Russia ready to change UN resolution on Donbass, but not at expense of its basic principles

Russia's position on the parameters of the UN mission in the Donbass is set forth in the draft UN resolution that it submitted to the Security Council on September 5, and Russia is not ready to reconsider this position. This was stated by the director of the Center for Political Conjuncture Alexey Chesnakov.

Answering a question about the disagreements on the issue at the talks between the presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and the US State Department's Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, he said that at a meeting in Belgrade on October 7, where the discussion was about the parameters of this mission, the Russian side stated: "It makes sense to continue negotiations only if the whole Russian concept is supported."

Chesnakov recalled that the concept is that UN forces must provide armed protection to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).

"Ukraine has repeatedly called on for the OSCE observers to be armed. Russia has never objected to this," the Russian expert said. "The Normandy Four reached the appropriate accords in Paris in 2015. However, the very OSCE refused to arm, arguing that with lack of experience and means. That's why President Vladimir Putin launched an initiative on September 5 to attract UN forces for the armed protection of the OSCE SMM," Chesnakov explained. "I would like to recall that this proposal arose on a serious basis. The possibility of cooperation between the OSCE and the UNMM is stipulated in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the decision of the Permanent Council OSCE No. 1117 of 21 March 2014."

According to him, the concept proposed by Russia is simple.

"The forces of the parties must be disengaged along the entire line of contact, which must be monitored by the OSCE SMM observers, protected by UN forces. In addition, the OSCE SMM monitors inspect the whole territory of the conflict on either side of the line of contact.

Chesnakov noted that the American side initially expressed its willingness to discuss the parameters of this basic concept.

"Of course, the Russian party is far from dogmatism, always listens to partners and is ready to edit resolutions at their request, but, of course, not at the expense of fundamental principles," the Russian expert stressed. "I know that the American side agreed with this approach. Therefore, a meeting of Surkov and Volker in Belgrade was scheduled for November 13. But, contrary to these agreements, Volker brought proposals inconsistent with the Russian concept to the meeting itself."

Chesnakov confirmed that it is about the very 29 paragraphs that Volker himself reported after the meeting. However, he did not disclose their content, although he admitted that he had seen these papers.

"The position of the American side is widely known from the numerous interviews of Mr. Volker," the expert said, "First of all, it is that the UN mission must be full-scale and first of all take control of the Russian-Ukrainian border."

As for those three paragraphs, which the Russian delegation deemed acceptable, according to Chesnakov, they confirm "commitment to the Minsk agreements." 

DONi News Agency