Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Saturday that his country is not on the verge of collapse and that Russian-backed separatists continue to attack Ukrainian soldiers despite a recent cease fire agreement.
“We are very far from a collapse,” Yatsenyuk told Fox News. “You know why? We don’t have a cease fire … because a cease fire means that no one shoots. Cease fire means that Russian-led terrorists do not make any kind of ongoing shellings, that they do not kill Ukrainian soldiers and innocent people.”
Yatsenyuk’s comments come about one week after European leaders brokered a cease fire in the roughly 10-month conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the eastern region of the country.
A top European Union official said Thursday that the 28-member bloc will provide armored cars and satellite imagery to monitor the cease fire but is undecided on whether to commit troops to a proposed United Nations-mandated peacekeeping mission.
Maciej Popowski, deputy secretary general for External Action Service, said “there needs to be more clarity” on the proposal by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko before the EU could decide on sending troops.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian military and separatist representatives on Saturday night exchanged dozens of prisoners. Roughly 140 Ukrainian troops and 52 rebels were exchanged, according to a separatist official overseeing the swap.
He spoke to reporters after a meeting of the EU’s defense ministers in Riga.