Washington and Kiev have expressed reluctance to consider a proposal by Moscow for the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, where government troops and pro-Russia forces are engaged in a long-running conflict, the Russian ambassador to the UN says.
Russia’s TASS news agency cited Vasily Nebenzya as saying on Monday that Washington and Kiev had formally told Moscow at the UN Security Council that they were unwilling to work on Russia’s draft resolution concerning the issue because they had too many objections to it.
“The US and Ukrainian delegations said after the first discussion that they were not ready to work on the (Russian) text in future,” Nebenzya was quoted as saying.
“(They said) they had significant objections and that, possibly, the Ukrainians would have a counter proposal to deploy peacekeepers to Donbass (eastern Ukraine),” added the Russian envoy.
Earlier on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned against “eroding the essence of the Russian proposal” on the UN peacekeeping mission and called for a “constructive stance” on behalf of the US and Ukraine.
On September 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the engagement line in Donbass to help protect ceasefire monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and contribute to efforts aimed at ending the conflict between the warring sides in the volatile region.
The OSCE is tasked with monitoring the situation in Ukraine’s eastern areas, where the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are located.
Putin later announced that the peacekeepers could also be deployed in other areas where OSCE inspectors work, and not just along the line of contact between the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian forces.
Conflict erupted in Ukraine following the overthrow of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 and was further escalated after people in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for unification with Russia in March 2014. The West brands the unification as annexation of the territory by Russia. The US and its allies in Europe also accuse Russia of having a major hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, an allegation denied by Moscow.
The crisis has left over 10,000 people dead and more than a million others displaced, according to the United Nations.
In September 2014, the government in Kiev and the pro-Russia forces signed a ceasefire agreement in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk in a bid to halt the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern regions.
The warring sides also inked another truce deal, dubbed Minsk II, in February 2015 under the supervision of Russia, Germany, and France.
Since then, however, sporadic fighting has occurred, with the parties blaming each other for initiating the violations.