A secret plan to deploy NATO peacekeepers to Ukraine is brewing in Poland

NATO peacekeepers

Meeting of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky with the Prime Ministers of Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland in Kyiv on 16 March 2022. Photo: Press Office of the President of Ukraine
 

International

The Polish outlet Onet.Pl has gained access to a secret project to deploy peacekeepers from a number of NATO countries to Ukraine developed at Poland’s Ministry of National Defense. Warsaw is expected to officially present it at the NATO summit on March 24. The US does not want to participate but may agree to a mission of several other countries.

The new project emerged thanks to a visit to Kyiv of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, as well as the Heads of Government of the Czech Republic and Slovenia last week, Onet.pl writes. During that meeting, the Polish Deputy Prime Minister made a proposal to organize an armed peacekeeping mission from NATO and possibly other international organizations. The entry of peacekeepers will be possible only with the consent of Kyiv.

Onet sources claim that there is disagreement between the Polish presidential office and the government in their understanding of the peacekeeping mission. Polish President Andrzej Duda will not agree to the proposed mission until the United States gives it the green light.

NATO peacekeepers Ukraine

Meeting of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky with the Prime Ministers of Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland in Kyiv on 16 March 2022. Photo: Press Office of the President of Ukraine

Therefore, before the NATO summit, the project of the future mission will be sent to Washington, and the US decision will determine the fate of the operation.

According to Polish journalists, the size of the international peacekeeping contingent should be up to 10,000 people. The plan is for peacekeepers to ensure the security of humanitarian supplies and corridors, including the creation of a no-fly zone over them. The contingent would consist of soldiers from at least several countries, including NATO countries.

Onet.pl writes that the Ministry of Defense is working on the project in consultation with the leadership of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), and consultations will be sought with the President’s Chancellery and the National Security Bureau.

Among the possible options is the idea to close the skies over the largest Ukrainian cities. This will help protect their populations from bomb and missile attacks.

The idea of such a peacekeeping mission was not widely discussed before. Poland only briefly voiced the proposal, and received a sceptical response from the Biden administration in the USA. US State Department spokesman Ned Price, when asked to comment on the Polish proposal, stated a few days ago that sending US troops to Ukraine would only heat up tensions, which means that the US is against sending troops to Ukraine. This position was a day later reiterated by Jen Psaki.

NATO peacekeepers Ukraine

Meeting of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky with the Prime Ministers of Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland in Kyiv on 16 March 2022. Photo: Press Office of the President of Ukraine

Earlier, the Polish proposal for a peacekeeping mission was also rejected by NATO. While Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured that the allied countries were ready to provide all necessary support to Ukraine, he also stated that the allies also agreed that NATO should not move its forces either to Ukraine’s land territory or to its airspace.

However, Poland kept trying to secure support, and apparently had found it. Government spokesman Piotr Muller had stated that Poland has received positive responses from separate NATO countries despite official sceptical responses. He did not disclose which countries these were, but officially, Lithuania and Denmark had previously expressed support for such a mission. Poland is currently in talks with other Western capitals.

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