How Putin's Proposal for UN Peacekeepers in Donbass Prevented a War

Kiev was going to make a proposal of this kind and when Russia blocked it use it as a reason for renewed offensive in the fall

In resolving a conflict in the East of Ukraine there has been a fundamental turn — the President of Russia Vladimir Putin unexpectedly initiated a resolution for the UN Security Council on the deployment of a peacekeeping mission along the demarcation line in the Donbass.

What’s behind this far-reaching suggestion? What geopolitical objectives does Moscow plan to achieve? Why has the President announced his position on the eve of the international assembly, and how is the Kremlin’s initiative connected to military threats currently expressed towards the region of Prednestrovye and LDNR?

Analytics and nuances

On July 24 2017, a month ago, President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of France Emmanuel Macron and Petro Poroshenko have discussed the issues of the international mission at the next negotiations known as the “Normandy format.”

Back then the Ukrainian leader actively complained to journalists that, despite all of his “efforts” to persuade the participants to introduce a peacekeeping mission, he had failed. In particular, he stated that “once again” he will try to introduce “his own” idea at the UN General Assembly on September 12th, and that in his view “the issue again will be rested in the unwillingness to promote peace processes on the part of Russia”.

For months the Western corporate media had been convincing the entire world of Moscow’s unwillingness to make any conciliatory concessions. The public was regularly notified about the refusal of the Russian side “to fulfill the Minsk agreement,” to support the idea of introduction of the peacekeeping mission, or even in general, to become an anti-war pacifist in response to appropriate sanctions “against Russian intervention”.

It was assumed that by this autumn, an effect of shaping up the international outrage will reach a satisfactory level, and the generated inertia will automatically brand Moscow as an “enemy of the European peoples”, as soon as Russia vetoes Kiev’s “peacekeeping” initiative”  at September UN Assembly.

And suddenly such a turn! Since the  Russian proposal has been submitted first, ahead of Kiev’s,the General Assembly will consider the Russian version formulated by the Kremlin.

To say that this was a bombshell for Kiev and Washington would be an understatement, because, despite of  the similarity in name, an armed contingent of “peacekeepers” that  Kiev is pursuing  has the diametrically opposite objectives.

First, Kiev wants to locate the peacemakers on the border of LDNR and Russia. Moscow’s plan to locate them between the fighting sides of the Donetsk and Lugansk’s republics armies and the Ukrainian military forces.

Second, according to Kiev, the organization of this mission has to be carried out without a consent of one of the conflicting parties, i.e. Donetsk and Luhansk, while the Russian resolution insists on this condition a priori.

Ukraine expected to receive the peacekeeping mission from the NATO countries that guarantee Kiev a license for use of force. Moscow’s offer implies the broad ethnic composition open to worldwide control.

All points of the U.S.-Ukrainian scenario one way or another are boiled down to a repetition of the Libyan scheme, and resolution, prepared for the UN, was simply to play the role of formal screens, where, under the guise of its legitimacy a new escalation of hostilities would be conducted directly on the Russian borders.

The U.S. negative reaction is also explained by the fact that Washington pinned on the Security Council meeting and “Ukrainian” “peace” initiative practically all fall of 2017 scenarios for Donbass and Transnistria. In particular, the final withdrawal of Ukraine from its previously signed Minsk agreements has been deliberately held until the end of this summit, although the decision for the withdrawal was initiated by the United States immediately after the visit to Kiev of the special envoy from Washington D.C., Kurt Volker.

It was after his visit of Ukraine, Kiev launched a large-scale preparation of a new law “on reintegration” of the Donbass, involving the replacement of a definition the  “anti-terrorist operation (ATO)”, with the “defense of Ukraine operation.” Also, in this new law the definition “terrorists” are being replaced with “the aggressor,” and the local operation of a limited contingent if being replaced with possible  introduction of the  a martial law throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.

According to the new document that is being developed by the US and Kiev authorities, the governments of the republics, and their decisions are recognized as illegitimate, and themselves LDNR described as a territory “occupied by Russia”.

Characteristically, the adoption of this law package  was planned immediately after the end of the meetings of the General Assembly. This fall is also an expiration date for the term of the current law “on special status of Donbass”. This fall has also been planned the delivery of military assistance from the Pentagon. This fall also is being planned an incremental compounding and worsening of the situation in Transnistria including the supervised by the West blockade of the TMR. Even Moldova was going to take part in the UN Security Council and submit a proposal against the peacekeeping mission of Russia.

Discovered in the vicinity of the Ukrainian village Sahanka  “BUK M-1” launchers with rockets targeting the Taganrog Bay,[location of the Russian naval base and seaport in the Azov Sea, S.H] increased deployment of the Ukrainian armed forces on the demarcation line with the republics, a sharp change in Kiev’s political rhetoric  for the military idea of “Croatian scenario”, approved by the acquiescence of the United States.   All this and much more clearly indicate the plans of the large scale provocation and “hot” instability in two strategic regions of Russia, comes autumn. Both tasks chronologically coordinated and clearly planned in conjunction with the “Ukrainian” resolution and its promotion in the UN.

This is also supported by the fact that for the US these projects would solve a whole range of geopolitical problems. First, they want to worsen the dramatically improving Russian-European relations, and changing their neutral positions for a strictly Pro-American. A new conflict, for whatever reason it may starts, guaranteed would have led the EU to their usual weak-willed foreign policy positions: “Russia did not keep the republics from escalation,” “Ukraine needs to be called upon the international community to peace”, but “initiative for a new anti-Russian sanctions should be maintained.”

In addition, the United States probably would undertake a revision of the scope and effectiveness of the imposed sanctions, and to triple the pressure to block the construction of “Nord Stream — 2”, as well as to inflate pressure on the EU to buy LNG supplies for the European markets.

Kiev would agree with the aggravation of the existing situation, given a degree of political tension and pressure on Poroshenko is growing every day. This escalation would let him once again to accuse Russia in aggression and to write off all domestic social problems and to blame them on Moscow. He also will be able to solve his another big problem, to suppress the resistance of some groups among the political  elite to initiate an introduction of martial law, to abolish parliamentary elections, and also to extend his powers to unlimited proportions.

In this regard, there is no doubt that the proposal of Vladimir Putin about the deployment of peacekeepers according to the Russian model was aimed at preventing these scenarios, and is nothing more than an attempt of the Russian leadership to create a political tool for tipping the US ideas of war back to a diplomatic solution.

Along with everything else, Russia’s initiative offers an opportunity to fix the current demarcation line by protecting the Republic of LPR and DPR from military actions and provocations by Kiev. The document explicitly stipulates the withdrawal of heavy military equipment, extension and amendments of the law “on special status of Donbass”, as well as the deployment of  the “blue helmets” to separate the sides in the unfolding conflict to protect the OSCE mission. Not, as Kiev wants, to separate the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk from the Russia’s border.

In addition, this new diplomatic initiative of the Kremlin to freeze the West’s plans for military escalation of the Ukrainian armed forces against army of Lugansk and Donetsk republics and their territories, does not allow to synchronize this with the destabilizing scenario around Moldova and Transnistria. The resolution also allows to stop supply and deliveries of the of foreign weapons, and to demonstrate at the highest international  level that the format of the ongoing war in Ukraine is that of a civil war. The legitimization of the status of national republics as political entities is also an issue introduced by the Russian Federation by this document, as the main principle of UN peacekeeping missions implies the approval for deployment of the  contingent from all warring parties.

Moreover, even in a case that some of the states will be reluctant to initiate a public dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk directly, the interests of the republics, within the rules of the UN, will still be expressed and defended by the mediation of Russia. Moscow resolution demonstrates a clear desire of the Kremlin to find a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The probable veto by the US, on the contrary, would show lack of interest of other parties in the non-military outcome of the situation.

It is also important that the activity of the UN Security Council, including those concerning consideration of the Russian initiative, will be broadcasted throughout the world, and, therefore, will provide Europe with a much-needed support and justification for further relaxation of relations with Moscow without a guaranteed threat of deterioration of relations with the “allied” America. In this respect, it’s no coincidence that the first international response to Vladimir Putin’s statement came from Germany, where the German foreign Minister noted the initiative as “a new detente with Moscow”, and also said that since Russia “changed its policy on Ukraine,” this moment “Europe must not miss”.

As a result, Kiev and its curators are now in a difficult situation. Moscow has seized the initiative and put the American plans for this fall under a big question mark. The Minsk agreements remain in force, the new Ukrainian law on “reintegration” is postponed, and Russia has every reason to declare that it has done everything necessary for implementation of the peace process, while supervised by the West, Kiev is working on their outright failure.

Source: Regnum translated by Scott Humor at The Vineyard of the Saker

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