The same day that the March 4th deadline was reached for political steps to be taken to ameliorate the situation in the Ukraine between the Kiev regime and the Donbass governments, the UN confirmed that it had received a request from President Poroshenko for a “peace-keeping” force to be sent into Ukraine. The Russia UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, correctly remarked that this called into question the Kiev regime’s commitment to the Minsk ceasefire agreement. The Donbass governments also rejected the idea, calling it premature, and stated that if there was to be such a force it must be Russian. They are both right. Insertion of foreign military forces into Ukraine at the request of Kiev can only be for aggressive purposes against the citizens of the Donbass and against Russia. The history of UN interventions in the past has too often been a history of betrayal of the peoples whose peace was supposed to be enforced and a disguised means of helping one side in the conflict to defeat the other.
We need only remember the UN “police action” in Korea in 1950-53 used to attack north Korea and China, Rwanda in 1993-94, where UN forces actively helped to overthrow the interim government and install the present Kagame dictatorship, Yugoslavia, in the 90’s, where UN forces operated against the government in various theatres of operation, Haiti, where they have been used to consolidate the US overthrow of President Aristide in 2004 and the Congo where UN forces have done nothing to reign in the massacres of Congolese and Hutu refugees by Ugandan and Rwandan proxy forces yet readily harass and attack the forces trying to protect them.
We need only to examine the case of Rwanda to see how the system really works. In 1993 the UNAMIR force, commanded by Canadian General Dallaire, actively aided and abetted the enemy who had invaded the country from Uganda. UN documents produced in evidence in the military trials at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal showed that Dallaires’ military observers, stationed in the north of the country to monitor enemy movements, made continuous reports to Dallaire of violations of the ceasefire agreement, including infiltration into the country of heavy artillery systems, light and heavy machine guns, mortars, and all the ammunition necessary to support those weapons. Dallaire never reported these violations of the peace accords to the government side but put a lot of effort into enforcing a weapons embargo against the government forces.
There was also evidence in the trials that certain elements of Dallaire’s force colluded with the enemy force by turning a blind eye to its infiltration into the capital of thousands of enemy fighters that were later used to overwhelm the government forces and massacre civilians when they launched their final offensive in April 1994. The UN also covered up evidence pointing to their culpability for assassinations of government officials and various political leaders and did nothing to investigate and stop continuous terrorist attacks against civilians. All this was done on behalf of the American and British interests and we cannot expect anything different from a western controlled UN force in Ukraine.
The Kiev junta is, in effect, calling for a Nato force to come into Ukraine, but wearing blue helmets, since it is clear that Kiev will never permit any Russian forces to be part of the contingent, nor a Russian general to be in command. The request was transparent as soon as it was made and raises the question whether a UN force inserted into the Ukraine would act as a force for keeping the peace or would be a Nato Trojan Horse.
The duplicity of the junta and Nato is emphasized by the new law passed by the Kiev parliament with respect to the status of the Donbass governments. Instead of consulting with those governments about constitutional reform, elections and the commitment to provide them with more autonomy, the new law mocks the Minsk cease-fire agreement and treats the Donbass governments as if they do not exist. In response the republics have refused further cooperation until the Kiev law is abolished and Foreign Minister Lavrov stated on March 18th that the parliament’s action, “…rewrites the agreements, and putting it simply, grossly violates them.”
Also on the 18th, the Ukrainian Defence Minister announced that Kiev has concluded 100 new arms contracts and will sign 160 more. This follows President Poroshenko’s order for the expansion of the Kiev forces to 250,000 soldiers, and the additional announcement on the 18th that the Kiev Prime Minister has inspected new weaponry to be dispatched to the eastern Ukraine that on the 17th was declared to be “temporarily occupied.”
Violations of the Minks agreement continue on the front lines as well with daily incidents of attacks and provocations along the contact lines between the Kiev and Donbass forces, and an increase of the economic blockade of the region. Although the junta has removed some of its heavy artillery it becomes daily clearer that it has done so in order to refit, refurbish and reorganise for another offensive some time later in the spring. This concern is heightened by America’s announcement that it will send several hundred soldiers to Ukraine and will hold joint exercises with Ukraine forces in a few months. Britain quickly followed suit with its own announcement to send in forces and Canada has also announced a willingness to send its troops on top of advisers and “trainers” already there, all of which is a violation of the Minks agreement requiring the removal of any foreign forces in Ukraine.
The continued shipment of arms to Ukraine by Nato countries, proved by their presence on the battlefield, the promise to send more, the known presence of mercenaries, many of whom once were and probably still are, members of Nato armies, and the continued collective punishment of the civilians of the Donbass are all further violations of the ceasefire agreement as well as international law.
More alarming news comes almost every day of Nato forces conducting one military exercise after another, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, of the Americans quickly building up their armoured and air forces in eastern Europe and of the intention to establish Nato command centres close to the Russian borders. The result, a dizzying spiral of provocations by Nato, and strong defensive responses by Russia.
The Secretary General of the United Nation, Ban Ki Moon, has said nothing about the aggressive actions of the Nato powers nor their violations of the Minks agreement and UN Charter and nothing about the Kiev request for a peacekeeping force. It should have been simple for him to make a statement supporting the full implementation of the ceasefire and to remind Kiev that since only the Security Council can approve a peacekeeping mission, it will never happen without Russian participation. But he has said nothing and it is obvious that this idea came from the United States, which would like to make political points by supporting such a request in the Security Council, knowing that Russia must oppose it. The Americans can then claim that Russia is being “obstructive” and therefore a Nato force has to be introduced to protect Ukraine against Russian “aggression.” There can be no other reason for the Kiev demand. Once such a force is introduced, Ukraine becomes a de facto Nato state, and a direct threat to Russia.
The Minsk ceasefire agreement has brought a reprieve for the citizens of the Dobass and some relief from their suffering. But it is too little and too fragile to provide real hope for peace in the region. The peoples of Ukraine, of Russia, and of the world, need a complete cessation of the constant threats of war by the Nato powers and an honest commitment by them and the Kiev regime to peace and security in order for the situation to stabilise and for the peoples of the Ukraine to rebuild lives shattered by a Nato provoked war. But this honesty and this commitment to peace are nowhere to be found in the Nato countries and so, once again, in support of the diplomatic efforts being made from Moscow to Beijing, it lies with the citizens of the Nato state themselves to take up their responsibilities as citizens and demand that their governments abandon their aggressive polices, dismantle the Nato war alliance, and call for a new international legal framework that once and for all provides real and effective mechanisms to prevent war.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.