WASHINGTON, May 20. /TASS/. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is considering sending an armed police mission to the militia-controlled areas of Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbass region during local elections there, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday.
"It would be a police operation to help maintain law and order in this area and ... to help provide a safe environment for the elections to take place," Zannier told the AP.
According to Zannier, his group may send hundreds of policemen to maintain law and order during the voting with the consent of all the sides.
Zannier said the mission, which has been requested by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, could work alongside the local police force in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to prevent criminal activity and help international observers monitor the vote, AP reported. The mission would only be able to deploy after both sides fully commit to a ceasefire. "It is a complicated scenario, but it’s certainly something that we can do if, as I say, everybody agrees," Zannier said. In addition, another condition for the mission’s work will be the observance of the ceasefire regime.
Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko insists that the OSCE mission should be armed, however, after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Normandy Four (comprising Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) that was held in Berlin on May 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear that Moscow sees no need in expanding the mission’s mandate. According to him, Kiev explained the arming of the observers by the need to ensure free electioneering. However, Moscow is certain that the elections can be successfully held without any militarized units.