United Nations: Ukraine's foreign minister is calling on Russia to come to "real negotiations" about a cease-fire and stabilization in Ukraine's war-torn east which will require fair elections that are internationally monitored.
Pavlo Klimkin said in an interview with The Associated Press that Russian military and special forces are "in full command" in the rebel-controlled eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
He cited Ukraine's capture a few days ago of a large Russian truck filled with weapons that was driven by a Russian special forces officer as one of many examples of Russia's presence. Russia has scoffed at the allegations and pro-Russia rebels dismissed the Ukrainian claim as a fabrication.
The Kiev government has had no control over parts of eastern Ukraine since pro-Russian separatist rebels began fighting government forces in April 2014, a conflict that has since claimed more than 6,400 lives and displaced more than 1.5 million people. An armistice signed in the Belarus capital Minsk in February requires both sides to pull back heavy weapons from the front line, but international observers vetting that process regularly note violations.
Klimkin said the rebels are persisting only because of Russian weaponry and military personnel crossing the border into eastern areas which the government doesn't control. He said international monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe must have access to all areas in Donetsk and Luhansk. Now, he said, they don't have access to up to 50 percent of the territory in the coal mining region.