02:27 GMT +323 November 2019
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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine (File)

    Poroshenko Wants Peacekeepers in Donbass to Use Arms 'Not Only for Self-Defense'

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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is set to raise the issue of the proposed UN mission to Donbass at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), asking to allow peacekeepers to use weapons "not only for self-defense."

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Poroshenko will hand over his proposal to expand the mandate of the UN mission in Donbass to the UNSC, Ukrainian presidential parliamentary representative Irina Lutsenko said Monday.

    "The [Ukrainian] President Petro Poroshenko, during his speech to the Security Council, will insist on expanding the UN peacekeepers' mandate on maintaining peace, that will enable the 'blue helmets' to use weapons not only for self-defense," Lutsenko said at the parliamentary fractions meeting.

    Lutsenko added that Ukrainian authorities advocated the deployment of peacekeepers across the entirety of the "temporarily occupied" self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. The peacekeepers would be responsible not only for the protecting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission but also for demining activities and disarmament, she explained.

    Both Kiev and Moscow have submitted their draft resolutions for a peacekeeping mission in Donbass to the United Nations, while the Ukrainian president is expected to raise the issue during his speech in the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

    Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the future of the peacekeeping initiative depended on how constructive Kiev's and Washington's position on the issue is.

    In April, Ukrainian President Poroshenko suggested the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in Donbass. The Kremlin reacted to Poroshenko's proposal by stressing the importance of consultations among all sides, including eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics.

    In early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his support of the idea but insisted that the UN mission should only ensure the security of the OSCE staff and that the peacekeepers must be placed on the contact line. Kiev slammed Moscow's proposal, saying that the initiative misrepresented Ukraine's initial project.

    The military operation in eastern Ukraine was launched by Kiev in 2014 after residents of the region refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government. In 2015, a ceasefire agreement brokered by the leaders of the Normandy Four group (France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine) was reached in Minsk, but the situation has remained tense, with both parties accusing each other of violating the ceasefire.

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    Tags:
    peacekeepers, UN Security Council (UNSC), Petro Poroshenko, Donbass, Ukraine
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