7 Feb 2018 19:03

U.S., Russia try to bring their stances closer on parameters of deploying peacekeepers in Donbas in run-up to new Volker-Surkov meeting - source

GENEVA. Feb 7 (Interfax) - Russia and the United States are taking efforts to settle differences over the issue of deploying the United Nations mission in Donbas ahead of the next round of Donbas talks in the Volker-Surkov format, a source familiar with the progress of preparations to the meeting told Interfax.

"There are still different opinions on the issue of deploying the UN contingent in Donbas. The sides are still hopeful that positions will be made closer by the next round of consultations in March," he said.

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker may have another meeting with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov in March, but neither the concrete date of the meeting, nor its venue are not determined as of yet, the source told Interfax on Tuesday. Surkov and Volker held their recent meeting in Dubai on January 26, but no concrete decisions have been made following it.

Differences between the parties primarily concern the deployment sites of the UN contingent, a source told Interfax on Wednesday.

"The point is where mission members will be stationed. The Russian side is insisting on the disengagement line at the first stage of deploying the contingent. The American side is insisting on spreading the mission's powers on the entire territory of Donbas, including the border section with Russia outside Kyiv's control," the source said.

The ethnic composition of the peacekeeping mission has so far not been considered, according to the source.