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Russia’s chief negotiator says UN presence in Donbass may put end to armed conflict

September 05, 19:40 UTC+3

Russia’s chief negotiator at the Minsk peace talks says the deployment of UN peacekeepers to Donbass will not remove political settlement from the agenda

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MOSCOW, September 5. /TASS/. Possible deployment of UN peacekeepers at the contact line in Donbass can help put an end to the armed phase of the conflict but will not remove political settlement from the agenda, Russia’s chief negotiator at the Minsk peace talks, Boris Gryzlov, said on Tuesday.

"Security issues are inextricably linked with issues of political settlement of the conflict in Donbass," he said. "These issues have always been and will be among priorities of the Contact Group [on the settlement in Donbass]. A number of conditions have already been created for possible deployment of a UN contingent tasked to ensure security of the OSCE mission. Some territories have been cleared of mines, heavy weapons have been withdrawn from a number of sections. The first ten days of the so-called back-to-school ceasefire have demonstrated that the number of shelling episodes can be reduced to minimum and the level of security of civilians can be improved provided the parties have good will for that."

"Deployment of peacekeepers along the line of engagement is quite possible with Kiev’s good will and it can help put an end to the armed phase of the conflict," he said. "But security of peacekeepers must also be ensured by means of disengagement of forces and complete withdrawal of heavy weapons. So far, we see that Kiev is reluctant to disengage forces and weapons at various sections, for instance, near Stanitsa Luganskaya."

"Nevertheless the mere presence of a UN mission will not remove political settlement of the conflict from the agenda," Gryzlov stressed. "Problems of Donbass’ special status, amnesty and elections must be resolved in line with the Minsk agreements."

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia plans to submit to the United Nations Security Council a resolution on the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the line of engagement in Donbass to ensure safety of the OSCE mission. He stressed however that deployment of UN peacekeepers could only be possible after weapons withdrawal from the area and upon agreement with the self-proclaimed Donbass republics.

 

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