"We are very pleased to see this first signal, in my opinion, the striking signal that Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed today [on September 5], that he wants to further discuss a demand which Russia had rejected in the past, namely, the use of blue helmets, UN soldiers, a blue helmet mission in eastern Ukraine to implement the cease-fire," he said at a briefing in Berlin on Tuesday.
"More importantly, this offer of a UN mission in eastern Ukraine shows that Russia has undergone a change in its politics that we should not gamble away. It would be good if we take it as an opening to talk about new ways of detente," he added.
According to Gabriel, Putin's proposal is a good opportunity to achieve a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and thus make a step towards weakening sanctions against Russia.
It is currently not clear whether the foreign minister of Germany, which, along with France, is a partner of Ukraine in the so-called "Normandy format" of talks on the settlement in the occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas, is familiar with the initiative of the Russian president in full. Earlier, Gabriel has already spoken out for easing the EU sanctions against Russia.
In calling for the UN peacekeeping force, Putin had insisted that it should be restricted to operating on the "demarcation line" between Ukrainian forces and Russian-supported separatists and should only ensure the security of the unarmed mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
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