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Austria 'could send soldiers to Ukraine'

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Austria 'could send soldiers to Ukraine'
Austrian peacekeeping troops. Photo: APA/HARALD MINICH
10:11 CEST+02:00
Austria’s Defence Minister Gerald Klug has said there is a possibility that Austria will send soldiers to support a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine if a recently agreed ceasefire proves to be robust.

He made the comment after returning from a Nato summit in Wales. Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the future of the Nato alliance were at the top of the agenda for politicians and diplomats throughout the conference.

However, fresh shelling near Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, has raised fears that the recently agreed ceasefire may collapse.

Fighting in the east has killed some 2,600 people since April.

The truce and roadmap to peace were agreed on Friday. It includes monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian border and a security zone. It is not clear if the OSCE or the UN would oversee any peacekeeping mission.

“The Austrian army has experts who will be available to help if we are asked,” Klug told the Österreich newspaper.

Austria has continued with its tradition of neutrality since the second world war, by not officially joining Nato, along with Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Ireland.  Each of the five countries however continue to support Nato through its Partnership for Peace program.

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