What’s peace in the Donbas worth to us? by Andrej Novak

Why the international community should propose a UN protectorate

When listening to journalists, analysts and politicians alike, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the pro-Russian separatist-controlled areas in the Donbas region of Ukraine will remain a “frozen conflict” similar to Transnistria (in Moldova) for the foreseeable future. The international community appears complacent and passive regarding the violent conflict going on in the area and the humanitarian catastrophe there that is about to be exacerbated by winter very soon.

Precious months have already been wasted without any serious multinational initiative for a solution being proposed by world leaders. This passivity exposes the uninspired, lackluster and short-term-oriented attitude of muddling through of Western leaders that often means that that the international community is being outmaneuvered by the Kremlin’s brinkmanship and (more or less) surprise moves. By now it should have become obvious that a more ambitious, innovative and strategic approach is needed to overcome the challenge to peace, security and European values that the Russian government’s aggression in Ukraine constitutes.

After several months of war, the population of the war-torn Donbas region by now has for the most part lost faith in both the pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian government. What the population in the area under separatist control demands is first and foremost peace, security and the ecomomic means to survive and begin the task of rebuilding. With distrust to both sides of the conflict very high, there is an obvious opportunity for the international community to come in and fill the void with a United Nations protectorate similar to what was practiced in the 1990s and 2000s in the former Yugoslavia.
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