There is no need for the presence of Belarusian peacekeeping forces in Donbas, Denis Pushilin, the leader of the unrecognized Donetsk republic (DPR), said on September, 26.
“To maintain order in its territory and at its borders, the Donetsk People’s Republic does not need peacekeeping forces from Belarus. The law enforcement bodies of the republic do cope with these tasks independently and quite effectively. Minsk is a venue for the negotiations of the [Trilateral] Contact Group, which is a very valuable and more than adequate contribution of Belarus to the peace process. Therefore, we appreciate but reject the Belarusian leadership’s proposal to send their contingent to our borders,” the statement reads.
Granting an interview to Ukrainian media workers on Thursday, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka confirmed his readiness to send Belarusian peacekeepers to Donbas, and even take control of a part of the Ukrainian-Russian border ‘if the both sides agreed’.
“If you want us to close the-400 kilometre stretch of the Ukraine-Russia border which is currently not being controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, we will close it. Although getting involved in the conflict is fraught with a big challenge, but we are ready to send in peacekeepers, border guards, troops, as you wish, but we are ready to close this section of the border,” he said.
Notably, the Kremlin immediately responded to the statement. According to Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, two sides of the conflict – Kyiv and the self-proclaimed republics – should be asked about the issue of Belarusian peacekeepers.
Lukashenka has repeatedly offered Belarus’ its assistance to deconflict the situation in Donbas. In October 2018, when making a speech at the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting in Minsk, he stressed that Belarus was ready to take responsibility for ensuring peace in eastern regions of Ukraine and exerting control over the Russian-Ukrainian border.
According to him, if Belarus were entrusted with a role in the conflict settlement in Ukraine, it would do everything necessary without taking anyone’s side. However, ше is highly unlikely that the Ukrainian side will give its consent to the presence of Belarusian peacekeepers in Donbas due to the country’s close ties to Russia.