Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is confident that Russia will be forced to support the deployment of an international UN peacekeeping contingent in the Donbas and to withdraw its own divisions from the occupied regions of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
“The UN peacekeepers, when they come into the Donbas, will force Russia’s occupation forces out of the Ukrainian territories, disarm the illegal armed formations, and ensure the withdrawal of the heavy weaponry and safety for the start of the re-integration of the currently occupied parts of the Donbas,” the head of state remarked in a Pryamoy TV channel broadcast on Monday 25 March.
Poroshenko said that “a clear plan to restore the Donbas” has been agreed on by the leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia in conjunction with partners from the US.
During a speech to the UN General Assembly on 20 February, the Ukrainian president suggested that a technical assessment mission be sent to the Donbas to begin preparation for the peacekeepers.
Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko explained that a technical UN mission could analyze the military and technical aspects of a peacekeeping mission and determine the number of soldiers that would need to be sent to the region.
At the end of January, Poroshenko announced that three permanent UN Security Council members – the US, UK and France – had voiced their support for a peacekeeping mission in the Donbas.
Previously OSCE Chairperson Miroslav Lajcak said that the security organization is willing to support the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Donbas, to contribute and to share its experience of operating in the region.
US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said that the US will support a peacekeeping mission, but that this plan cannot be implemented without Russia’s consent.
Ukraine insists that the mission’s mandate must include the entire occupied territory, including the stretches of the border with Russia that it currently does not control.
Russia, on the other hand, is categorically opposed to the peacekeepers being stationed east of the demarcation line.