EU Resists Kiev’s Calls to Send Military Mission to Eastern Ukraine
The European Union won’t send armed peacekeepers to conflict-torn eastern Ukraine despite reports of ceasefire violations there, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Monday.
"We can only talk about a civilian mission, not military," Tusk told a news conference in Kiev following talks with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, according to the BBC.
Poroshenko said earlier the EU or the UN should deploy peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have been shelling the village of Shyrokyne near Mariupol, the key port city in the region still held by the Ukrainian government forces.
According to observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), tank and mortar rounds pounded Shyrokyne on Sunday despite the ceasefire agreement signed in Belarus’ capital of Minsk in February. Heavy weapons were supposed to be withdrawn from the area under the Minsk truce.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrived in Kiev in the morning and immediately joined Poroshenko and Tusk for talks aimed at speeding up economic and political reforms. Other senior EU officials will be in Kiev to attend a National Reform conference on Tuesday.
Under the Minsk deal, the government in Kiev has promised to offer greater autonomy to the eastern regions and restore economic and trade links but progress in those areas has been slow so far, Dow Jones Newswires said in its coverage of the EU-Ukraine summit talks on Monday.
Ukraine depends on international support to avoid bankruptcy. Western donors have tied their aid to the implementation of far-reaching political and economic reforms, including overhaul of the judiciary, deregulation and privatisations.
Monday’s EU-Ukraine talks were the first since the country signed an association agreement with the Union in June 2014.
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