Ukraine Peacekeepers Would 'Destroy' Truce: Russia
Ambassador accuses Ukrainian president of calling for UN assistance
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2015 9:30 AM CST
Ukrainian government soldiers ride on a vehicle on the road between the towns of Dabeltseve and Artemivsk, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015.    (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

(Newser) – In an unraveling ceasefire with Russia-backed separatists, Ukraine lost the city of Debaltseve yesterday; the BBC also reports that shelling picked up in the rebel-held city of Donetsk, and that separatists have been conducting mortar attacks in the town of Shirokyne. So it's perhaps not surprising that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked yesterday for the UN to step in and send peacekeepers to the eastern part of the country, as per the Washington Post. But Russia isn't having any of that, telling its adversary to keep UN peacekeepers out or risk violating the Minsk deal reached last week, the BBC reports. Poroshenko's call for help "raises suspicions that he wants to destroy the Minsk accords," says Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador, per the BBC. "If one proposes new schemes right away, the question arises whether [the accords] will be respected."

Poroshenko today called Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merken, and French President Francois Hollande—the parties who drafted the ceasefire—and implored them not to act like "what happened in Debaltseve" met ceasefire mandates, the Post reports. The Russian foreign minister says the taking of the city does adhere to the rules, because Debaltseve was held by rebels before the deal, the BBC notes. One analyst for the BBC isn't even sure a peacekeeping mission would work, saying that "nobody is going to send troops into an active war zone," and that Russia and Ukraine will both dig their heels in to take (or take back) what they think is theirs. Still, the White House seems to know where it stands: "It is … crystal clear that Russia-backed separatists and Russia themselves have not lived up to their commitments that they made," press secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday, per Voice of America. Hollande's office issued a statement saying a "new push" was under way to enforce the ceasefire, the Post notes.