January 22, 2018

“Peacekeeping” as an Instrument of Russia's Foreign Aggression

The main trend in activity of Russia's leadership since the beginning of the new 2018 has been the preparation for the presidential election in that country, which should take place in two months, on the fourth anniversary of the Russian annexation of the Crimea. According to the Kremlin's intentions, the choice of the date should have raised Putin's rating as of the person who “gave new life to Russia” and “regained its lost territories”.

However, as always unexpectedly for Moscow, reality has made its adjustments. The critical effects of Western sanctions on Russia, as well as the spread of the negative attitude of the Russian people to the Kremlin's policy towards Ukraine, made the Putin regime change the direction of its election campaign. From now on, he positions himself as a “peacemaker” and “Ukraine's best friend”, ready to even return the Ukrainian armament captured by Russia in the Crimea.

In this regard, it is expedient to remind the people's Ukrainian wisdom — “never trust a Moskal (Moscovite — transl.)”. An example of this is the Kremlin's practice of deliberately manipulating peacekeeping activity, which has long historical traditions and began from the war in the Korean Peninsula.


Thus, in 1947, with Moscow's consent, the UN decided to take under its protectorate the Korean Peninsula, which was divided between the USSR and the USA at the end of the Second World War. Among other things, the decision provided for a peaceful unification of the northern and southern parts of the former united Korea. Despite this, the Soviet Union began actively to arm North Korea, and in 1950 pushed it into an attack on South Korea, which was aimed at establishing Soviet control over the entire Korean Peninsula.

In such a situation, on June 25, 1950, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution No. 82, which condemned North Korea's aggression and sanctioned the entry into the war of international forces to protect South Korea. The session of the UN Security Council was boycotted by the USSR, which thus officially absolved itself of the responsibility for the developments on the Korean Peninsula. At the same time, at the informal level, the Soviet Union not only continued to provide military assistance to North Korea (including by sending military advisers and specialists and providing it with military equipment), but also contributed to China's interference in the war. This resulted in the protracted armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula, which lasted until 1953 between the troops of the People's Republic of China and North Korea and the international forces led by the United States.

Soviet and Chinese “volunteers” during the war on the Korean Peninsula

The same position with respect to North Korea is occupied by present-day Russia. At the official level, Moscow supports the decision of the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against the DPRK for the development of missile and nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Russian side continues its secret support for North Korea, including by violating the UN Security Council restrictions on trade with the DPRK, as well as supplying it with military equipment and technology. Moreover, Russia directly provokes tensions in the APR, by which it tries to divert the attention of the world community from the situation around Ukraine. January 17, 2018, the fact of such Russia's actions was openly recognized by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in his interview with Reuters agency.


Similarly, in 1967, Moscow provoked an armed conflict on the Sinai Peninsula, aimed at destroying the State of Israel and asserting Soviet hegemony in the Middle East. For this end, for a long time the Soviet Union had been intensively arming Egypt and other Arab countries, and comprehensively training their troops. At the same time, an active anti-Israeli campaign had been conducted, which created the basis for a military clash in the region.

May 11, 1967, the USSR handed over to the Egyptian authorities a fabricated fake about Israel's alleged intentions to overthrow the ruling regime in Syria and the concentration of Israeli forces near the Syrian border. The Israeli Government immediately denied such statements and asked the Soviet Ambassador in the country to personally verify this. However, this Israeli proposal was rejected, which freed Egypt's hands.

Referring to the above-mentioned “evidence”, Egypt called on the UN to immediately withdraw peacekeeping forces from the Sinai Peninsula, which was declared a demilitarized zone. Under the USSR's pressure, the UN Security Council immediately fulfilled the demand, and that allowed Egypt to transfer its troops to the borders of Israel and to begin aggression against it. And only the absolute inferiority of the Arabs, despite the Soviet weapons, training and advisers, did not let the USSR realize its plans.

Soviet military “advisers” in Syria and Egypt

The Soviet Union's experience in manipulating peacekeeping activities is fully used by today's Russia to hold its positions in post-Soviet territories. The essence of such a strategy is to provoke armed conflicts in the countries of the former USSR, with subsequent intervention under the guise of a peacekeeping activity. Due to this, conditions are created to ensure Russia's permanent military presence in former Soviet republics, as a powerful lever of influence on their foreign and domestic politics.

Such approaches were applied by Moscow in the early 1990s to Moldova and Georgia. Thus, in 1992, with the use of the classical method of creating a pseudo-state separatist “republic” and the provision of covert military aid to it by Russia, an armed conflict in Moldova was organized. In the peak period of its active phase, Moscow imposed on Chisinau the agreement on the initiation of a peacekeeping operation by the forces of the so-called “Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the Security Zone of the Trans-Dniester region of the Republic of Moldova”. Thus, the grouping of Russian troops under the guise of “peacekeepers” was legalized in the territory of Moldova. Russian “peacekeepers” have been in Moldova for over 25 years and not only do not contribute to resolving the conflict, but they are also the main guarantor of preservation of separatists and the main source of tension in the region.

In the same year 1992, due to similar actions, Russia imposed on Georgia the so-called “Combined Peacekeeping Forces” in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, which allowed Russia to legalize the presence of its troops in Georgian territory as well. In August 2008, these particular forces became the top echelon of the Russian military invasion of Georgia.

Russian “peacekeepers” in Moldova and Georgia

Similar was also the Russian peacekeeping activity in the Balkans, which was actually aimed not at the settlement of the armed conflict in the region but at supporting Serbia's aggression against other countries of the former Yugoslavia and Serbian separatists in their territories. Thus, the UN peacekeeping mission UNPROFOR, established in February 1992, included two Russian battalions. The first of them served in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of Sarajevo, but not only did not prevent the Serbian forces' shelling the city, but in fact covered them. The second battalion was in Eastern Slavonia near the Danube to control the border between the Republic of Croatia and Serbia. At this, it did not in any way interfere with Serbian arms transfers and sending reinforcements to separatists in the Serbian Krajina in Croatia. And only when the NATO took over the mission, the issue was off the table.

Later, in 1999, Russia openly intervened in NATO's Operation “Allied Force” in Kosovo, which aimed to end Serbia's repressions against the Albanian population of the region. The reason for this was the signing of an agreement between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (in fact, Serbia) and NATO on the withdrawal of troops and police of the SFRY from Kosovo and the deployment of international forces on the territory of the region. Bringing in such forces was planned to be done through the “Slatina” airfield in Kosovo, since only it could accommodate NATO's heavy military transport aircrafts.

On the night of June 12, 1999, on the eve of the start of the implementation of the agreement, Russia relocated its unit from the peacekeeping battalion in Bosnia and Herzegovina onto the airfield and blocked it. After that, it was planned to transfer to the airfield up to two regiments of airborne troops with heavy equipment, but Hungary and Bulgaria refused to provide air space to Russia. The NATO Command's attempts to establish control over the airfield almost led to a military clash of parties with unpredictable consequences. And only a few days later, as a result of negotiations, the problem was resolved.

Russian “peacekeepers” in Kosovo

Taking into account the above-mentioned circumstances, obvious are the aims of the Russian proposals regarding the deployment of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Donbas only on the line of contact between the parties and with the participation of Russian military. As in Moldova and Georgia, the main aims are to legitimize Russian military presence on the Ukrainian territory, as well as ensuring the preservation of self-proclaimed republics as instruments of influence on Ukraine.

Strange that this is not clear to European politicians, in particular Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who are in favor of “phased lifting of sanctions against Russia”. That is one of the main goals of Moscow within its “peacekeeping initiatives”. Misunderstanding of this fact not only opens the way for “freezing” the conflict in the Donbas on the principles of Trans-Dniester, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but this also unleashes Russia's hands for the continuation of external aggression, both in post-Soviet territories and on the European direction. By the way, Russia has already created a special tool for such actions, namely, the 15th “Peacekeeping” Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade (Samara region), which has already got experience of participating in the armed conflict in the Donbas.