KIEV, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian Defense Ministry is considering a possibility that Ukrainian peacekeepers in Africa could be withdrawn to participate in the special operation against federalists in the east, a senior Ukrainian defense official, Andriy Ordinovych, told the UNIAN news agency Friday.
The ministry has drafted a plan for the urgent return of the peacekeepers and in case of further escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine all the 18 helicopter crews involved in the UN peacekeeping missions will be withdrawn, said Ordinovych, of the Ukrainian General Staff department for military cooperation and peacekeeping operations.
The issue is mainly "political" and is to be decided by the country’s president, he said adding that Kiev needs to reach an agreement on this with the United Nations.
“If the situation becomes more threatening and there is an escalation, a political decision will be taken to return them and we will fulfill this task depending on whether we reach a consensus with the UN,” the UNIAN news agency quoted Ordinovych as saying.
However, he said “there is no critical need to return our divisions at the moment.”
In response to growing tensions in Ukraine’s eastern regions, the interim Ukrainian government announced the beginning of a special operation to crack down on the protesters in mid-April. The operation that allowed for the use of military force against civilians led to dozens of deaths and injuries. Moscow has described the operation as a punitive act.