World

Ukraine's leader pushes for intl peacekeeping mission to ensure cease-fire in war-torn east

  • Men across a destroyed bridge, fallen onto the road towards the airport, the scene of heavy fighting in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, March 1, 2015.  The recent pullback of some weapons from the line separating government and rebel forces in Ukraine seems to have boosted the prospects for peace, although both sides are warning of their readiness to resume fighting if necessary.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Men across a destroyed bridge, fallen onto the road towards the airport, the scene of heavy fighting in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The recent pullback of some weapons from the line separating government and rebel forces in Ukraine seems to have boosted the prospects for peace, although both sides are warning of their readiness to resume fighting if necessary.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic speaks at a press conference on the latest report by the UN human rights mission in Ukraine at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, March 2, 2015. More than 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict almost a year ago that has led to a "merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure," the U.N. human rights office said. (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)

    Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic speaks at a press conference on the latest report by the UN human rights mission in Ukraine at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, March 2, 2015. More than 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict almost a year ago that has led to a "merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure," the U.N. human rights office said. (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)  (The Associated Press)

  • The charred wreckage of an armored fighting vehicle lies under a destroyed bridge, the scene of heavy fighting, on the road to the airport in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The piecemeal pullback of heavy weapons Friday from the line separating government and rebel forces in Ukraine has boosted the prospects for peace, although both sides are warning of their readiness to resume fighting if necessary.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    The charred wreckage of an armored fighting vehicle lies under a destroyed bridge, the scene of heavy fighting, on the road to the airport in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The piecemeal pullback of heavy weapons Friday from the line separating government and rebel forces in Ukraine has boosted the prospects for peace, although both sides are warning of their readiness to resume fighting if necessary.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

Ukraine's president has a signed a decree opening the way to a formal request for international peacekeepers to be stationed in eastern regions where government forces are battling Russian-backed separatists.

President Petro Poroshenko's office said Monday the appeal for a contingent of peacekeepers will be addressed to the United Nations and the European Union. His office gave no specific details on the mission's composition or any timetable for it but Russia is strongly against the idea.

Fighting has waned substantially in eastern Ukraine in recent days as a cease-fire deal forged last month increasingly takes effect, but both sides have complained of sporadic violations.

The U.N. human rights office on Monday raised its toll of the fighting, saying more than 6,000 people have died since the conflict began in April.