Country Profile: Ukraine

Ukraine first participated in UN peacekeeping operations several months after its 24 August 1991 independence when it deployed a battalion to UNPROFOR. Since then it has remained an active contributor to UN-led and UN-authorized operations, although its profile changed from a significant troop contributor to a provider of specialist equipment and associated expertise, such as helicopters and crews, in the mid-2000s. Until then, Ukraine was an important contributor of uniformed personnel (see Figure 1). In January 2001, for example, it was the 7th largest provider of military and police for UN operations. But these contributions declined during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (2005 – 2010) and increased only marginally under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych (2010-2014). Read more in our new profile on Ukraine by Dr Kseniya...

NO CAVEATS, PLEASE?: BREAKING A MYTH IN UN PEACE OPERATIONS

For years, the UN Secretariat said caveats were not allowed in peacekeeping operations. Mentioning them was a kind of “taboo”. They existed on the ground but were rarely acknowledged at the political level in New York. But when operations faced a crisis and troops needed to take more risks than usual, the hitherto hidden restrictions quickly appeared, creating obvious command and control issues. Unfortunately, with peacekeeping operations now facing increasingly challenging environments, contingents refusing to follow orders, or waiting for their national authorities to confirm or countermand orders received from the UN mission’s authorities, has become the norm rather than the exception. Should we condemn this or understand the reasons why UN missions are facing such situations? It is time to stop lamenting that caveats exist and try to better learn how to manage them. CAVEATS ARE CAUSING INCREASING CONCERN In June 2015, the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report recognized that “the ability of field commanders to ensure performance is severely hampered by caveats and national controls”. The report’s language was strong and it said that after deployment “any further caveats beyond those national constraints accepted at the outset, cannot be condoned”. Undeclared national restrictions, it stated “should be treated as disobedience of lawful command”. The September 2015 Secretary-General’s report on The future of United Nations peace operations called on every contributor to communicate during negotiations over possible deployment those national caveats that would apply to their military or police contingents. The UN Secretariat would take these caveats into account, including whether to proceed with deployment. “Additional caveats beyond those explicitly agreed by the Secretariat cannot...
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