Moscow's initiative on UN peacekeepers in Donbas to expand split up of Ukraine
Russia's proposal to introduce peacekeepers to Donbas will only exacerbate a split-up in Ukraine, but will not resolve the conflict, United States State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said.
It had been very interesting last week to see how Russia had suggested a peacekeeping mission, a UN mission, something that, as Russia had already said, would not support, something that had been offered following the Normandy format consultations with the U.S. and others, he said at the 14th Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting "Is This a New World? And What Does It Mean for Ukraine?" on Saturday, September 16.
"If an agreement regarding the peacekeepers is reached, this initiative will be implemented in the context of the Minsk agreements. This means implementation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the country's east border. But this also means that Russia has to be certain about implementation of the political part of the Minsk agreements," he said.
The fact of proposal had been important and had needed to be studied, the U.S. envoy said.
"Specific features of what has been proposed would split Ukraine rather than produce anything useful. Nevertheless, the very fact that this proposal has been made is very interesting and it needs to be looked at. If we think of the international peace-keepers as replacement for the Russian army in terms of controlling heavy weapon and border control – this would be an essential step forward and will form the basis for implementation of the Minsk agreement," he said.
He said that Ukraine should be convinced that a peacekeeping mission would promote territorial integrity reinstatement, but would not split the territories of Ukraine.