Friday, 22 September 2017 13:34


Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 22.09.2017
Ukraine is the only state authority in Crimea, Sevastopol, Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine is sovereign in those places and Russia is not. As the sovereign power, only Ukraine may have armed forces within its territory. Ukraine has an unconditional right to invite or to expel foreign armed forces. Ukraine may choose to invite and allow United Nations peacekeepers to go anywhere and everywhere in Ukraine – up to the border with Russia at Rostov, and up to the border with Russia at the Kerch Strait. Ukraine can and must maintain a monopoly of violence within Ukraine. It therefore has the right to demand and to force Russian regular and irregular forces to leave Ukraine – including to leave Donbas and to leave Crimea. 
The United Nations is in a bad way, and needs to ‘get its mojo back’ by returning to first principles on peacekeeping. The United Nations Emergency Force resolved the Suez Crisis of 1956, and a similarly founded UN peacekeeping mission on the Ukraine-Russia border can resolve the Russo-Ukrainian War today. On 29 October 1956, Israel invaded Egypt, followed days later by Britain and France. The three invading powers had no support in the international community for their military action and they needed a face-saving way out of the mess they had gotten themselves into. The brilliance of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and Canadian Minister of External Affairs Lester B. Pearson led to the creation of the United Nations Emergency Force. The armed peacekeepers of the UNEF entered Egypt with the consent of the Egyptian government, supervised the withdrawal of all non-Egyptian (Israeli, British, and French) forces, and exercised its mandate up to the Egypt-Israel border. Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and later became Prime Minister of Canada. The ‘blue helmets’ were born as a powerful force for world peace
The United Nations Emergency Force was the invention of real peacekeeping in 1956. This is exactly what’s needed now to resolve the Russo-Ukrainian War. On 20 February 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine in Crimea. Russia continued its war of conquest by seizing territory in the Donbas region of Ukraine, in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. The invading power Russia has no support in the international community for its military action and needs a face-saving way out of the mess Putin has gotten it into. Armed UN peacekeepers can and should enter all of Ukrainian territory, with the consent of the Ukrainian government. No citizen or adherent of the Russian Federation can have anything to do with such a UN peacekeeping mission. All Ukrainian territory means everything within the internationally-accepted borders of Ukraine: the land from the current invasion battlefront where Russian troops are dug in, all the way to the Ukraine-Russia border. In eastern Ukraine, this means the land from the ‘contact line’ (it’s currently north of Luhansk, north and west of Donetsk, and east of Mariupol) all the way to the Ukraine-Russia border at Rostov. In southern Ukraine, this means the land from the ‘contact line’ (it’s currently between the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Kherson oblast) all the way to the Ukraine-Russia border at the Kerch Strait. Armed UN peacekeepers can and should supervise the withdrawal of all non-Ukrainian forces from Ukraine. This specifically includes all Russian regular and irregular soldiers and all the territory that is currently illegally occupied by Russia in Donetsk oblast, Luhansk oblast, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. 
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine deprived Ukrainians in Crimea and in Donbas of their citizenship rights. Ukrainians were stopped by the Russian armed forces and illegal armed formations under the control of Russia from voting in the presidential and parliamentary elections held on 25 May 2014 and on 26 October 2014 respectively. Pre-empting the exercise of democracy by Ukrainians that the Revolution of Dignity made possible was one the war aims Putin had when he invaded. Ukrainians were also deprived of their right to vote in real, competitive local elections. When a UN peacekeeping mission is effective right up to the Ukraine-Russia border at Rostov and at the Kerch Strait, and the sole legitimate sovereign authority of Ukraine is restored over all Ukrainian land including Donbas and Crimea, then it will be possible to hold free and fair elections. 
The first, real peacekeeping mission was a success in 1956. Two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council were offered and took a face-saving way to withdraw their forces from Egypt. UNEF-style peacekeeping can succeed today by giving one permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia, a face-saving way to withdraw its forces from Ukraine. 
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