Hybrid Peacemakers of Putin

Russia officially supported a UN peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced officially at the press conference after the BRICS summit. Undoubtedly, such a step is a response to the initiative of Ukraine to send a UN peacekeeping mission, which the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko plans to present at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly to be open on September 12, 2017. This issue was raised during the telephone talks in the Normandy format on August 22, when the Ukrainian President accused Russia of blocking the involvement of UN peacekeepers into resolving the conflict. So, Putin, in order to demonstrate again his "peaceful politics", publicly "tasked the Foreign Ministry to make a resolution to the Security Council", writes Vitalii Martyniuk, expert of the Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”, in the article for “Obozrevatel”.

What does Russia expect and what is dangerous for Ukraine? As the main problem for the international community is cessation of hostilities, Moscow's initiative relates to sending peacekeepers only to the contact line that can be supported by some UN member states.

Second, the issue of an armed OSCE mission, or at least strengthening of security of the existing OSCE SMM, has been taking place for quite long time, and was actualized after the tragic death of the US observer of the OSCE SMM in April this year. So, by this Moscow appeals to security of international observers and "throws a ball" on the US field.

But the third factor is the most important. In addition to the announced by the Russian leader restrictions for such a peacekeeping mission - only on the contact line and with a task to guarantee security of the OSCE observers that in Russia's vision places such a mission on the level of a "local security firm", Putin voiced the condition that nullifies any Ukrainian initiatives on sending a peacekeeping mission to eastern Ukraine. He emphasized that this issue "cannot be solved without direct contact with representatives of the “DPR" and "LNR". That is, at the level of the United Nations, Russia will publicly support the idea of ​​a peacekeeping mission, but, as the UN peacekeepers can act only after agreement of all sides of the conflict, that is one of three principles of the UN peacekeeping activities, the Kremlin may actually block a possible mission, insisting that sides to the conflict is "DNR"/"LNR".

Ukraine will again face the Russian statement "they are not there" (“ih tam niet”) and a new attempt of the Kremlin to put the conflict at the "civil war" level. As the decision to send a UN peacekeeping mission is approved by the UN Security Council, Russia, as its permanent member, has an opportunity to block this decision unless the "DPR"/"LNR" are recognized as sides of the conflict. If Moscow succeeds to push forward its vision, in which Russia is not a side of the conflict, it will have a legitimate ability to send Russian peacekeepers to this UN peacekeeping mission. It immediately refers to the role of "Russian peacekeepers" in resolving conflicts in Georgia and Moldova, and, therefore, appearance of Russian peacekeepers in the east of Ukraine is one of the hybrid threats to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state.

The international classification at the UN level does not clearly identify who are sides of the conflict, which is called "conflict in and around Ukraine" in documents of the international organizations. Even in the Ukrainian legal field, the conflict is an "antiterrorist operation". So, in the UN, Ukraine will face Russia's opposition to the Ukrainian idea of sending peacekeepers and its attempts to disguise its hybrid war under a "Ukrainian internal conflict".

The chances of Ukraine to endorse its own initiative to send a UN peacekeeping mission are extremely low, but the Ukrainian side should use this opportunity within the UN to demonstrate once again the aggressive policy of Russia that is destroying the world security order.


The material is prepared within the framework of the project "Promoting building of Ukraine's capacities to guarantee citizens’ security in the conditions of hybrid threats" with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation


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