Pro-Russian separatists in the disputed eastern Ukraine region say they are not opposed to the idea of UN mandated peacekeepers.
The Deputy Defence Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Eduard Basurin, was speaking at a news conference at which Ukrainian prisoners of war were paraded before the cameras:
“With regard to peacekeepers..at the very beginning when this whole conflict started we said to the Russian Federation and the UN Security Council, that the idea could be looked into, and peacekeepers sent here. We were told ‘no’ at that time. So if they want to send peacekeepers we are not against it, let them send them.”
Ukraine’s President 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, Mr Poroshenko said on his website.
Rebels are making it clear that while not opposing peacekeepers between themselves and Ukraine, they are against the idea of any force on Ukraine’s border with Russia.
The Russian UN ambassador has denounced the call for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine as a destructive move.
Vitaly Churkin said it “raises suspicions that he (Poroshenko) wants to destroy the Minsk accords”.