Ukraine calls for UN-mandated peacekeepers to enforce ceasefire
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.
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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