MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. A decision to send NATO peacekeepers to Ukraine would result in a direct clash between the alliance’s forces and the Russian army, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday while addressing an audience at the MGIMO University.
"Our Polish counterparts have already said that there will be a NATO summit and a decision to send peacekeepers should be made there. I do hope they understand what this is all about. There would follow a direct clash between Russian and NATO forces, which, as everybody has been saying all along, must never take place in principle."
Lavrov did not rule out that Poland’s proposal for sending peacekeepers to Ukraine concealed the intention of creating a headquarters in Lvov to stay there further on.
"They had ideas like this all along, and not only ideas. Such situations did exist in the past," he said. "Another aim of this provocation is this: there have been speculations already that not NATO but the Baltic countries might send some small battalions there to protect Ukraine. We should not lose self-control."
Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki argued that Ukraine had the right to invite to its territory anybody it would like, including NATO peacekeepers. He speculated that Russia would not dare attack the alliance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 launched a special operation in Ukraine following a plea for help from the leaders of the Donbass republics. He has repeatedly stressed that Moscow had no plans for an occupation of Ukrainian territories. The purpose is the country’s demilitarization and denazification and struggle against nationalist armed groups, which are directly responsible for genocide in Donbass.