Ukraine president calls for UN peacekeeping troops

Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov has called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities.

Ukraine president calls for UN peacekeeping troops

Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov has called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities.

In a telephone conversation with UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon, Mr Turchynov suggested that an “anti-terrorist operation” could be conducted jointly by Ukrainian security forces and UN peacekeepers, according to the presidential website.

Peacekeepers would have to be authorised by the UN Security Council, in which Russia holds a veto.

The request comes from a government that has so far proved powerless to rein in separatists in the Russian-speaking east of the country, where insurgents have been occupying government offices in cities for the past week.

A deadline for the insurgents to give up weapons and vacate, set by Mr Turchynov, passed on Monday morning without any visible action.

Instead, violence continued. A pro-Russian group stormed a police station in yet another city near the Russian border, while gunmen took control over a military airport.

The Kiev government and Western officials accuse Russia of instigating the unrest and of deploying armed Russian agents to carry them out.

During the storming of a police station in the city of Horlivka earlier on Monday, one man identified himself as a lieutenant colonel of the Russian army.

The events in Horlivka were the latest sign of trouble in Russian-speaking eastern and southern regions, in which pro-Russian gunmen have seized or blocked government buildings in at least nine cities, demanding more autonomy from the central government and closer ties with Russia.

Later in the day, armed men in masks also seized control of a military airport outside the city of Slovyansk, also in the Donetsk region.

The developments came as European Union foreign ministers met in Luxembourg to consider further sanctions against Russia, and three days ahead of a scheduled conference in Geneva involving diplomats from the United States, Russia, the European Union, Ukraine and Switzerland, which is intended to seek ways of defusing tensions.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

Execution Time: 0.221 s