UN (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that peacekeepers can apply force only to defend themselves and the mandate, and such mandates must be decided upon for each specific situation.
US Vice President Mike Pence and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko left the hall of the ministerial meeting before Lavrov started his speech, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
Pence and Poroshenko spoke at the meeting, then Poroshenko left the room. Pence came out a few minutes later.
"We treat strengthening the mandates of peacekeeping missions with caution. Force may be applied by blue helmets only for self-defense and defense of the mandate. Existing experience of providing peacekeepers with additional force powers, for example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in Mali, has not convinced us yet that increased amount of victims caused by peacekeepers in forcing operations are justified by the results achieved on the ground," Lavrov said during a UN Security Council meeting on peacekeeping.
The statement was made amid Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's proposal to raise the issue of the UN mission to Donbass at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), asking to allow peacekeepers to use weapons "not only for self-defense."
"Even if 'force mandates' retain such an option, they should be thoroughly calibrated for specific situations," Lavrov added.
In April, Ukrainian President Poroshenko suggested the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in Donbass. The Kremlin reacted to Poroshenko's proposal by stressing the importance of consultations among all sides, including eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics.
In early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his support of the idea but insisted that the UN mission should only ensure the security of the OSCE staff and that the peacekeepers must be placed on the contact line. Kiev slammed Moscow's proposal, saying that the initiative misrepresented Ukraine's initial project.