As reported by Censor.NET, the Trump administration's part-time special envoy for Ukraine told the Washington Post following meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladislav Surkov on Nov. 13.
Volker says the U.S. idea is to create a true U.N. peacekeeping force that would have not only free rein but also security authority throughout contested areas. The force must have access to the Ukraine-Russia border and not have any Russian personnel in it, he said.
Moscow rejected 26 out of 29 of the paragraphs in Volker's proposal. But Volker said he intends to keep negotiating. He said the peacekeeping plan represents the best hope to return to Minsk II, a peace agreement that both Ukraine and Russia pledged to follow.
That process is stalled primarily because Russia won't honor provisions mandating a cease-fire, the removal of its heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine and access to the border. Russia still won't even acknowledge that it has forces on the ground in eastern Ukraine, much less remove them.
But the U.S. strategy is based on the assumption that Putin is looking for - or at least considering - a way out of his financial and military commitments in eastern Ukraine. If Putin's long-term goal is to create a pro-Moscow Ukraine, his continued interference is having the opposite effect, Volker said.
"What we are trying to do is clarify the options," Volker said. "If they want to dig in, they can, but it's going to cost a lot. If they want to move on, it can be something we all agree on and we can find a way to make that work out."
On Sept. 5, 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.
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.
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