Rasmussen: Russia agreed to peacekeepers because of the threat of Ukraine receiving lethal weapons
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during the 14th Yalta European Strategy (YES) annual meeting that Ukraine's partners could loosen sanctions against Russia after the introduction of UN peacekeepers in Donbas with a full-fledged mandate.
“If Russia accepts what I said - namely, giving the UN peacekeeping mission a clear mandate with full control of the Russian-Ukrainian border and covering the entire territory to protect the population, then a carrot can be given to Russia in the form of the lifting of certain sanctions,” he said.
Rasmussen also expressed the opinion that Russia was forced to voice a proposal for peacekeepers because of the possible provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine.
However, the process of engaging peacekeepers, according to the former NATO Secretary General, will be quite long.
“Now you will deal with a very long process in the UN Security Council. Before the election there will be no real steps; meanwhile, we need to put pressure on Russia. There should be no rejection of any options, including the provision of lethal weapons for Ukraine," added Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Earlier, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin said on the sidelines of the Yalta European Strategy forum that the Ukrainian authorities will insist on several key elements of the peacekeeping operation in the Donbas.
In particular, the Foreign Minister named three positions on which Ukraine is guaranteed not to make concessions.