In an interview yesterday with Germany’s state-run radio DLF, Gen. Harald Kujat (ret.), former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr and former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, assesses a chaotic and highly dangerous situation in Ukraine which alone neither the West nor Russia can bring under control, therefore he calls for a joint NATO-Russia Peace Keeping Mission, modeled on the UN-mandated international KFOR mission in Kosovo in 1999:
“Now, we must grasp methods that in the past have proven their worth. And we must, yes, we want to avoid also, that with Russia, a situation develops in which Russia can do nothing but intervene militarily, in order to stabilize the situation. Thus, we must ourselves undertake something, in order to create stability. And that must be together with Russia, there is no way around this. And in my view the model we used in Kosovo, KFOR, is what is available, where an international stabilization military force of Western states and Russia, where also German, American, and Russian armed forces together guaranteed stability.”
Kujat says he doubts that many of the fighters in Ukraine are motivated by the sheer lust in fighting, that they are not under the control of Russia, and have never been. He stated that fact should have been recognized by the West already long ago. The Ukrainian army alone cannot bring the country under control either, and diplomatic efforts have not made real progress beyond a stream of telephone calls back and forth. Diplomacy seems to have moved into a dead-end. There is a danger that the instability could spread like a cancer to all of Ukraine, Kujat warns, and it has to be prevented that the situation should worsen to a point that Russia simply has to militarily intervene. The only solution, he thinks, lies in the potentials of the basic agreement on strategic partnership that was signed between NATO and Russia. Kujat’s remarks may be seen in close context with the planned meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on June 2.
Outside of Germany, it has been mainly the Russia media that have reported on Kujat’s comments. General Kujat’s proposal is a challenge: Can military figures, such as Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and Russia Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, break the monkey trap of a new Syria in the middle of Europe?
Background on KFOR (Kosovo Forces): In 1999, after NATO, under much-disputed charges regarding Serbian war crimes in the province of Kosovo, where there is a large Muslim minority, engaged without UN Security Council (UNSC) authorization in months-long air bombardment of Serbian targets, including administrative buildings in Belgrade, a UN settlement was agreed upon to end NATO military operations, with the peace-keeping mission in Kosovo, under UNSC Resolution 1244.
NATO’s attack on Serbia started as Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was en route to Washington to confer with President Clinton on the crisis in the Balkans. It had been agreed that no air strikes while Primakov was in the U.S. Thus, as Primakov reported, when he received word from Vice President Al Gore that “an irreversible decision had been made to start the air strikes,” Primakov ordered his plane to return to Moscow.
Despite obscene efforts by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to force the United States into sending 100,000 U.S. troops for a NATO ground war against Serbia, this was not done. Russia joined the UN-mandated, “NATO-led” peace-keeping mission in Kosovo, having voted for it in the UNSC, and where, to the NATO’s embarrassment, Russian troops managed to be the first to take control of Pristina Airport in Kosovo’s capital.
Since Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation, Russia has often cited the precedent of the NATO attack, without UNSC authorization, on Serbia regarding Kosovo, and the issue of the right to self-determination