Lavrov warns that sending peacekeepers to Ukraine may lead to NATO-Russia confrontation

File photo. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with his UAE counterpart (not pictured) following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, 17 March 2022. [EPA-EFE/EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday (23 March) sending peacekeepers to Ukraine may lead to a direct confrontation between Russia and the NATO military alliance.

An international peacekeeping mission should be sent to Ukraine and be given the means to defend itself, the leader of Poland’s ruling party said on Tuesday after meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski made his remarks after he and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia arrived in Kyiv in a show of high-level backing for Zelenskyy, who briefed them on the war with Russia.

Polish, Czech, Slovenian PMs pay surprise visit to embattled Kyiv

The prime ministers of Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia were set to meet with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in the country’s embattled capital Kyiv on Tuesday (15 March).

“I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission – NATO, possibly some wider international structure – but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory,” Kaczynski told a news conference.

“It will be a mission that will strive for peace, to give humanitarian aid, but at the same time it will also be protected by appropriate forces, armed forces,” said Kaczynski, who is seen as the main decision-maker in Poland.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech counterpart Petr Fiala and Slovenia’s Janez Jansa, who all travelled by train, were the first foreign leaders to visit the capital since the invasion last month.

On Saturday Lavrov dismissed the Polish proposals as ‘demagoguery’.

“This is demagoguery and NATO will understand that they need to be realistic,” Lavrov said, as quoted by TASS. “I don’t rule out that if this decision were to pass the bulk of the peacekeeping force would be from Poland and it would take control western Ukraine and Lvov.”

“They would then stay there for a long while, and may be that’s the point of the plan,” the minister went on to say.

The issue is likely to come up when EU and NATO leaders will meet on Thursday for summits in Brussels with the participation of US President Joe Biden.

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