17 Oct 2017 21:06

UN Donbas mission should only protect OSCE monitors - Russian envoy to OSCE

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) - The establishment of a full-fledged UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine would be contrary to the Minsk Agreements and the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), Russian Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said.

"If the disengagement of forces and hardware on the contact line [in Donbas] is carried out, then the deployment of SMM's civilian mission for verification and monitoring would require additional security measures, because it's a unarmed civilian mission. The question is who would guard it. I believe there could be no better attempt at doing it than through the UN. But that isn't peacekeepers, it's a mission to ensure security and protect OSCE observers," Lukashevich said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 (VGTRK) television channel.

However, the Ukrainian side and several Western countries are talking about a full-fledged peacekeeping operation, he said.

This is "completely inadmissible in terms of the Minsk Agreements and in the context of the operations of the OSCE SMM itself and its mandate," he said.

The OSCE has so far taken a time-out with regard to this initiative and is waiting for the UN Security Council to act, Lukashevich said. "As far as we understand, no practical work on either initiative is being conducted in New York yet," he said.