Will German soldiers protect Ukraine’s ceasefire?

According to media reports Germany considers sending soldiers to eastern Ukraine to monitor the ceasefire. And the Ukrainian parliament could soon hold a vote on the presence of German soldiers. Would you say it would be a helpful idea or not, and why?

Ievgen VorobiovAnalyst, Polish Institute of International Affairs

It rather depends mostly on the mandate that these troops receive. Here’s my logic.

One option is they will be stationed on specific points in Ukraine-controlled territory to protect OSCE observers. That will require a limited number of troops and will have lower risks. In my view, Ukrainian government would issue them with a permission to be stationed, I do not envisage strong opposition internally in Ukraine, but Russians will surely try to play it as a propaganda card. In this case, we might well see Russian introducing more troops OPENLY to the separatist-controlled territory claiming they will protect the ceasefire regime. In effect, this will strengthen the zones of control, but will not necessarily halt the hostilities.

The other, more contentious and less likely, option is trying to station the troops in the so-called “demilitarized” strip. That is laden with big risks, given the likelihood of attacks by separatist groups on German troops, possible hostage-taking and the ensuing escalation.

I am sure German government is aware of all these risks, that is why the idea is likely to be watered down as much as possible.

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