Peacekeeping mission in the Donbas: Is it desirable? Is it possible? On what terms? – expert poll
The polling was conducted September 27-29, 2017 by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation with the assistance of the Public Council of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. 21 experts were polled all together. For comparison, the results of nationwide polling titled “Public opinion regarding the uncontrolled Donbas: what has changed?” conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Center Sociological Service from June 9-13, 2017 are provided. The results of nationwide polling conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation jointly with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology from October 9-19, 2015 and results of polling conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation jointly with the Razumkov Center Sociological Service from May 11-16, 2016 are provided.
- Experts support the stationing of a peacekeeping contingent on the occupied territories of the Donbas and Luhansk oblasts, however the majority of the polled do not consider the prospects of deploying peacekeepers upon the UN mandate to be a realistic scenario.
- The people also support the idea of deploying a peacekeeping contingent in the Donbas, which continues to grow. Today, 60% of the polled support this idea, while only one-fifth of the population is against this initiative. The South is the only macro-region of Ukraine in which the number of opponents is almost equal to the number of proponents (38% – against; 36% – for). It is worth noting that a significant share of respondents, who are undecided regarding this issue, is today 19% and that same figure in the South is 25%.
- In the opinion of experts, the most optimal for the Ukrainian side is the participation of representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as Poland and Baltic countries (first and foremost, Lithuania), in peacekeeping operation.
- Experts were unable to provide a specific list of countries whose peacekeeping troops would satisfy both Russia and Ukraine. Germany most often appeared on this list.
- Experts believe that a ceasefire, disarmament of militants, withdrawal of Russian occupying forces and re-establishing control of the borders of Ukraine would be the most possible results of a peacekeeping mission. Experts also say the increased pressure on Ukraine to execute the political clauses of the Minsk agreements would be among the most probable political consequences.
- Experts advise Ukraine’s leadership to not agree to holding elections in Separate Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts without going through a certain transition period simply for the sake of deployment of peacekeeping forces, and to not agree for granting special status to these separate districts. At the same time, the majority of experts believe that such compromises as amnesty for soldiers and creating mixed police forces in Separate Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts with the participation of Ukraine, local officials and UN representatives can be negotiated and approved on certain terms.
- More than half of experts polled feel that deploying of peacekeeping forces inherently does not imply a resolution of the conflict in the Donbas, while the result of such deployment will depend on the composition of these forces and the conditions under which they will be deployed.