15 July 2019 - Today, on a National Day of Peacekeepers in Ukraine, United Nations honours more than 35,000 Ukrainian women and men who have served under the UN flag with pride, distinction and courage. UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim, UNHCR Representative Pablo Mateu, congratulated Ukrainian peacekeepers paid tribute to those who have lost their lives in the service of peace.

“This year, the United Nations called on all member-countries to observe the Peacekeepers Day with a very important theme: “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”, chosen to mark the 20th anniversary of the first time that the Security Council explicitly mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians (UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone from 1999 until 2005), - said Pablo Mateu on the official ceremony in Navodnytsky Park in Kyiv near UN Memorial Stone. - Since its independence more than 35 000 Ukrainian “blue helmets” participated in over 20 operations under UN auspices, bringing peace and security to war-torn regions.

In a message to mark the Day, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “UN peacekeeping is a vital investment in global peace and security. But it requires strong international commitment. Peacekeepers protect men, women and children from violence every day, often at great personal risk”.

Today we have a chance to pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of peacekeepers, especially Ukrainian peacekeepers, keeping in mind that many of the peacekeepers have paid the highest price. Today, we honour more than 3,500 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.

Ukraine is a significant UN troop-contributing country, as well as strong supporter of UN peacekeeping operations. Currently, 280 Ukrainians are serving in UN peacekeeping operations and missions in Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Kosovo, South Sudan, Abyei (Sudan) and Cyprus.

Soon Ukraine is also expected to send peacekeepers to Mali operations with 20 military personnel to be sent to this North-African country. So, today I take the opportunity to thank the Ukrainian government, the Kyiv City Administration, but specially the Ukrainian service men and women, as well as all participants of today’s ceremony for your continued support and invaluable contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping activities”.

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On photo: UN RC/HC a.i., UNHCR Representative Pablo Mateu

Over the past 70 years, more than 1 million men and women have served under the UN flag in more than 70 UN peacekeeping operations. Today, more than 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 125 countries currently serve in 14 peacekeeping operations. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of UN peacekeeping.

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