2014-10-09 17:54:00

Ukrainian president: Border control key to ending conflict

(Vatican Radio) Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has urged the West to help control the Ukrainian-Russian border amid United Nations concern over a mounting death toll in the war-torn east of the country. 

Listen to Stefan Bos' report: 

His appeal came while new fighting between government forces and pro-Russian forces reportedly killed at least two people when rocket fire hit shops in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk. 

He told visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland that Kiev regaining full control over the border with Russia was crucial to end the bloodshed in his nation's east.

Poroshenko urged Europe's security organization, OSCE, to help stop the alleged flow of Russian weapons, and troops, into Ukraine. "We absolutely don't have progress on putting control on the Ukrainian-Russian border," the president complained.

"We think that we need more coordination with the the U.S., with the European Union [and] with the OSCE. And we think that without closing the border [for Russian troops and weapons] and without restoring the Ukrainian control on the border it would be impossible to stop the conflict," Poroshenko said.     


His views were shared by U.S. Assistant Secretary Nuland, who delivered monitoring and other equipment to Ukrainian border guards. 

Washington will also provide 50 armoured vehicles and thousands of bullet proof vests to Ukraine's military. Yet, Nuland regrets that OSCE observers are not able to monitor a fragile ceasefire everywhere.

“Where they are most needed, where the shooting is still continuing, they are not able to work," she said while visiting Ukraine’s Border Guard Service in Bortnichi in the Kiev area. 

"[Therefore] we joined President Poroshenko in insisting that the ceasefire be honoured in full, particularly at the Donetsk airport, Debaltseve, Schasttya and also that there be equal attention given to the international border, the Ukraine-Russia border,” Nuland added. 


Ongoing fighting is still killing many people, explains Gianni Magazzeni of the United Nations Human Rights Office. 

“The day after the ceasefire, counting from the 6th of September to the 6th of October, still 331 people were killed and 831 were wounded, which is an average of slightly over 10 people per day.”

The U.N. claims more than 3,660 people have do far died in the conflict.  

Fighting erupted in April, following the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.  

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