MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Wolfgang Ischinger, a German diplomat who chairs the Munich Security Conference (MSC) said Moscow's support for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbass region of Ukraine could be used as a chance to improve relations between Russia and the West.
In early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support for the idea of sending peacekeepers to Ukraine in order to ensure the security of theOrganization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission in Donbass. The Russian initiative envisages the deployment of peacekeepers which would only operate along the line of contact dividing Ukrainian troops from pro-independence fighters. Kiev insists on a broader mandate for the peacekeeping mission, which would allow it to operate throughout Donbass up to the Ukrainian-Russian border.
"There is a change in the Russian position. It should be carefully analyzed. Can we make something out of it? Not only for Donbass, but also for East-West relations in general, for confidence-building between the West and Russia. It is a good diplomacy. It would be bad diplomacy to dismiss the Russian proposal as a trick or feint without thorough analysis," Ischinger said in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt.Relations between the West and Russia deteriorated against the background of Ukrainian crisis, which erupted in 2014 following Kiev's decision to launch a military operation in the east of the country after local residents refused to recognize the un-elected government that came to power after the February coup. Despite the brokered ceasefire, the situation there remains tense.
The Western countries imposed rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the conflict and violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity. Moscow has repeatedly denied all allegations and introduced retaliatory restrictions on food imports.