Putin and the LNR/DNR leaders: "My envoys for direct contact with Kyiv." Political caricature by Oleksii Kustovskyi
Article by: Vitaly Portnikov
Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin stated that no one in the UN Security Council supported the Russian formula for a UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas. The minister’s statement was made against the background of the Ukrainian delegation’s submission of its own resolution on peacekeepers. Incidentally, this is not the first such Ukrainian project. Ukraine has sent proposals on the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Donbas last year but they were not considered in the Security Council because of Moscow’s objections. I have no doubt that this will be the case again. Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov has already announced that Ukraine’s proposals for the deployment of peacekeepers are contrary to the Minsk agreements. After all, these agreements do not call for any peacekeepers.
One may wonder how the Ukrainian proposals contradict the Minsk agreements and the Russian ones do not. Well, Lavrov has a simple answer. The Russian position is fully in line with the Minsk agreements and the Ukrainian one contradicts them because the Minsk agreements state that the control of the border will be transferred to Ukraine only after it carries out a whole series of political agreements. And Russia proposes to place the peacekeepers only on the line of demarcation. And only to assist the OSCE mission observers. Therefore, these are not UN peacekeepers at all.
All this is the purest kind of demagoguery. UN peacekeepers are UN peacekeepers regardless of where they are stationed or what their mission is called. Any military formation directed by the decision of the UN Security Council is a UN peacekeeping force. There forces are not mentioned in the Minsk agreements. But in the document there is no ban on deploying such forces if they are agreed to by the parties involved. And in the document there is no mention about patrolling the border between Russia and Ukraine by international forces. The control by UN peacekeepers of the part of the Russian-Ukrainian border that is currently under Russia’s actual control is not control by Ukraine. Instead, it would be Russia’s demonstration that it is not claiming the neighbor’s territory. The proof is not in words but in real actions. And the placement of peacekeepers exclusively on the line of demarcation is the actual transfer of the Russian border to this line. Because this would give Russia the right to do as it pleases in the occupied territory — by international accord. And in Moscow they understand perfectly that no one will grant Russia this right.
This is why Putin’s initiative was designed, first of all, to forestall even the possibility of any serious discussion of Ukraine’s peacekeeping proposal. If we draw the correct conclusion from the latest statements by the Russian rulers, there will be no peacekeeping forces in the Donbas. This is what they had to demonstrate.