believes that President Vladimir Putin's plan for the UN mission is a "failed idea," as well as a "probable trap," because his proposal implies a limited mission for the peacekeepers on the line of contact "between free Ukraine and its occupied portion," to be established only for the purpose of protecting the OSCE observers.
While answering a question about whether the international community has adequately responded to the annexation of the Crimea in due time, Rasmussen said that "they reacted as best they could and as they should," and noted that sanctions have been initiated and are gradually increasing.
"I think these sanctions hurt Russia. They raise the price of this illegal action, the taking of the Crimea," he said.
Rasmussen also recalled that because of Putin’s aggressive policies, NATO countries have decided to increase their overall defense capabilities.
"It is possible to say that President Putin has contributed to the increasing investment in defense across the entirety of NATO," he concluded.
Earlier, Rasmussen expressed the opinion that sanctions could force Russia to show flexibility regarding the issue of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas.