Ukraine's envoy to UN doesn't expect progress in peacekeepers' deployment to Donbas any time soon
One should not be expecting any progress in the issue of the mandate of a UN peacekeeping mission to Donbas in the near future, Ukrainian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko told the online newspaper European Truth in an interview published on Tuesday.
"The [UN] Security Council was ready to start working on the peacekeeping mission's mandate, but Russia rejected practically every essential provision and returned to its idea of a strange mission, in which UN peacekeepers would be protecting OSCE monitors. [...] I am not expecting any progress to be made in this issue any time soon," Yelchenko said.
He reiterated the Ukrainian opinion that the peacekeepers should be deployed to the state border between Ukraine and Russia.
"Russia has been rejecting this variant. This is the red line no one will ever cross," Yelchenko said.
He noted though that some progress emerged in the negotiations on the UN peacekeeping mission in fall 2017.
"Such progress emerged, and there was some optimism in early September, after the issue was addressed by newly appointed U.S. representative Kurt Volker. [...] The United States realized after three or four meetings that Russia was rejecting every provision essential not only to Ukraine and the United States but also to the Normandy format partners and members of the UN Security Council," Yelchenko said.
He said it would so far be inexpedient to submit the issue of the UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas for consideration by the UN General Assembly.
"I do not think this should be done now. There are still opportunities to be used at the Security Council. [...] There is a theoretical possibility. We have not given it a serious thought but there are ways we can go if necessary," Yelchenko said.
He noted that the UN General Assembly's decision would be advisory. "I cannot imagine how it can be put into life," he said.
Yelchenko also said that the deployment of a UN mission to the Ukrainian territory would require Kyiv's consent.