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vitaly churkin

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin has denounced the Ukraine’s call as a destructive move.

The Ukrainian president’s call “raises suspicions that he wants to destroy the Minsk accords”, Vitaly Churkin said.

The Minsk ceasefire deal was reached a week ago but fighting round the strategic town of Debaltseve saw the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops there.

Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine also criticized the proposal.

Vitaly Churkin accused President Petro Poroshenko of seeking a new scheme instead of doing what he had signed up to.

“If one proposes new schemes right away, the question arises whether [the accords] will be respected,” he said.Ukraine war Debaltseve retreat

The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic described the call for peacekeepers as a violation of the Minsk accords.

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, the four parties to the Minsk accords, held further talks over the phone on February 19.

The French presidency said the ceasefire breaches were denounced and the leaders called for “the implementation of the full package of measures agreed in Minsk” including a full ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and the release of prisoners.

Petro Poroshenko called for UN-mandated peacekeepers to enforce the ceasefire after fighting continued following the rebel advance on Debaltseve.

A police mission by the European Union would be the best format for a peacekeeping operation, Petro Poroshenko said on his website.

It would help guarantee security “in a situation where the promise of peace is not being kept”, he told an emergency meeting of Ukraine’s national security and defense council.

Nearly 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers withdrew from Debaltseve on February 18.

Petro Poroshenko said the withdrawal had been organized, but that at least six soldiers were killed and more than 100 wounded.

Earlier, a senior Ukrainian military official said 22 Ukrainian soldiers had died in Debaltseve since the ceasefire came into effect on February 15. Rebel claims of a much higher figure have been dismissed by the government.

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The United Nations has decided to end its military observer mission in Syria, days before its mandate expired.

A small, civilian office will be set up instead to maintain political contacts.

“The conditions to continue UNSMIS were not filled,” France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud said after a Security Council meeting.

The United Nations has decided to end its military observer mission in Syria, days before its mandate expired

The United Nations has decided to end its military observer mission in Syria, days before its mandate expired

The UN mission had been part of envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan. But continued violence made the observers’ mission increasingly difficult.

A bomb exploded close to their hotel in Damascus on Wednesday. The observers’ patrols were suspended in mid-June because of the “significant risk to their lives” and diplomats said the condition for renewing their mandate – a reduction in violence – had not been met.

Russia warned earlier that pulling out of Syria would have “serious negative consequences” for the region.

Moscow’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Russia, which has vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, wanted the UN to make an international appeal for the Syrian conflict to end.

Kofi Annan resigned as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria a fortnight ago, complaining of a “clear lack of unity” in the Security Council.

Although the 101 remaining military observers will leave Damascus over the next eight days, a civilian liaison office is due to remain and a new special envoy is expected to be appointed.

Vitaly Churkin said Russia had called for a meeting on Friday of Security Council members as well as representatives from Saudi Arabia and Iran to discuss the crisis.