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Russia hopes for progress on UN mission in Donbass in 2018 — Russian senior diplomat

Moscow has no objections against international control in Donbass, but it should be agreed directly by Kiev and self-proclaimed republics, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Moscow hopes progress on the issue of a UN mission in Donbass will be reached in the coming year, but it should be done with due account of Donetsk’s and Lugansk’s political interests, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with the Kommersant daily published on its website on Tuesday.

"I hope next year we will be able to make steps in this direction (deployment of a UN mission to protect OSCE monitors in Donbass - TASS), but this progress should not be done with prejudice to Donetsk’s and Lugansk’s political interests," he said.

"The resolution we have initiated says that the peacekeepers should be first of all tasked to ensure security of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission," he said. "We see artificial attempts to change this concept towards deployment of some sort of external administration in southeastern Ukraine with the closure of the border between Donbass and Russia."

It is out of the question, Karasin stressed. "Russia will never allow it to be done. Our position is that UN peacekeepers must ensure protection of the OSCE monitors. This is the essence of our initiative. A lot of diplomatic and political work is to be done around this resolution," he said.

Addressing an annual news conference on December 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Moscow had no objections against international control in Donbass but it should be agreed directly between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). He recalled that Russia has submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution on the deployment of UN forces in Donbass to protect monitors of the OSCE mission.