KIEV, Ukraine, April 14 (UPI) -- Ukrainian acting President Oleksandr Turchynov spoke by phone with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding the crisis in eastern Ukraine, according to an official statement from the president's press office.
During their conversation, the Ukrainian president told the UN secretary-general that Ukraine would welcome UN peacekeeping assistance and suggested a joint operation with the UN. "We do not object and even welcome holding of joint counterterrorist operation in the East," said Turchnyov. "Then, experts and observers will be able to witness the legality of our actions themselves."
The president argued that a substantive counter-terrorist operation is necessary to respond to the pro-Russian militants' seizure of government administrative buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities, where "the majority of people do not want to support separatists."
"Ukrainian citizens ask the government to protect them from terrorism and armed criminals. We cannot leave our citizens alone with armed terrorists who threaten their life and health and try to tear our country to pieces."
According to the president's press office, the UN secretary-general told Turchynov, "I would like to express my full support to you personally and to the people of Ukraine. You can completely count on the UN as a partner. I will do everything I can for the situation to be resolved peacefully as soon as possible."