MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post-Soviet security bloc, could dispatch its peacekeepers to Donbass if there was a UN mandate and Kiev’s goodwill, Secretary-General Stanislav Zas said in an interview with Reuters.
"Hypothetically you can imagine it (such a deployment) if there were goodwill from Ukraine - it is after all their territory - if there was a U.N. Security Council mandate, and if it was needed and such a decision was supported by all our governments," Zas said.
The CSTO chief noted that the domestic Ukrainian conflict could be ironed out only through diplomatic efforts, but now the developments are on a dangerous path. "I don't believe that the situation now will return to how it used to be when tanks were housed at their bases and soldiers in their barracks. It won't happen. There needs to be an understanding about the necessity to sit down at the table and agree something. It's a new reality," said Zas, whose organization sent a peacekeeping contingent to Kazakhstan last month. The joint task force comprised military personnel from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Law and order, Kazakh authorities affirm, was restored to all of the country’s regions.
The West and Kiev have been echoing allegations about Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these claims as "empty and unfounded", serving as a ploy to escalate tensions, pointing out that Russia did not pose any threat whatsoever to anyone. However, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations aimed at justifying such claims and warned that attempts to use military force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have serious consequences.
Amid the mounting threat of combat actions, the self-proclaimed republics on February 18 announced the evacuation of civilians to Russia, namely to the Rostov Region.