Co-Director of foreign relations and international security programs at the Razumkov Centre Oleksiy Melnyk is convinced that the statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the introduction of the UN peacekeepers into the contact line in Donbas is caused by his desire to win the war with Ukraine, so Russia is trying to use the idea of a peacekeeping mission in its own interests.
“With regard to the statement on peacekeepers, it is important to understand that the logic of the actions of the Russian president and the Russian leadership in general is dictated not by the attempt to resolve the conflict, but to achieve the victory. That’s why the war was launched, starting from Crimea and ending with Donbas”, - said Melnyk.
“Therefore, we have to take such initiatives of the Russian leadership in this context. It doesn’t mean that we must categorically oppose such initiatives, but we must be very vigilant, we need to have our plan, our own vision of what peacekeeping mission should be, its format and mandate in order not to allow Russia to use the idea of peacekeeping mission in its own interests”, - Melnyk said.
According to expert, Ukraine now finds itself in an unpleasant situation, when, on the one hand, the initiative on peacekeeping was constantly belong to Kyiv, and trying to deny or categorically oppose it only because this initiative was proposed by Putin would be illogical and unclear for international partners of Ukraine.
Oleksiy Melnyk suggests that the situation has profoundly changed in favor of recognition of the Ukrainian position, but the process remains incomplete, and Russia is still not recognized as a state aggressor.
It is necessary to elaborate a clear plan, an algorithm for Ukraine’s actions on the implementation of such an idea, in particular, the status of Russia as a state aggressor is not formalized and undetermined. Russia takes part in the “Normady format” not as a party of the conflict, but as an intermediary. Thus, before putting an idea on the deployment of a peacekeeping mission to the General Assembly, the process must be completed, first of all, at the national level. We have a number of laws, statements, resolutions, but at the same time we give Russia opportunity to deny its participation in Donbas conflict, - expert stressed.
Oleksiy Melnyk recalled that Russia continues to insist that there are no Russian troops in Donbas and this is an “internal conflict”, “civil war”, but not an interstate conflict.
“The introduction of peacekeepers to Donbas is not unrealistic, but the question is how much this mission, its mandate and composition will be in line with the declared goals. In any case, it can be a step towards ending the bloodshed, but what Ukraine will get tomorrow, when this mission ends its work? Whether the prospects of Ukraine as a sovereign state will be undermined for decades ahead? Nowadays there are almost 100 peace missions in the world, some of them lasts for more than 60 years. Only a handful of missions lead to the resolution of the conflict. The peacekeeping mission is not a panacea, and usually it results in frozen conflict”, - concluded expert.