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Ukraine Requests UN Peacekeeping Mission

Pro-Russian rebels hold their guns as they patrol the Lenin square in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Mstislav Chernov/AP
Pro-Russian rebels hold their guns as they patrol the Lenin square in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Mstislav Chernov/AP

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine said Friday it has placed a formal request with the United Nations for a peacekeeping mission to be deployed in its eastern regions, where a cease-fire between government troops and Russian-backed separatist forces is in place.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebiynis said 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 is almost certain to resist the move.

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

"I think it will be difficult for Russia to explain why it is blocking this (the request for peacekeepers) if they truly want peace," Perebiynis said.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since unrest flared up in April. Russia denies backing the separatists there.

The Security Council has met more than 30 times on Ukraine since the crisis began, but it has been blocked from taking action by the threat of a Russian veto. The most recent meeting a week ago ended in a spirited exchange among Russia, the United States and Ukraine.

"The challenge with these back-and-forths is that Russia has no credibility whatsoever," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.

There was no immediate comment Friday from Russia's mission to the U.N. on Ukraine's peacekeeping request.

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Ukraine Russia United Nations