Originally appeared at DWN, translated by John T. Sumner exclusively for SouthFront
Unlike the government in Kiev, Russia is currently making significant efforts to pacify the situation in the Donbass. Moscow now agrees with the arming of OSCE observers – suggesting that the Russians are planning no new activities, militarily.
For the first time the Russian government has agreed that observers of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) might be armed during their operations in Eastern Ukraine. In the future some OSCE observers could be armed, as “with pistols to their defense,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the state broadcaster Rossiya on Saturday.
So far, the shaky cease-fire between pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian government troops is monitored by unarmed OSCE observers, AFP reports. OSCE head Lamberto Zannier had agreed to send armed personnel to Ukraine, provided that all parties are in agreement. However, Moscow had always disapproved armed peacekeeping missions thus far.
Lavrov also suggested to reinforce the OSCE monitoring teams at heavy weapons storage facilities. This would allow a twenty-four-seven monitoring.
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine started in April 2014. Meanwhile, the official number of deaths rose to 9400. The Ukraine accuses Russia to fuel the conflict via arms sales and by strengthening the number of military personnel of the separatists from the regions Donetsk and Lugansk. In May, 26 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the armed conflict.