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U.S. to consider UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas

The U.S. government is willing to consider Ukraine’s proposal to introduce UN peacekeepers to the Donbas conflict zone but only under a broad mandate, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert told a Sept. 13 press briefing. “We see it as a means of restoring Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Nauert said. “However, I want to make it clear that such peacekeeping forces should have a broad mandate to maintain peace and security throughout the occupied territory of Ukraine, up to the border with Russia, including the border, in order to avoid deepening or consolidating the split within Ukraine.”

 

The Ukrainian government has informed the UN Security Council and its partners of the logic of its positions on placing UN peacekeepers in occupied Donbas, but has yet to submit its draft resolution, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said in an interview with Ukrinform published on Sept. 14. He pointed out that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko already submitted an appeal for a peacekeeping mission to the UN Security Council in March 2015.

 

Poroshenko met with OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger on Sept. 13 to coordinate approaches to introducing a UN peacekeeping mission on all the territory of occupied Donbas, the president's press service reported. They also discussed improving the daily operations of the current OSCE special monitoring mission in Donbas, which has been repeatedly targeted for attacks by pro-Russian forces.

 

Zenon Zawada: The mass media excitedly published headlines that the U.S. supports the proposal, but so far it’s only considering it, from what we can tell from Nauert’s remarks. Introducing an armed UN peacekeeping mission to Donbas would an extremely risky move on the part of the West, potentially entangling itself in a nasty conflict that can escalate.

 

An affirmative decision by the U.S. would have to be based on whether officials have the sense that the Russian government has good will in its declared willingness to end the armed conflict in Donbas. We don’t see this good will being present, but we don’t think it will even get that far. We don’t think the West, Ukraine and Russia will agree on the terms of such a mission, particularly on such contentious points as the presence of Russian citizens in the mission and the mission’s scope.

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