Friday

22nd Mar 2019

Ukraine calls for international peacekeepers

  • The Minsk ceasefire agreed earlier this month is crumbling (Photo: Marco Fieber)

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has called for international peacekeepers to be deployed in the east of Ukraine amid a crumbling ceasefire.

They would help guarantee security "in a situation where the promise of peace is not being kept" he said Wednesday, referring to a 15 February truce brokered with the leaders of Russia, Germany, and France in Minsk.

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  • Ukraine president Poroshenko (r) visiting the Donetsk region (Photo: President of Ukraine Official Website)

The decision to make a UN request was taken during an emergency meeting of the country's security council.

“The best format for us is the police mission of the EU”, Poroshenko said according to his press office, after the meeting.

“It will be the most efficient guarantor of security in the situation when the word of peace is not observed either by Russia or those who are supported by it”, noted Poroshenko.

The Ukrainian envoy to the EU, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, pushed the idea further, and called for EU soldiers on the ground.

“We need to think about some innovative ideas at this stage”, Yelisieiev said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt.

He called for an “EU military operation” in the conflict zone in the east of Ukraine, the Donbas region.

“The EU has great experience with such military operations. It worked in the Balkans to restore peace and stability. Why shouldn't the EU be able to do that in Donbas too?”.

The statements on an international peacekeeping mission come after thousands of Ukrainian troops retreated from the strategic eastern town Debaltseve.

The rebel's advance on Debaltseve took place despite the ceasefire, attracting widespread condemnation.

The EU's foreign service Wednesday said it represented “a clear violation of the ceasefire”.

German chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson later that day echoed the condemnation, but added that the Minsk accord is not dead yet.

“We believe the Minsk process is under strain, it has perhaps been damaged, but we still believe it makes sense to continue working”, German spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Russia, for its part, continued to deny it is breaching the ceasefire and said EU troops would violate the Minsk agreement.

“If some other schemes are proposed, it raises the question of whether the Minsk agreements are going to be adhered to or not”, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, according to Russian news website Sputnik.

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