Blue helmets in eastern Ukraine?
Ex-Nato general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed sending a 20,000-strong UN peacekeeping force to eastern Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference. Sweden, Finland and Belarus have signalled their willingness to participate. But the chances that blue helmets will soon be sent to the region are slim, commentators believe.
Conflicting interests make mission impossible
A UN peacekeeping mission won't happen anytime soon because Russia, Ukraine and the West have completely different concepts, political scientist Alexander Rahr posits in a guest commentary for the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia:
“Russia wants to freeze the conflict to end the bloodshed and then initiate negotiations between the separatists and the government. Ukraine and the West, by contrast, want a 'Kosovo solution', in other words a massive UN-led military intervention comprising tens of thousands of soldiers from various armies that would take over Donbass's administrative structures in Ukraine. ... Afterwards the areas would be put back under Ukraine's control. ... Naturally the rebels aren't willing to go along with this. And Moscow too will protest. That's why unfortunately there was no breakthrough at the Munich conference.”
No one sends blue helmets to conflict zones
Eastern Ukraine is nowhere near ready for a blue helmet mission, Kaleva observes:
“It's positive that there are new initiatives. ... If no one does anything, nothing happens. But it will be a long time before the blue helmets are deployed because no country will send blue helmets to a conflict area. Even if Finland is a major power when it comes to peacekeeping, an operation in eastern Ukraine would entail enormous risks. Such a huge mission must be carefully considered. Until a mission is possible Russia in particular must show willingness to adhere to the Minsk agreement.”