Thursday, 19 February 2015 - 12:42
Ukrainian President Urges UN Peacekeepers Support
Ukraine’s leader urged the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in the country’s easternmost regions to fortify a crumbling truce after government troops relinquished a strategic rail hub to pro-Russian rebels.
President Petro Poroshenko said a potential peacekeeping mission was part of his discussions last week with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, he said. Peacekeepers should be deployed along the front line and rebel-controlled border sections with Russia, Oleksandr Turchynov, the head of Ukraine’s security council, told reporters in Kiev.
The government’s retreat from the key transport hub of Debaltseve -- one of the largest battles in the 10-month conflict -- underscored the difficulty Ukraine has had holding territory the Russian-backed rebels are intent on taking. It also shows the tenuous nature of the truce brokered by European leaders last week in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.
A peacekeeping mission “will be the most effective and best guarantee of security,” Poroshenko told the council on Wednesday. He said he discussed the possibility with other leaders because “we expected that the Minsk agreements won’t be implemented.” (Bloomberg)