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    Ukrainian tanks stand in the yard of an apartment block in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine. Fighting in the area around the town between Kiev forces and local militia escalated last week.

    Washington on UN Peacekeepers for Eastern Ukraine Possibility: ‘Worth Exploring’

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    A US State Department official said that the option of having UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine is worth studying in an attempt to resolve the situation in the country.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The option of having UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine is worth studying in an attempt to resolve the situation in the country, a US State Department official told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "We do believe the possibility of a UN peacekeeping force for eastern Ukraine is worth exploring as a means of protecting Ukrainian citizens, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, and as a pathway to restoring Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," the official stated.

    On Tuesday, Russia proposed a draft resolution on sending UN peacekeepers to the Donbass region to provide security for the OSCE motoring mission after Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced the idea. Putin said peacekeepers should operate solely on the contact line between Kiev's forces and those of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    "Any such force should have a broad mandate for peace and security throughout the occupied territory in Ukraine, up to and including the border with Russia, in order to avoid deepening or institutionalizing the divisions inside Ukraine," the official stated. "Our goals are simple: restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and protect Ukrainians no matter what their religion, ethnicity or language."

    The official reiterated the United States believes it is important to improve the security situation as a first step.

    "[The United States has] called repeatedly for Russia to ensure a real and durable ceasefire, disengage along the line of contact, withdraw heavy weapons, and allow full, unfettered, and safe access to the international monitors including to the international border," the official added.

    Kiev insists that the UN mission’s mandate should be broader than what has been initially proposed, and the peacekeepers should be deployed from the contact line all the way to the Ukrainian-Russian border.

    At the same time, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said the deployment of UN peacekeepers could help restore peace in the region.

    Putin’s initiative has been supported by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who said the chance to stabilize the situation in Donbass should be taken advantage of.

    On Tuesday, the head of the Lugansk People's Republic Igor Plotnitsky said any discussions on the possible deployment of UN peacekeepers to Donbass would be possible if Kiev implemented the Minsk agreements.

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    Tags:
    United Nations, Donbass, United States, Ukraine, Russia
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