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April 14, 2014

Ukraine requests UN peacekeepers in eastern region

Ukraine has asked the UN to send peacekeeping troops to combat the separatist movements in the eastern region of the country.

Ukraine has asked the UN to send peacekeeping troops to combat the separatist movements in the eastern region of the country.

In a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ukraine interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said the country is ready to conduct joint counter-terrorist operations with UN peacekeeping forces.

"Then, experts and observers will be able to witness the legality of our actions themselves," Turchynov said.

Ukraine had previously threatened to launch ‘a full-scale anti-terrorist operation’ against pro-Russia separatists, and ordered them to leave the administrative buildings under amnesty by Monday.

"I will do everything I can for the situation to be resolved peacefully as soon as possible."

However, the activists ignored the ultimatum and seized a police station in the city of Horlivka, escalating tensions in eastern and southern regions. The government also failed to follow through on the military crackdown.

Over the past week, activists have either seized or barricaded state buildings in at least ten eastern cities, including Donetsk, Slaviansk and Luhansk, and are demanding greater autonomy from the new Ukrainian government and closer ties with Russia.

Turchynov has accused Russia of sending special units to conduct the seizure of the buildings, but noted that the situation is different from that in the Crimea ‘because the majority of people do not want to support separatists’.

Ban Ki-moon expressed his full support to Turchynov and to the citizens of Ukraine, and also pledged assistance from the UN.

"I will do everything I can for the situation to be resolved peacefully as soon as possible," he said.

However, the deployment seems unlikely as it would have to be approved by the UN Security Council (UNSC), where Russia is one of five permanent members and has the power to veto any resolution.

Meanwhile, Russia has announced that President Vladimir Putin is watching developments with great concern.

Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: "Unfortunately, there’s a great many such appeals coming from the eastern Ukrainian regions addressed directly to Putin to intervene in this or that."

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