DONETSK, September 5. /TASS/. Representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are willing to discuss the Russian president’s initiative to deploy UN peacekeepers to the Donbass region, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko said on Tuesday.
"People in Donbass, like no one else, are interested in the process of resolving our conflict with Kiev to make sure that people are no longer killed. For the sake of that goal, we are prepared not only to consider any initiatives but also to put forward our own," he said in a statement posted by the Donetsk News Agency. "The Russian president’s proposal to discuss the deployment of peacekeepers to Donbass needs to be discussed. As far as I understand, the issue at hand is using UN peacekeepers solely to guard the OSCE mission workers who, on the one hand, fear for their safety and, on the other, are reluctant to have personal firearms."
"We have said on numerous occasions that we are ready to ensure safety of the OSCE mission and its members. Let’s see how the UN Security Council and the OSCE will react to the draft resolution that Russia is planning to submit to the UN Security Council," Zakharchenko added.
He drew attention to the fact that the Russian president pointed to the need to seek Kiev’s compliance with the Minsk agreements, at least the part that concerns security, that is, to stop artillery bombardments and withdraw heavy equipment to the designated distance. "Only after that will it be possible to talk about peacekeepers as OSCE monitors’ guards in earnest," Zakharchenko said. "Otherwise, if Ukrainian weapons remain along the line of engagement, and Kiev continues to behave the way it behaves today, peacekeepers can become targets of Ukraine’s provocations."
"We are ready to discuss this initiative and insist that no changes in the settlement format are possible without the approval from DPR and LPR," he stressed.
DPR’s envoy to the Minsk talks, Denis Pushilin, said UN peacekeepers may be deployed to Donbass to ensure security of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, but only after the ceasefire agreement is fulfilled.
"After the disengagement of forces and means, under the framework decision for implementing a full-fledged ceasefire, it is advisable to ensure security of the OSCE SMM personnel by enhancing them with UN peacekeepers," Pushilin was quoted by the Donetsk News Agency as saying.
Speaking about the deployment of peacekeepers, Pushilin stressed that this concerns only the demarcation line between the parties to the conflict.
"The mandate should be agreed by us in the framework of the Contact Group. We should remember that the situation with the disengagement is tough - even in three pilot areas these agreements have not been implemented in full," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a news conference following BRICS summit that Russia would submit to the UN Security Council a resolution on deploying UN peacekeepers to the line of engagement in the Donbass region to ensure safety of OSCE personnel. He noted though that the deployment of UN forces is only possible after weapons are withdrawn and the issue is agreed with representatives of the self-proclaimed Donbass republics.