Russian Federation and US Analyze UN Deployment in Ukraine

Russia and the US have thoroughly discussed the possibility to deploy a United Nations mission to eastern Ukraine, Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov said following his meeting with US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, held in Belgrade on November 13.

Russian Federation and the United States appear to be a long way from agreeing to send worldwide peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine, after their latest round of talks on how to end a conflict that has split the region and killed 10,000 people since 2014. At the same time, the Russian delegation "accepted" only three of the 29 paragraphs of the proposals submitted by the USA side regarding the Russian draft of the Security Council resolution on peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, TASS reported. "Our delegation considered three of these to be acceptable", Mr Surkov added.

Neither side revealed details of the talks in Belgrade, which took place just days after the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington was preparing to propose the deployment of 20,000 worldwide peacekeepers to Ukraine.

Ukraine says it is working closely with the USA and other western powers on the possible deployment of peacekeepers to the eastern Donbas region, to help end its rumbling conflict between government forces and Russian-led separatists.

According to the reports, Surkov and Walker agreed that the Minsk Agreement signed by the parties involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine in September 2014 must be enforced.

A statement released by the United States embassy in Kiev acknowledged the distance that remains between the two sides after the third meeting in as many months between Mr Volker and Mr Surkov. "Both sides agreed to reflect on the discussions today and to think about further ways to address this challenge".

However, the Ukrainian authorities said they were not satisfied with the format of the mission proposed by Russia and demanded that "peacekeeping forces" be deployed on the Ukrainian-Russian border.

"We are not in agreement on this yet", he told reporters in Washington on November 3.

The U.S. envoy said that Washington wants the mission to monitor the entire conflict area and make sure heavy weapons are pulled back.

Belgrade is a neutral venue.

Volker and Surkov earlier held talks on October 7 in Belgrade and on August 21 in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

Tillerson appointed Volker, a former USA ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, as the US special representative for Ukraine negotiations in July.

Meanwhile, a top USA diplomat was set to visit Ukraine this week at the end of a 10-day trip to Europe.

A statement said that Mitchell will also meet business and civic leaders to discuss Ukrainian efforts to transform the country into a "prosperous, secure, and democratic European state".

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