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Possible peacekeeping mission in Donbas likely to be close to Georgian format — source

February 19, 2015, 16:43 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will discuss today in Kiev the possibility of sending EU unarmed police mission to Ukraine
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© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

BRUSSELS, February 19. /TASS/. European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will discuss today in Kiev "the possibility of sending EU unarmed police mission to Ukraine," a European diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday.

"EU should receive detailed proposals from the Ukrainian side about the preparations for such a mission in order to assess the possibility of deployment. We expect the European commissioner to discuss this topic in Kiev," he said.

Today, Hahn will complete his two-day visit to the Ukrainian capital.

Sending police mission possible after ceasefire

Earlier on Thursday, a diplomatic source from one of EU countries’ mission told TASS that discussions on sending EU unarmed police mission to Ukraine can start only after complete ceasefire.

"Discussion of sending EU unarmed police mission to Ukraine is possible only after complete and monitored ceasefire, as well as receiving security guarantees from all sides of the conflict," the source said.

"We are only talking about maintaining the ceasefire which is already observed. No one seriously thinks that European [police] officers will go there to separate the warring parties amid continuing armed clashes," he added.

Talking about the format of the mission, the source said if the issue is seriously considered, it will most likely be close to "the Georgian, not Kosovar format."

EU civilian monitoring mission of 300 people was deployed in Georgia on October 1, 2008. The mandate was approved after then-President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to attempt regaining control over South Ossetia on August 8-12, but failed. Russia then recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent republics.

The arrival of European observers in fact led to escalation because of the mission’s mandate that did not correspond to reality. The mission was tasked with observing the situation "on the whole territory of Georgia," which, according to EU, included South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As a result, countless attempts of observers to enter the republics without coordination with South Ossetian and Abkhazian authorities failed, which, in turn, created additional diplomatic and political tension around the issue.

Poroshenko against Russian participation in peacekeeping mission

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has spoken against Russian participation in possible peacekeeping operation in Ukraine.

"I would like to note that Russia, as an aggressor, cannot and will not participate in this operation," Poroshenko said before a meeting with European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.

"We will not agree to such a format of a peacekeeping mission that allows legalizing multi-thousand Russian contingent," he added.

Ukraine has OSCE mission, does not need foreign peacekeepers

Russia’s EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov said the idea of sending foreign peacekeepers to Ukraine seems strange as it is quite enough to have a mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) there.

Chizhov said the idea seemed a bit strange as it was out of relation to the Minsk agreements or the Minsk protocol.

He believes it is enough to have coordinated mechanism of a monitoring mission of the OSCE on condition the sides observe ceasefire and withdraw heavy weapons.

Russia’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin on Thursday also criticized the plans.

"The Minsk agreements have just been reached. In line with these agreements, the Donetsk and Luhansk republics can set up their own militias and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is tasked to monitor the zone of disengagement," he said.

"It is vital to pull out weapons but not to indulge in advancing new initiatives. And when they are proposing new schemes instead of implementing what has been agreed, it gives ground to suspect that they seek to frustrate the Minsk agreements," the Russian diplomat underscored.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) also considers the possible deployment of peacekeepers at the Russian-Ukrainian border in Donbas an attempt to violate the Minsk agreements, says DPR envoy to Contact Group Denis Pushilin.

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