Russia rejects beefed up Ukraine border monitoring
Russia's UN ambassador on Tuesday rejected calls for beefing up international monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border to verify claims that Moscow is sending weapons and troops to bolster separatists in east Ukraine.
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been posted at two border checkpoints but the United States and other countries have called for a greater presence on the frontier.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council that the border monitors were "noting the real situation in terms of refugees, and despite imaginary claims, are confirming the absence of the deployment of Russian military forces."
"We see no need in proposals to expand their mandate to the whole of the Donetsk/Lugansk section of the Ukrainian-Russian border," Churkin said, adding that this was not in line with the latest ceasefire deal.
OSCE monitors have not been able to certify that Russia is sending weapons and fighters, but they have noted that pro-Russia forces never run out of ammunition, hardware and fuel, which suggest a supply line to the east.
Foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany were meeting in Paris on Tuesday to discuss steps to implement the February 12 ceasefire deal reached in the Belarussian capital of Minsk.
The UN Security Council has endorsed the Minsk ceasefire deal, the latest attempt to end fighting that has claimed at least 5,793 lives since April 2014 and displaced more than one million people.
© 2015 AFP