Normandy Four groups of nations discuss deployment of UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine

Normandy Four groups of nations discuss deployment of UN peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine

Today, foreign ministers of the Normandy Four–Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia– will meet in Berlin to discuss the deployment of

Ukrainian paratroopers gather near the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk

Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Today, foreign ministers of the Normandy Four–Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia– will meet in Berlin to discuss the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Ukraine conflict.

Although the 2015 Minsk Protocols have supposedly maintained a ceasefire in the conflict-prone Donbass region, skirmishes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels break out regularly. With tensions again on the rise, Europe continues to search for a resolution to the four-year-old conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced more than a million people.

Although all four nations support the idea of deploying peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, they disagree on exactly where. Kiev insists that a heavy force be deployed to the entire Donbass region, including the Russian-Ukraine border, whereas Moscow wants a light monitoring force solely stationed along the conflict line.

A successful peacekeeping mission must meet sufficient troop and resource levels—estimates put this at 20,000 or more troops with air support. However, with its UN veto power, Russia will likely shoot down any proposal that endangers its separatist movement. Indeed, as long as Moscow’s interests lie in a destabilised Ukraine that is unable to join European institutions or retake rebel-controlled territory, a successful compromise is unlikely.

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