Russia's Lavrov says OSCE monitors in Donbas can have personal firearms

Russia's Lavrov says OSCE monitors in Donbas can have personal firearmsRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow has approved the arming of OSCE monitors who are working on the contact line in Donbas with firearms.

However, he finds the idea of creating an OSCE police mission to contradict the Minsk Agreements.

"We are ready to increase the number of monitors on the contact line and in warehouses, make this presence round-the-clock and enable monitors to carry personal firearms," he said.

"I think it will be useful and will help calm down the situation on the contact line and may help stop regular withdrawal of heavy weapons from warehouses in violation of obligations under the Minsk Agreements. Such violations are committed primarily by the Ukrainian armed forces," he said.

"If by an armed OSCE mission you meant the idea that is now being promoted from Kyiv, that an armed police mission should be deployed in Donbas to ensure law and order there, this idea absolutely contradicts the Minsk Agreements," Lavrov said.

"The Minsk Agreements provide that Ukraine is obligated to recognize legislatively and stipulate in the constitution the special status of Donbas, including the right of Donbas to have law enforcement forces," he said.

"Therefore, no armed foreign missions to maintain order in Donbas are needed in this situation," he said.
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