Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia is ready to agree to allowing additional international observers in warring eastern Ukraine to be armed with pistols.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has said it wants to send an armed police mission to eastern Ukraine to ensure that local elections can take place in a secure atmosphere. The 2015 Minsk accord on resolving the conflict in the region between Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces calls for elections to be held there.

In an interview on state TV Saturday, Lavrov said Russia agrees OSCE monitors along the conflict line and at weapons storage sites should "have the right to carry personal guns ... pistols for self-defense."