Ukraine requests UN peacekeeper deployment

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, already stationed in Ukraine, says it will extend its stay

Ukraine said it has submitted a preliminary request to the United Nations for a peacekeeping mission to be deployed in its eastern regions, where a cease-fire between government and Russian-backed separatist forces is in place.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebiynis said Friday that the size and scope of the proposed mission would be worked out in consultation with the U.N.

A mission would need backing from all five permanent members of the Security Council, however, and Russia – one of those permanent members – is likely to resist the move.

Perebiynis said the preliminary request for the mission has been submitted to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and that another would follow after Ukraine's parliament approves the proposal.

Even if the U.N. does not send a peacekeeping force, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will extend its observer mission to Ukraine for one year, until March 2016, and may double its size to 1,000 observers, an OSCE spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine was first deployed a year ago, following a request from Ukraine. It delivers public reports on fighting between pro-Russian groups and Ukrainians loyal to Kiev as well as on movements across the border between Ukraine and Russia.

The OSCE currently has around 470 civilian monitors on the ground in Ukraine, the organization’s spokeswoman said.

Wire services

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