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Merkel in telephone call with Putin

Movement on UN mission in Donbass

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone on Monday to discuss his country's recent proposal for a UN Blue Helmet mission in eastern Ukraine. The proposal was met with reservations when it was put forward last week because it contradicted an earlier Ukrainian proposal.

Merkel welcomed Putin's initiative on principle. However, she pointed out in her phone call with Putin on Monday that changes would have to be made to the UN Blue Helmets' mandate. In particular, their mission must not be restricted to the contact line separating those regions controlled by the Ukrainian government and those controlled by separatists.

President Putin reacted positively and confirmed his intention to lift this restriction. The Blue Helmet mission was, rather, to serve to protect the OSCE's observers wherever they were being deployed under the Minsk Agreement.

Contradictory proposals

President Putin had recently put forward a proposal to deploy a contingent of UN Blue Helmets in eastern Ukraine. On Friday, a Federal Foreign Office spokesman pointed out that Ukraine had already put forward a similar proposal some time ago. The two proposals were, however, to a large extent contradictory.

The Minsk Agreement: Negotiations under what is known as the Normandy Format, comprising Chancellor Merkel and Presidents Hollande, Putin and Poroshenko, were concluded with the signing of a 13-point package of measures on 11 and 12 February 2015. The aim of these measures is to restore the Ukrainian government's control over the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, which is currently controlled by separatists. However, implementation of the package of measures is progressing very slowly and has time and again come to a complete standstill.

Sep 11, 2017