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Poroshenko calls for EU Policing Mission

February 19, 2015

At a commencement of a meeting of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, President Poroshenko opened with a call for a UN mandated peacekeeping force to be sent to eastern Ukraine.

We see the best format would be a police mission from the European Union. We are sure this would be the most effective and best guarantee for security“, going on to say “After the decision… we will start the official consultations which will help us achieve peace.”

An EU policing mission?

Similar to that of EULUX in Kosovo?  (UN mandated via Resolution 1244).  Perhaps similar to the EU mission in Bosnia, which followed on from a UN Mission?  Efforts such as Afghanistan or Libya and CSDP “policing guidance/advisory” missions?

The latter are clearly not what President Poroshenko has in mind when stating a police mission from the EU “would be the most effective and best guarantee for security.”  He is clearly thinking more along the lines of peacekeepers and not policing – and he is certainly inferring something better/more robust/forceful, than the OSCE efforts thus far.

Any thoughts along the lines of Kosovo which was deemed subject to international rule of law under the guise of UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) can be forgotten.  That is clearly not going to be allowed to occur in eastern Ukraine.  The Kremlin would simply veto any such notion tabled at the UNSC.  The entire point of its deeds in eastern Ukraine is to control the region via its proxies within “people’s republics”, running them – or letting them run amok – as it sees fit.

The warlords and organised criminals that will undoubtedly start to rise to the top upon the bodies of their “wannabe” counterparts during any lasting ceasefire, are not going to want to be “policed” by anything other than themselves – even if, eventually, that policing comes via the veneer of a uniform worn by those they once shared the same bread with in one prison or another, or a sprinkling of Russian secret services types as well.

“Policing” by definition involves the requirement to enforce the law when it is being broken.  Anything less is a monitor, observer, or witness.  As the “people’s republics” are not going to abide by the diktats and laws governing the rest of Ukraine,  whose laws would any EU policing mission have to enforce when required?  Those of Ukraine, or those hurriedly scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet in a small office in occupied Donest or Luhansk, and subsequently decreed law?

If any EU policing mission is not to police, but is merely to observe no differently from the OSCE, what are the gains of having an EU policing mission, and why would it have any more effect, or be shown any more respect, than that of the OSCE by Donetsk and Luhansk leaderships?  What additional guarantee of security would it bring that President Poroshenko alludes to, and how?

If it is there to train and advise, there is no need for a UN mandate.

Would any EU mission be armed?  Rules of any engagement?

Which nations would send personnel for such a mission?  Poland?  The Baltic nations?  The Kremlin will simply not allow that to occur unless Russians were also included in an EU policing mission – despite not being an EU nation.

Would the Poles and the Baltic nations not be the first to meet (perhaps violent) objections on the ground from eastern Ukrainian warlords, Russian organised crime and Russian secret services?  Would that not be “escalation” or a “provocation”?

Perhaps Germany?  The UK?  Spain?  France?

As yet the EU has not quite rolled over enough to allow The Kremlin to nominate the EU countries that could make up any such mission – but so meek has it become, that it couldn’t be ruled out.  One need only look at what has been allowed to happen thus far.

The idea that the EU would create an EU policing mission for eastern Ukraine that actually polices without a UN mandate, is of course, somewhere between very unlikely and deluded – as is the idea that The Kremlin would currently seriously entertain the idea (if ever).  To be entirely blunt, the only peacekeepers or policing missions that the Kremlin would consider are its own – which would naturally meet with UN vetoes from the USA and UK, and not have Ukrainian consent etc.

However, despite the fact that The Kremlin would almost certainly be dismissive of the idea, thus no UN mandate, that does not mean The Kremlin will be seen to automatically dismiss the idea.  The Kremlin may very well soon begin something of a “charm offensive” to insure sufficient discord amongst the Europeans when it comes to sectoral sanctions being renewed or rolled back in June/July.  Hungary and Cyprus are already in The Kremlin sights and will be subjected to Mr Putin’s manipulations this month.  Others will likely follow in the weeks and months ahead.

If being seen to entertain the idea, no matter how superficially, Germany and France will remain in dialogue with The Kremlin – and the White House kept in abeyance, or kept in a cycle of further dithering, regarding lethal defensive arms to Ukraine, until sanctions fall away.  Once those sanctions fall away, the unity for reinstating them simply won’t happen.  Only those that relate specifically to Crimea have a better than average chance of remaining – and The Kremlin will accept that outcome.

Thus, although this EU policing mission idea could be talked about during what may well turn out to be a few far quieter months ahead militarily, its eventual realisation seems little more than fanciful at best.  It must be in some doubt that the Europeans would go for it – there is almost no doubt The Kremlin won’t.

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