U.N. Security Council to send peacekeepers to Ukraine?


Russia will ask the U.N. Security Council to send peacekeepers to patrol the front line in eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, a development greeted by Germany as a new opportunity for detente.

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in the region has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014. A 2015 peace deal brokered by Germany and France helped reduce the scale of fighting, but regular clashes have continued.

The separatists have opposed Ukraine’s suggestion to deploy peacekeepers in the war zone.

Putin told reporters Tuesday that peacekeepers could help ensure safety for international observers who are monitoring the cease-fire.

But he insisted that the peacekeepers should be deployed only along the line separating the rebel-controlled territories and the area under government control where the clashes occur. Russia’s foreign ministry will file a formal request with the U.N. Security Council, Putin said.

Ukraine’s envoy to the United Nations, Volodymyr Yelchenko, said in comments carried by Russia news agencies on Tuesday that Kiev is ready to work on the draft resolution. The Ukrainian president’s envoy to peace settlement in the east, Iryna Gerashchenko, however, said earlier on Tuesday that Ukraine would agree to a deployment of the peacekeepers only in the separatist-held territories, not on the contact line.

So-called “Normandy Format” peace talks between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have largely stalled of late, with a truce timed to the start of the new school year breaking down almost immediately after it was agreed upon at the end of August.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he found Putin’s announcement “surprising” but said he was “very glad… the Russian president said today he will continue to negotiate about demands that were rejected in the past by Russia.”

“More importantly, this offer of a U.N. mission in eastern Ukraine shows that Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away,” he told reporters on the sideline of parliament in Berlin.

“It would be good if we take it as an opening to talk about new ways of detente.”

Lethal weapons

The possible delivery of U.S. lethal weapons to Ukraine cannot drastically change the Donbas situation but may increase casualties and trigger the use of military force in other territories, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference on Tuesday, after the BRICS summit in Xiamen.

“This [the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine] is a sovereign right of the United States, which can choose whom it will sell weapons or to give them free of charge, and the country receiving such assistance. We cannot have any influence on this process. However, there are international rules and standards: the delivery of weapons to a conflict zone does not help bring peace but only exacerbates the situation,” Putin said.

Mikheil Saakashvili

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office officially confirmed on Tuesday that Tbilisi has once again asked Kyiv to arrest and extradite former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office sent such a request to the Ukrainian Justice Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office on September 1, it said.

The necessary procedures stipulated by the law are in process now, the office said.

Georgia has indicted Saakashvili in absentia in four criminal cases, it said.

Red Cross

Germany will give €6.5 million in financial support to the humanitarian activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Germany’s embassy to Ukraine told LB.ua.

In this way Germany’s total financial contribution to the projects and activities of the ICRC in Ukraine in 2016 and 2018 will grow to €14.5 million.

Germany gives financial support to numerous humanitarian activities within the framework of the project “ICRC – Aid, Protection, Prevention and Cooperation in Ukraine” which is based primarily in Eastern Ukraine.

The project includes medical service, trauma treatment, supporting healthcare institutions, preventative activities, supplying food and hygiene products, water supply, training medical staff and service personnel, searching for missing persons and restoring family ties, visiting prisoners, informational activity regarding mine danger and unexploded ammunition, and much more.

These measures make an important contribution to overcoming the consequences of the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The target group is internally displaced persons and the families and communities which have given them shelter, as well as persons who have suffered from the conflict on both sides of the demarcation line in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, the report emphasizes.

At the end of August, Germany allocated €1.5 million towards aiding Ukrainians in the Donbas.