World Bulletin / News Desk
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday laid out Kiev's terms for sending a UN-mandated force to conflict-hit east Ukraine, knocking back key demands in a proposal by Russia's Vladimir Putin.
Moscow wants the force to operate only along the frontline between government forces and Russian-backed rebels in east Ukraine, and for the insurgents to agree to the move.
But Poroshenko -- who has long called for UN peacekeepers to be sent to the region -- rebuffed those demands and insisted the mission should patrol the whole conflict zone and secure Russia's porous border with rebel-held territory.
"Its purpose should not be the preservation of Russia's occupation and legalisation of the Russian military presence, but a durable peace," Poroshenko said in an annual address to lawmakers.
Ukraine's pro-Western leader called Putin's plan "kind of strange", but insisted that Kiev remained willing to have a substantive discussion on any proposal at the UN.
Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of being behind the insurgency in a conflict that has killed 10,000 people since 2014.
Despite overwhelming evidence of its involvement, Moscow continues to deny that it has played a role in the fighting.
Some 600 observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are on the ground in eastern Ukraine but their presence has failed to stop the fighting.
Germany voiced growing scepticism Wednesday about a Russian proposal to let UN-mandated forces help protect monitors of the Ukraine conflict.
While Berlin "in principle welcomes" the proposal, "it remains to be seen whether agreement can be reached on the details," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer.
A 2015 peace plan brokered by Germany and France has hit a wall as Moscow and Kiev accuse each other of failing to fulfill their obligations.
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