Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the United Nations peacekeeping operations


We thank USG Lacroix for the meaningful briefing.

Availing of this opportunity, we would like to thank military, police, and civil personnel of UN peacekeeping missions for their standing commitment to fulfilling their noble duty in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions with daily risk to life. I would also like to express my condolences to the affected States and to the families of those killed in line of duty.


UN peacekeeping is an important tool for strengthening international peace and security. For 75 years, thanks to efforts of the Blue Helmets conditions have been created for establishing and sustaining peace in many countries.

During that time, UN peacekeeping operations have come a long way from compact observer missions (still exist today) to complex multidimensional presences involving tens of thousands of military, police and civilian specialists. It is precisely the readiness to adapt to changing conditions that has always distinguished peacekeeping and allowed it to accomplish its tasks with dignity and efficiency.

At the same time, the challenges that UN peacekeeping efforts encounter today raise serious concerns about the future of the peacekeeping. Withdrawal of MINUSMA from Mali and the demands of Kinshasa to begin withdrawing MONUSCO by the end of this year raise questions about the real reasons for dissatisfaction in the part of states that once agreed to host a mission. Among them are insufficient consideration of the wishes of the host countries, and wrong priorities that shift focus to secondary climatic, human rights, and gender issues. An additional factor is the so-called multidimensional nature of modern peace operations, which often distracts peacekeepers from their core tasks and decreases internal coordination. Sometimes, even within the same mission units may see their tasks differently.

In some regions, UN peacekeeping operations have been present for many years. Embedded in the domestic political context, they have become part of the conflict management process rather than a tool for conflict resolution. As a result (and we have started to see this more and more often) there is growing dissatisfaction of the population with the way peacekeepers fulfill their mandate. In many country situations, there is mentorship and a very loose interpretation of such concepts as the imperative of unconditional respect for the sovereignty of host states, strict compliance with the goals and principles of the UN Charter and the basic principles of peacekeeping, namely the consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force (except in self-defense and defense of the mandate). Unfortunately, such an approach leads to nothing but a deterioration of relations.

Closely related to this is the problem of proliferation of "disinformation and false information" about the United Nations, which has been actively discussed in various platforms of the Organization lately. This issue requires a comprehensive approach, because it is not always the case that negative comments about the United Nations are attempts to tarnish the reputation of the Organization. Countering disinformation should not be used as a pretext for censoring fair criticism of the Blue Helmets. Where peacekeepers successfully deliver on their tasks, no one will listen to slanderers. But it is not uncommon for critical assessments to reflect the frustration of the population with the mission they host. That is why the focus should be on the concerns and priorities of the host country and its people. UN peacekeeping missions need to raise awareness of their mandate, do more outreach through radio, television and social media, and implement local quick-impact projects. All of this can help to build constructive engagement with local populations and trust and therefore strengthen authority of the United Nations.

Another serious problem is the mismatch between the means at the disposal of peacekeepers and the tasks set before them, which creates exaggerated expectations on the part of the population. We believe that peacekeepers should remain focused on achieving reconciliation through dialogue and creating conditions for a political process. Search for political solutions should be underpinned by a shared understanding of the causes of conflicts. Without defining the goal, it is hard to identify means that would help to address it. Unfortunately, there are situations where opinions on these issues may differ significantly among the opposing parties, major regional or interested extra-regional stakeholders, and the UN Security Council. Without a political solution, it is impossible to agree on a clear and realistic mandate, win the confidence of the host state and ensure effective support for regional efforts.

One of the consequences of these diverging opinions is that in a number of regions of the world, regional or other bilateral options may be sought when the UN presence does not effect results. Wherever there is no peace and a high terrorist threat, we consider the involvement of regionals at the request of the host country to be an effective tool of establishing peace and security.

United Nations cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations is an indispensable element of the current international agenda in general, and UNSC agenda in particular. We always stand in favor of developing such cooperation on the basis of the UN Charter, its Chapter VIII in the first place. We are convinced that regional integration associations, first and foremost the African Union, which are familiar with the problems of their members firsthand, can play a constructive role in supporting the aspirations of states to ensure the security and prosperity of their citizens. A common assessment by the countries of the region of the current threats and ways of overcoming them, readiness to bear the risks in dealing with them, establishment of a coherent and effective command and control system based on trust and cooperation are key to the success of regional efforts. In addition, the undeniable advantage of regional peacekeeping over UN peacekeeping operations is the ability to respond quickly to emerging challenges and threats.


Constructive engagement with host states is one of the key prerequisites for the effective implementation of the tasks of peacekeeping operations, for it is host countries who bear the primary responsibility for protecting civilians, addressing the causes of the crisis and post-conflict recovery. We must be mindful that resolving an internal crisis in a country is a complex, painstaking and often long-term process that must be in national ownership and take into account the interests of all population groups. There is no "universal formula”, we need to look for a unique recipe based on the social, historical, cultural and civilizational background. A reliable social contract of this sort may be ensured only by government of a concrete state.

We consider the UN Mission in the Central African Republic to be a positive example in terms of establishing cooperation with the authorities of the host state. SRSG Rugwabiza succeeded in establishing close dialogue with Bangui. This being said, we must recall that one of the basic principles of peacekeeping is the consent of the parties. Without it, the work of peacekeepers is impossible.


In conclusion, I should like to emphasize that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (C-34) should remain the main platform for discussing the main areas of development of United Nations peacekeeping activities. Its decisions derive legitimacy from universal membership of C-34 (which includes all active participants of peacekeeping processes) and the consensus nature of its work. The Secretariat should closely follow the deliberations of the C-34 and take their outcome into account in its work. In particular, it regards the sensitive issue of reconnaissance/collection and analysis of information in peacekeeping. As we know from the latest report of the Secretary-General on peace operations, the Secretariat has established a C4ISR Academy for Peace Operations. However, there has been no direct instruction for such action from member states. It is unacceptable that the Secretariat ignores or arbitrarily interprets the findings of the C-34 when making administrative decisions.

We expect that the same approach will apply to endorsement of Secretary-General's New Agenda for Peace. It is important that the entire range of views of member states be taken into account when elaborating this initiative.

I should like to assure you that given Russia’s special responsibility for the prevention and settlement of armed conflicts that stems from our permanent membership on the Security Council, we are committed to strengthening the capacities for peacekeeping and crisis management of this global Organization.

Thank you.

Video of the statement