MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Recently repeated Kiev’s statements concerning the introduction of an international peacekeeping mission in the east of Ukraine contradict Minsk agreements on the conflict settlement, Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday.
"How do the peacekeeping talks, which had been underway in Kiev over the past few weeks, correlate with the Minsk agreements as of February 12?" Churkin said on air of Russia’s LifeNews television channel. "What was the initial concern?"
Earlier in the day Ukraine’s mission to the EU officially handed over a letter to Brussels requesting that the Council of the European Union should consider deploying peacekeepers to the country’s east. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the mission requested that Europeans should "properly consider this issue and launch consultations on the start of the EU operation as part of common security and defense policy."
"There was not a word mentioned by the Ukrainian side about a peacekeeping operation during the 17-hour talks in Minsk between the Normandy Four leaders," Churkin said. "Everyone proceeded from the stance in favor of the continued OSCE mission’s work."
"A decision to expand the special monitoring [OSCE] mission, which had been already working there for quite a while, was made recently," Churkin said. "They [observers] are on the scene and their main task is to monitor the heavy weaponry pullout, which, in general terms, is already underway."
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, adopted an address to the UN Security Council and the European Council requesting the deployment of peacekeepers to Ukraine. The document was submitted by President Pyotr Poroshenko.
Poroshenko signed a decree on March 2 to enact a resolution of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council on asking the UN and the European Union to stage an international peacekeeping operation in Ukraine.
The heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky respectively, said in a joint statement on Wednesday that the request was against the logics of the peace plan envisaged by the Minsk accords.
The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted on February 12 summit talks of Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The over 16-hour marathon summit negotiations ended in a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.
Prior to the summit talks Minsk also hosted the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine’s ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE’s envoy Heidi Tagliavini, who both acted as mediators.
As a result of the meeting, it was announced that an agreement was reached on the ceasefire in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the heavy weaponry pullout and measures on a long-term political settlement of the crisis.