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Little to gain from peacekeepers in Donbas — Ukraine's former defense minister

March 19, 2015, 16:17 UTC+3 KIEV
The real situation with peacekeepers is slightly different because they are not combatants - they can only use arms for self-defense and participate only in demining
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© AP Photo/Zveki

KIEV, March 18. /TASS/. Little can be expected from sending a peacekeeping force to eastern Ukraine's embattled Donbas region as proposed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, former Defense Minister Yevgeny Marchuk said on Thursday.

"It can only be a propaganda move... we are ready to solve everything peacefully," said Marchuk, an expert with the Center for Researching Russia, in quotes reported by the Ukrainian National News Agency

"Together with Poroshenko’s ‘peace plan’, it sounds really good," he added. "But the real situation with peacekeepers is slightly different because they are not combatants - they can only use arms for self-defense and participate only in demining. A peacekeeping mission has no real effect."

No damage would result from deploying them, Marchuk said. "If they arrive and come under fire, then Ukraine can show it wanted to stabilize the situation and stop bloodshed.

"There will be no damage, but one should neither hope for great effect. It will be a foreign policy undertaking," he added, noting it may take up to six months to deploy a mission "because it is a very complicated and bureaucratic procedure".

Ukraine’s parliament addressed an appeal to the United Nations Security Council and the Council of the European Union on March 17 for a contingent to be sent. This was submitted by President Petro Poroshenko in a decree enacting a resolution of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council.

Poroshenko said deployment would promote efficient implementation of the Minsk peace settlement accord against the backdrop of a tense security situation in Donbas "with the perspective of further disintegration and loss of trust within the framework of the entire peace process."

The document noted the role of the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe as a parallel monitoring instrument.

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