In an interview with Echo of Moscow, US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker named a number of countries that are prepared to send their own troops to the Donbas as part of a UN peacekeeping mission.
“As for countries, a number of states have already said that they will be ready to make their contribution. Sweden, Finland, Austria, Belarus, Serbia and Turkey have said so. In my view, this is a good range of countries, including several states which Russia considers more than a part of the West, and several states which the West considers more than part of the CIS space, and I think that a sense of balance would be logical,” Volker remarked.
The US representative observed that organizational aspects still have to be discussed.
“How the peacekeepers will be deployed, at what stage, will be discussed, but from a basic perspective, after complete deployment, these should be genuine peacekeeping forces, controlling the situation in the area of security,” Volker emphasized.
The special representative also said that the peacekeeping forces in the Donbas must act with a UN mandate.
In Volker’s opinion, the problem with the Minsk agreements is that they are not being implemented. This is why the US, France and Germany have suggested that peacekeeping forces with a UN mandate be brought into the conflict region, to independently provide security.
In July, the foreign ministers of the Normandy Format countries discussed the possibility of UN peacekeepers in the Donbas. The next meeting was planned for September.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton believes that by discussing the option of peacekeepers, Russia may be indirectly admitting to involvement in the war. The French Foreign Minister, however, is convinced that the time for sending a UN peacekeeping mission to the Donbas has not yet come.
The format of the peacekeeping mission is a controversial matter for Ukraine, and for Russia, which supports the militants. Ukraine wants a full-scale mission, which will take control of all the occupied Donbas territory, including the state borders. Russia is only proposing a “protective mission” in order to ensure the safety of the OSCE observers in the region of the confrontation line.