Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called today (February 18, 2015) for an international peacekeeping mission in his nation's war-torn east, an indication that his nation can no longer fend off pro-Russian rebels after a major battlefield defeat, the Washington Post website reports.
A United Nations peace force on the ground would harden the battle lines after 10 months of fighting, forcing Ukraine to give up for now its attempts to reunify the country. But it would also halt Russian-backed rebels from pushing onward toward Kiev, Ukraine's capital.
Poroshenko's suggestion came hours after thousands of Ukrainian troops fled the encircled railway hub of Debaltseve, where fighting only intensified after a cease-fire took effect on February 15.
Nearly one year after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea, the fresh loss threatened tough political consequences for Ukraine's pro-Western president amid questions of how the troops became surrounded in recent weeks.