Why Kiev Refuses Belarusian Peacekeepers in Donbass

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Kiev negatively reacted to the statements made by the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko – that Minsk is ready to participate in the settlement of the conflict in Donbass, including in a possible peacekeeping mission. Why did Kiev refuse Belarusian peacekeepers? This question was answered by the President of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting Rostislav Ishchenko.

“The Belarusian peacekeepers don’t actually exist. As far as I remember, Belarusian peacekeepers were mentioned during negotiations at the Munich conference between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and Kurt Volker (the special State Department spokesperson). And there the Belarusian position was defined as follows: Belarusian peacekeepers can appear in Donbass if Ukraine reaches an agreement with Russia on this matter. But, firstly, so that peacekeepers can appear there, Ukraine must reach an agreement with the DPR and LPR. And such is the principled stand of Russia. Also, this is not some ‘accessory’ of Moscow, it is a norm of international law. During the entrance of peacekeepers on the territory of an existing regular State, a self-proclaimed State, or on territory where isn’t even a whiff of a State, it is the authorities who really control this territory and take responsibility for it.

I.e., in this case it is the DPR and LPR, and not Russia or even Ukraine that consider this territory as theirs. Those who really control the territory give their consent and guarantee the safety of peacekeepers. And it can’t be in a different way, because then it’s not a peacekeeping operation, but an operation on forcing peace. But peacekeepers are being introduced with the consent of both parties. Respectively, the Belarusian position excluded the possibility not only of the appearance of Belarusian peacekeepers, but also the appearance of a peacekeeping mandate in the framework of the UN.

Let’s say that Belarus proceeded from the fact that the abstract positions of Moscow and Kiev must coincide. I.e., it’s not Ukraine and Russia that have to coordinate the norms of the introduction of peacekeepers, but their position must simply coincide. In this case Ukraine must accept the Russian position – that there is a need for direct negotiations with the DPR and LPR. It is after this that the introduction of any peacekeepers becomes possible, because then there will be a mandate.

But Ukraine has refused to conduct negotiations with the DPR and LPR for four years. And this is the hard line of Ukraine. And it is almost impossible to reduce the positions to a common denominator. That’s why Ukraine not only doesn’t want, but also can’t receive Belarusian peacekeepers.

Secondly, here there is also a propaganda element. Despite the fact that Kiev maintains rather constructive relations with Minsk, trying to keep for itself at least ‘this window’, nevertheless it regularly shouts that Belarus is an agent of Moscow, that Belarusian troops are practically Russian troops, etc. And, in addition, it also says that allegedly under the norms of the UN a neighboring State has no right to participate in a peacekeeping operation, while in reality it is the States engaged in the conflict that have no right to participate in a peacekeeping operation, and not neighboring countries.

Thus, there is the formal position of Ukraine: we don’t want Belarusian peacekeepers because they are Russians. There is also a position that boils down to the fact that they don’t want not only Belarusians, but in general peacekeepers in such a form that the UN can provide them.”

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