Moscow signaling: What stands behind Russia’s withdrawal from Joint Coordination Centre in Donbas

Mykola Malomuzh
23:50, 21 December 2017
War
2206 0
Opinion

There is no effective mechanism today for resolving the problem of Donbas war – that’s what Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier. Meanwhile, Russia’s withdrawal of its officers from the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of Ceasefire and Stabilization of the Line of Separation of Parties (JCCC) only confirms the idea expressed by the Russian leader. It is also very evident of Russia’s current position.

Also, Russia's recall of its military from the JCCC is seen as a step that might as well mean that an escalation in Donbas will begin shortly. Meanwhile, Moscow seeks to blame Ukraine for the intensification of hostilities, fully shifting responsibility on Kyiv shoulders and claiming that it’s the Ukrainian side who contributes to the escalation.

Also, Russia's recall of its military from the JCCC is seen as a step that might as well mean that an escalation in Donbas will begin shortly

All of this is just different elements of propaganda, although it is actually clear that the JCCC is simply done with performing its functions, having exhausted itself. However, Moscow will actively exploit this moment in the information war it has been waging against Ukraine.

However, it can be expected that a new mechanism will emerge and be further developed, which, for example, will involve the introduction of a peacekeeping force in Donbas, but only in a shape and form as Putin wants it. The UN will consider one of the models offered by Putin as an alternative to active participation in the settlement processes in Donbas within the JCCC.

Thus, ahead of the presidential election in Russia, Putin seeks to demonstrate, on the one hand, his principled, and rigid, stance on the implementation of their mission by the Russian military within the JCCC, and on the other, his new initiatives to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine, in particular, the ones foreseeing deployment of peacekeepers. But I should emphasize, it’s about introducing a UN peacekeeping force with the participation of Russian troops, that’s according to Russia’s formula, and without returning to Ukraine control over the part of the Russian-Ukrainian border.

But in general, these developments show that Ukraine should prepare for further escalation in Donbas

Consequently, alternatives to the JCCC will be created and worked out, but at a different level. Today, Russia has only made a tactical step by withdrawing its representatives from the JCCC, showing that, in its opinion, this mechanism is now inappropriate and ineffective.

But in general, these developments show that Ukraine should prepare for further escalation in Donbas, which is now quite possible, especially before the New Year holidays. Moreover, the area of active hostilities might even expand in the process.

Mykola Malomuzh is a former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, Ukraine’s Army General 

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