Belarus ready to send peacekeepers to Ukraine, foreign minister says

Belarus is ready to send peacekeepers to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday following his meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

“We are ready to provide an appropriate peacekeeping contingent if this is acceptable for all concerned countries in order to participate in achieving peacekeeping objectives,” Mr. Makey said, according to the Belarusian government’s news agency BelTA. 

“Belarus’ position on the situation in Ukraine has long been known. We are extremely interested in stability being established there as soon as possible, Mr. Makey noted. 

“We are certainly ready to do everything for the conflict that exists today to be resolved and peace and calm to come to those areas,” he said. 

Mr. Makey pointed out that Minsk is the venue of regular meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. “Whatever one may think of the activities of this Contact Group, I believe it makes a productive and important contribution to resolving crisis situations,” he said. “We intend to continue to provide the venue and do everything possible for ensuring peace and stability in that [Donbas] region.” 

The position of Belarus on the Ukraine crisis “reflects the position of Russia, which is set out in a draft resolution of the UN Security Council, but this draft [authored by Russia], has been shelved for a couple of months now and its adoption is being sabotaged,” Mr. Lavrov said. “Work on this subject is underway. Our draft resolution specifies the absolutely necessary criteria for a peacekeeping mission, which were established by the United Nations.” 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said last week that a draft UN resolution on a Donbas peacekeeping operation, which was wrote by Ukraine had already been discussed and agreed upon with the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. 

Mr. Klimkin pointed out that neither Russian troops nor other countries’ troops that Russia might use should be allowed in the peacekeeping mission. 
Mr. Klimkin stressed that the mission should be deployed throughout the breakaway areas and along the border with Russia. 

The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that U.S. officials are seeking Russia’s agreement for 20,000 peacekeepers across Ukraine’s embattled east. 
Vladimir Putin has indicated that he would support deploying UN peacekeepers along the line of contact in Ukraine, that is, the line separating Ukrainian forces from Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region. 

The Russian president has repeatedly said that the purpose a UN peacekeeping mission should be to protect international observers already on the ground in the region. 

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