Kerry on the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Donbas: We need to make sure that this is not a trap

During the Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting in Kyiv, Former US Secretary of State John Kerry stated that he  is concerned that the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the combat zone in the Donbas may be unsafe and turn out to be a trap.

"[With respect to certain UN forces], you have to be really careful that it is not a trap. If you’ve got this exclusively on the line of contact, then this can conceivably become the de facto recognition of this line of contact as meaning something. It has to be comprehensive throughout Donbass, and particularly on the external border. We've got to test the legitimacy of this offer," Kerry said.

Ukraine has been asking for the introduction of peacekeepers to the Donbas for two years. In early March 2015, President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree requesting the UN Security Council to include peacekeepers for the Donbas. The document enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) "On the Appeal to the United Nations and the European Union regarding the deployment in the territory of Ukraine of an international operation to maintain peace and security."

In June 2015, a law was passed that would regulate the issues of holding an international peacekeeping and security operation in Ukraine, particularly regarding the expansion of the grounds for admission and the stay of units of the armed forces of other states on the territory of Ukraine.

A year later, Ukraine expressed bewilderment at the inaction of the UN Security Council in response to a direct request from Kyiv for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the occupied regions of the Donbas.

In September, Poroshenko intends to raise this issue again at the session of the UN General Assembly. Ukraine has prepared for three options for the introduction of peacekeepers: in the form of an OSCE police mission, a UN mission or a European police mission. The mission would need to cover the entire separatist-held territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as the so-called "gray zone" and the Ukrainian-Russian border.

On September 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would submit to the UN Security Council its own resolution on the introduction of a peacekeeping mission to the Donbas. At the same time, he stressed that Russia agrees to peacekeepers only on the line of demarcation, but not on the border with Russia. He also wants this issue to be coordinated with the separatists.

  UN peacekeeping mission, Donbas, Kerry