March 31, 2013 by Nikolai Holmov
As is well known to regular readers of this blog, when it comes to UN commitments, Ukraine is somewhat stalwart in its support and engagement – Quite rightly too when we consider Ukraine was a founding member of the United Nations.
As such it has not and does not shy away from supplying troops and equipment for UN peacekeeping missions. Ukrainian troops are deployed today in various nations under the auspices of the UN in various parts of the world.
It therefore seems quite reasonable, in light of significant reforms within the Ukrainian defence department – in particular the end to military conscription this year which will lead to a fully contract military half the size of the current numbers – that Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania will form a joint military brigade for peacekeeping missions. The Ukrainian contingent will comprise of 545 military personnel plus equipment.
Jolly good – but…..
At the same time this announcement was made, the UN announced it was putting together a peacemaking entity for engagement within the Central African Republic.
There is a significant difference between the parameters of peacekeeping, peace building and peacemaking.
If the UN is about to actively enter the far more proactive and assertive realm of peacemaking - which is nothing short of proactive intervention at a political and diplomatic level, how long before that peacemaking has the inevitable mission creep that will move troops involved in peacekeeping into a far more interventionist peacemaking role?
Thus far Ukrainian military casualties and overt military action in UN peacekeeping roles in the past decade amount to the recent use of a Mi 24 helicopter firing upon compounds in Cote D’Ivoire a few years ago, and a peace-keeper being killed in rioting in Kosovo in 2008. (Not withstanding accidental deaths due to traffic accidents etc.)
How long before the UN rules of engagement change from those currently in existence for peacekeeping, to rules far more suited to the interventionist role of peacemaking?
How quickly will this new brigade see its UN role change?