According to the diplomat, the mandate of a possible U.N.-led peacekeeping mission in the Donbas needs to be robust enough to actually control security throughout the contested area.
"The right thing to have happen would be a staged deployment of a peacekeeping force that would grow to be able to control security throughout the entire area. I don't have a number to throw at you, but it would have to be robust enough to be able to handle that," Volker said.
"When you look at the past year or so of our diplomatic efforts, even though Russia has not been willing to move at all, we have clearly shown Russia's responsibility for the conflict. We have increased sanctions, we have increased our support to Ukraine, and we've done all of this together as a trans-Atlantic community, with close coordination with France and Germany, which lead the Normandy format, as well as Canada, the UK, Sweden and many others," he stressed.
On Sept. 5, 2017, Russian President Putin said deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in the Donbas was quite appropriate for solving of the conflict in the region, but only along the line of contact and with the aim of protecting the OSCE mission.
On Sept. 20, 2017, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko delivered a speech at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, in which he stressed the need to deploy peacekeepers in the occupied area of the Donbas.
Ukraine's representative in Humanitarian subgroup of the Tripartite contact group in Minsk talks, deputy speaker of Ukrainian parliament Iryna Herashchenko commented on Putin's statement and said the Kremlin scenarios will fail; peacekeepers must be introduced across all Russia-occupied territories.
On Jan. 29, 2018, Volker said Russia had shown more "openness" to U.S. suggestions on a possible UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas, but Washington and Moscow remained far from striking a deal.