GERMANY is considering sending troops to monitor the ceasefire negotiated by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) between separatists and the army in eastern Ukraine.
Yesterday a Berlin government source said it was prepared to provide troops and equipment if requested to do so.
The number of troops who may be involved is not yet known and there is no clear operational concept yet, as that would depend on the security situation in Ukraine and conditions set by the OSCE, the source said.
Seven decades after the end of the Second World War, Germany’s Nazi past has made it reluctant to send troops abroad, even on peace-keeping missions.
The latest move comes as pro-Russian rebels tried to seize Donetsk airport, a key transport hub in eastern Ukraine on Friday, despite fierce resistance from Kiev forces.
Last month, France and Germany offered to deploy drones to beef up monitoring of the ceasefire in Ukraine. The German newspaper Bild said 200 soldiers were planned for the mission, with 150 to monitor the crisis area with drones, while a further 50 would provide protection.
The newspaper said the mission was the result of a Franco-German fact-finding tour of the border region in mid-September which found that the ceasefire could only be monitored if armed soldiers protected the monitoring staff.
A spokesman for the German foreign ministry said Berlin was holding talks with Paris about how to support the OSCE but added that they were only exploratory.