Deployment of UN peacekeepers in East Ukraine Possible – Russian UN Envoy
19:58 09.02.2015(updated 21:43 09.02.2015)
Russian envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said if the deployment of the UN peacekeepers is required, it is possible, but the situation depends on the upcoming Minsk summit of four leaders in the 'Normandy format'.
MOSCOW, (Sputnik) – The deployment of UN peacekeepers in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine is possible, Russian envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said Monday.
'I am unaware of the details of the proposals currently being discussed in Berlin and which will continue to be discussed in Minsk. But theoretically, if the deployment of the UN peacekeepers is required, it is possible,' Churkin said in an interview with Rossiya-24 channel.
The diplomat added that there are established procedures, which could be used to initiate the deployment.
However, Churkin stressed that such a step would require a political decision.
'It is not clear to me that there are discussions of this option [or that it] fits into the logic around preparations for the talks in Minsk,' the envoy said.
Last Thursday, Russian Foreign Affairs spokesman Alexander Lukashevich announced expert-level discussions of sending UN peacekeepers to the crisis-hit eastern Ukraine.
At the 51st Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said it would take too long to reach a UN Security Council decision and deploy peacekeeping troops in the region.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament ratified an inter-parliamentary agreement with Lithuania and Poland to set up a mutual peacekeeping brigade, a decision that caused concern in the Russian Foreign Ministry as 'internationalizing' an internal conflict.
Clashes between Kiev-led forces and local pro-independence militia have intensified in southeastern Ukraine since the start of the year, despite a ceasefire agreement dating back to September 2014.
According to the latest UN estimates, more than 200 civilians were killed in three weeks of fighting leading up to February 1, bringing the conflict's death toll up to more than 5,300.
There are serious concerns in the United Nations that a failure of the upcoming Normandy format talks on Ukraine could sharply aggravate the Ukrainian crisis, Russia's envoy to the UN said Monday.
'Here [in the United Nations], great hopes are put on the upcoming Minsk summit of four leaders in the 'Normandy format',' Vitaly Churkin said in an interview with Rossyia-24 television.
'There are concerns, however, that if this meeting results in failure, it could fuel up a new round of conflict escalation,' Churkin said.
The diplomat stressed that the consequences of such an outcome would be unpredictable.
The leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia, comprising the so-called Normandy quartet, are expected to hold talks on Ukrainian conflict resolution on February 11 in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.
High-level and ministerial Normandy format meetings on Ukrainian reconciliation date back to June 2014, when leaders of the four countries met in Normandy, France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the allied landings in World War II.
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev-led forces have been battling local pro-independence militia, has killed more than 5,300 people since April last year, according to UN estimates.
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