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Tuomioja: Ukraine far from international peacekeeping mission

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja says that the prospect of sending international peacekeepers to Ukraine is still some way off. Commenting on the developing situation Saturday, Tuomioja said deploying an international peacekeeping mission in Ukraine would require consensus among permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Erkki Tuomioja.
Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja says it'll take Security Council consensus to deploy international peacekeepers in Ukraine. Image: Yle

Apart from Ukraine, western countries and even Russia have floated the idea of an international peacekeeping mission for conflict-riven Ukraine. However Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said that a major prerequisite for such a mission would be for the United Nations to acknowledge that it had legitimacy and a mandate to act in the situation.

Furthermore sending peacekeepers into Ukraine would require consensus among permanent members of the UN Security Council. Tuomioja pointed out that such consensus does not yet exist. He rejected the notion that a formal proposal to send peacekeepers to Ukraine had been put forward.

"The elements to secure a resolution in Ukraine exist, but the expansion of the crisis has worked against those elements," Tuomioja said, pointing to protagonists behind the proclamation of the Republic of Donetsk.

According to Tuomioja international peacekeepers would be more likely to be deployed if there was consensus on the matter.

"Afterwards we’d have to see what kind of international presence would be required. The OSCE is already on site, and their mandate can be expanded, but we can’t forget the UN either," Tuomioja added.

Foreign Minister: Finland should be realistic

The Foreign Minister said he doesn’t see any special role for Finland in resolving the crisis in Ukraine. He noted that Finland has already done and is still prepared to do everything it can to ensure the crisis doesn’t spread. Finland will work under the umbrella of the European Union, the European Council and the OSCE, he added.

He cautioned Finland to be realistic and not to offer services for which there is no demand. On the other hand, he said Finland stands ready to assist if needed.

Tuomioja said that the release of OSCE observers in eastern Ukraine Saturday was good news - the only good news in days.

He interpreted their release to mean that local players in the conflict are not questioning the role or scope for action of the OSCE. Armed groups are not receiving their orders from Moscow or from Kiev, he noted.

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