Ukraine needs unity of the European Union and its support for the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the occupied part of eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in an interview with Handelsblatt.
"Most of all, we need a single and strong EU, as well as its solidarity with Ukraine. And at this stage, it's primarily about the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Ukraine," he said.
According to the president, there is certain progress in the issue of introducing such a mission to the occupied part of Donbas.
Read alsoUkraine reacts to Putin's plans to "agree to int'l administration in Donbas""There has already been certain progress in this regard: when in 2015 I first appealed to the United Nations for the introduction of blue helmets, everyone was against it. Our American and European friends were also in doubt. During my meeting with President Trump in June 2017, he confirmed willingness to support such a UN mission to liberate part of Ukraine from Russian occupation forces," he said.
Poroshenko also expressed gratitude to Germany and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel: "Firstly, it's over the fact that the coalition agreement of the new government provided for a whole chapter on Ukraine, including in the part of support of the UN peacekeeping mission in the east of the country. This has an important symbolic meaning."
The Head of State underlined the existing differences in the Ukrainian and Russian positions on the introduction of the peacekeeping mission.
"Russia insists on the deployment of the blue helmets along the contact line, so that they do not interfere with the occupation forces. This is unacceptable. Later, Russia agreed that they would operate throughout the territory, but, according to the Russian plan, they should only be there to accompany OSCE SMM observers. We want blue helmets to disarm the illegal armed groups, defend local residents there, and control the inflow and movement of military equipment. And, of course, they must control part of the Russian-Ukrainian border, which is temporarily beyond Ukraine's control," the president explained.
Answering a question on how Berlin and Brussels should act in this regard, the president said: "They should urgently ensure that we can get the mandate from the UN Security Council. Plus it's about ceasefire... After all, amid the ongoing hostilities, peacekeepers will not be able to deploy there. And our Western partners should further realize that sanctions are an extremely effective tool - only they can force Putin to sit down at the negotiating table. If the Russian aggression continues, sanctions will need to be strengthened."
Poroshenko also stressed once again that in the east of Ukraine "there is no internal dispute over power, no frozen conflict – there is an armed aggression on the part of Russia against Ukraine."
"And neither is this a frozen conflict, although its settlement was postponed every time: first until New Year, then until Russia elections. Putin should finally explain why he still fails to allow the deployment of a peacekeeping mission aimed to finally bring peace," the head of state said.