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Will the peace corps bring peace to Donbas?

Will the peace corps bring peace to Donbas?
Article by: Yevhen Solonyna
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

Kyiv – Ukraine will ask the UN and the EU to involve a peacekeeping mission in regulating the Ukraine-Russia conflict in Donbas, according to a statement made by President Petro Poroshenko after the NSDC hearing. However, there can be no Russians among the peace troops, as Russia is a side in the conflict, Poroshenko says. Experts see both positive and negative outcomes for Ukraine, the separatists and the Russian government are completely against the idea.

Russia, as the aggressor, cannot and will not participate in the peace mission in Donbas, stated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today. According to him, Ukraine will not agree to a peacekeeping mission which may threaten with legalizing the thousands of Russia military personnel which, according to the Ukrainian troops, the NATO air recon mission, the leaders of the UK, Lithuania and the US, are active in Ukrainian Donbas.

“We have enough such peacekeepers already,” Petro Poroshenko added.

Yesterday, under his leadership, the National Security and Defense Council decided to ask the United Nations to send a peace mission to Ukraine, which would act according to the mandate of the UN Security Council. Poroshenko claims that the decision was already worked over by the NSDC apparatus, as well as the government, and that the best way to go about it would be to involve a police EU mission with a UN mandate.

“We are discussing the possibility of inviting a UN peace mission to Ukraine. We see an EU police mission as the best choice. We are beginning official work: a petition to our partners, consultations, which may ensure peace,” stated the President.

Poroshenko emphasized that these actions would be the best way out of the situation wherein “neither Russia nor the people it supports” do not observe the ceasefire.

“We want peace but we are afraid of fighting” – Pashynsky

The Parliamentary majority approved of the President’s decision, though they were not very optimistic.

In particular, People’s Front member, head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee for National Security and Defense Serhiy Pashynsky told Radio Liberty: “Russia has been deemed the aggressor state, and its troops won’t act as peacekeepers. I support this step (to invite the EU peace mission). We want peace. But we have to acknowledge that the war will not end with this. Peace will come when we provide ample weapons to our army, when we reorganize it, so that Putin see that further advances have no prospects.”

Earlier, the leaders of pro-Russian armed groups DNR and LNR insisted on international peacekeepers coming to the Ukrainian East, together with Russian troops. Now, after Poroshenko stated the unacceptability of the Russians’ participation in the mission, the rhetoric of the separatist sand the Russian Federation changed dramatically. As such, one of the leaders of ‘DNR’ Denis Pushilin and Russia’s representative in the UN Vitali Churkin stated that inviting peace troops to the Ukraine-Russia border would violate the Minsk agreements. As such, Pushilin promises to appeal the decision of inviting European peace troops to the Ukraine-Russia border and the demarkation line.

Russian MFA representative Alexandr Lukashevich made a similar statement on Thursday.

“We don’t know the details of this initiative, as well as the mandate and the goals of such a mission for peace. We see that the regulation should take place based on the conception of the Minsk Accords,” stated the Russian diplomat.

The Kremlin has not reacted to the violation of these accords by the Russian forces and mercenaries during the attacks on the town of Debaltseve and the village of Shirokine.

Ukrainian experts see both positive and negative outcomes for Ukraine in this situation. Political technologist Taras Berezovets expressed his doubt that the involvement of peace corps in Donbas would be able to solve the problem in the short term.

At the same time, Berezovets approved of the possibility of involving a policing EU mission in the peace corps, saying that their success is “a matter of honer for Hollande and Merkel.”

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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