Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that a UN-mandated multinational peacekeeping operation in Russian-occupied Donbas, eastern Ukraine, could be a decisive factor in ending sufferings of Ukrainians.
"I am confident that a UN-mandated multinational peacekeeping operation with the only clear goal to restore Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity could be a decisive factor in ending sufferings of the Ukrainian people. We believe there is no better way but dispatching such an operation, under the robust UN mandate," Poroshenko said at the General Debate at the high-level event on Action for Peacekeeping within the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York City on September 26.
"As we speak, foreign military aggression against Ukraine, in violation of the UN Charter and contrary to the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and Security Council, is raging on," he said. "The temporary occupation of parts of Ukraine's territory continues to cause suffering of the Ukrainian people and undermine regional and international peace and security."
According to conservative estimates by the UN, the number of conflict-related casualties in Ukraine currently stands at over 35,000, including more than 10,000 people killed and almost 25,000 injured. The number of internally displaced persons is well over 1.5 million people.
"It could look like yet another dry statistics, which this Organization is full of, but for me and Ukrainians these are scars on the very heart," he said.
According to him, it would greatly assist in making Russia fulfil the Minsk agreements in good faith.
"I am grateful to Germany, France, and the United States for mobilizing international support of this initiative," Poroshenko said.
Yet, he said, Russia is against the peacekeepers. "One reason for that is that the Kremlin is afraid. It is afraid that the peacekeepers will see Russian troops and military hardware all over the occupied territory. They are also afraid of losing control over the Ukraine-Russia border used by the Kremlin to keep infiltrating its military into Donbas," he said.
"Is it not for the UN to stand up to the challenge with courage?" he wondered.
He recalled that Ukraine's request to deploy the UN peacekeepers in Russian-occupied Donbas had not been addressed yet.
"We see it as a test for the ability of our Organization to act in a challenging conflict situation. A test, which still remains to be taken," he said.