Lack of trust: Belarus peacekeepers unwelcome in Ukraine

The President of Ukraine arrived in New York to have the talks on the issue of sending a UN peacekeeping mission to Donbas. But Belarusians, along with Russians and Kazakhs, are highly unlikely to be among the peacekeepers.

Thousands of troops from different countries may soon come to Donetsk and Luhansk regions in order to ensure peace and security, protect civilians and record violations. About 40 countries are ready to send their military to stop Russia’s hybrid aggression. However, the Ukrainians who live not far from the front line do not want Belarusian paratroopers to come, the residents of Mariupol told Belsat TV journalists.

Moscow and Kyiv seem to be reaching a compromise: there is every likelihood that neither NATO military nor CSTO peacekeeping forces will be deployed in Donbas, Yevhen Marchuk, a Ukrainian special representative in the Trilateral Contact Group. So, representatives of which countries will be present?

“The involvement of Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, Finland and Austria is highly probable. Belarus’ role in the CSTO, a military alliance with Russia as a premier violin, is sort of a bad mark,” Ukrainian political scientist Yevhen Mahda told Belsat.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine will begin no earlier than 10 months after the relevant decision of the UN General Assembly. Now Ukrainian politicians, including Petro Poroshenko, are getting ready to raise the issue. Unfortunately, Belarusian diplomats representing the country at the UN, keep following in steps of their Russian colleagues. As reported earlier, Belarus together with Russia, Iran, Cuba and Kazakhstan voted against the UN considering the situation of Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied by Russians. Predictably, this has caused an emotional reaction by our neighbours.

We just need to transfer this site from Minsk to some other capital. With all my respect for Belarusian diplomacy, I cannot understand such a position. What neutrality are we talking about? And let them not take offense at us, but the facts are on the General Assembly’s panel,” Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the UN, told TV channel Pryamy on September, 23.

But Moscow’s consent to move the negotiating platform from Minsk is also needed, and the Kremlin is not going to okay it. On the one hand, the Russian authorities enjoy the full-fledged support of diplomats and intelligence services in Belarus. On the other hand, the Belarusian authorities are trying not only to show neutrality, but to seek economic deals with Ukraine as well.

“Russia is really concerned about the fact that Belarus supplied Ukraine with fuel and lubricant materials, about their military and technical cooperation, for example, the production of anti-tank missile systems. They are also not comfortable with Belarusian MAZ trucks being used by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies,” Yevhen Magda stressed.

And, of course, Russia is interested in curtailing this cooperation so that Belarus could not support its enemy, but focus only on the Russian market.

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