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RIGA, March 6. /TASS/. The EU countries plan to strengthen the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission in Ukraine, not to send peacekeepers there, EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said Friday arriving at the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Riga.
"We are discussing not the peacekeeping mission, but strengthening the OSCE mission. That is the reason for OSCE secretary general’s presence at the meeting. EU is providing a lot of additional support, including people and equipment," Hahn said.
On February 18, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council approved an appeal to the United Nations and European Union on the deployment in Ukraine of peacekeeping and security missions.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in this connection that Russia "cannot participate in the peacekeeping operation" in Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said for his part that if the decision on sending a joint EU and UN peacekeeping mission is made, Kiev is ready to advocate for the domination of the EU component in the mission.
Last week Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said all talks of sending UN peacekeepers to Ukraine are pointless because Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has the veto power. It is impossible to legitimately send UN forces to any spot of the world without Russia’s consent.
Russia’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin last Thursday also criticized Kiev's intention of sending peacekeepers to the east of the country.
"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.
"The appeal of the Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council to UN calling for deployment of peacekeepers at the Russian-Ukrainian border in Donbas is a breach of the package of February 12 measures obliging Ukraine to negotiate border issues with self-defense forces," the Donetsk News Agency quoted Pushilin as saying. "This will happen after municipal election and constitutional reform," he added.