Ukraine should make a detour — through the UN General Assembly

September 19, 2017

The ceasefire announced in Donbas on 25 August before the start of the school year, has never completely took hold. Personally, I never had hopes high that it would be executed. Just because Putin would not give up on his goals. So far, there has been no reason to say that something in his plans has changed. All these "truces" are only an attempt to create the appearance that the Minsk process goes on. Otherwise, one can blame Russia for not complying with international agreements.

I think that we should have moved to a more effective format long time ago. Let's say reformatting these talks under the Budapest Memorandum. So that the guarantors of these agreements would be those countries, which failed to fulfil their obligations under the Budapest memorandum. I think this would be a more effective option.

Today, there are talks of Ukraine proposing to introduce a peacekeeping mission to the occupied areas of Donbas next spring. But, for now, this perspective is unrealistic. Deploying a peacekeeping contingent should be done under the auspices of the UN, Article 7 of the UN Charter, not Article 6. That is, not «maintaining», but «establishing peace». In essence, it must be a military operation to end conflict.

But this can only be done if Russia is recognised as a party to the conflict. Otherwise, Russia will always veto any decision on Ukraine. That is the problem — Russia is a member of the UN Security Council.
Introducing any other peacekeeping mission under, for instance, the auspices of the OSCE would be a police mission not solving its tasks. Precisely because Putin would not give up on his goals. The OSCE police monitoring groups in Donbas would be present just for monitoring the conflict, not its settlement.

I want to stress that in order to decide on the deployement of peacekeeping mission, it is necessary that Russia recognizes itself as a party to the conflict. But if this happened, a peacekeeping mission would not be necessary. Because Moscow, under the pressure of sanctions, would be forced to withdraw its troops from Donbas. In this case, it could be necessary to have a supervisory contingent over the withdrawal of these troops. But the most unpleasant thing is that Russia is blatantly lying by declaring: "Prove our presence! We are the good guys, and you are simply trying to prove that we are bad." That was what Churkin had attempted during sessions of the UN Security Council.

However, a way to decide on a peacekeeping mission would be through the UN General Assembly. There is the 1950 Resolution of the General Assembly, which states that if the UN Security Council is not able to take a decision, then it can appeal to the General Assembly. Moreover, such a request can make not "five" permanent members of the UN Security Council, but any 7 members of the organisation, and there are 15 of them.

And this has been known since 2014. Back then all the diplomats told us that it was a very difficult task to accomplish. But difficult does not mean impossible. In other words, it was necessary to work, to use that favourable moment when many countries would have supported Ukraine.

If you remember, 110 UN member states voted for the first resolution on Ukraine. And only 70 during the second vote. We had missed the moment. And now, receiving 140 votes for Ukraine (the requirement of the General Assembly) — this task is too complicated. Such mistakes are unacceptable.

Mykola Sunhurovskyi

Director, Military Programmes

Born in 1951 in Moscow.


Orenburg Higher Military Air Defence Forces School (1972);

Kyiv Air Defence Forces Academy (1982);

Higher School of Entrepreneurship, Kyiv Institute of National Economy (1991).

Ph. D. in Technical Sciences, Senior Research Fellow, the author of more than 90 publications.

Colonel (Ret.) with 31 years of military service, half of that term — at research institutions. Research profile — systems analysis, strategic planning, analysis methods, national security.


Most recent position in state bodies — Department Chief at the Analytical Service of Ukraine's NSDC Staff;

Since December 1999 — Razumkov Centre Programme Co-ordinator;

Since February 2000 — Freelance Consultant to the National Security and Defence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

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