Britain, Poland and Sweden have proposed sending an armed EU police mission to Ukraine to bolster February’s far-right coup which ousted the elected government.
“Re-establishing confidence in the rule of law in Ukraine will be vital for future stability. We thus propose a capacity-building mission focused on supporting the police and judicial system,” they said in an informal paper circulated in Brussels.
The European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR or EGF) was launched in 2006. Its purpose is the creation of a European intervention force with militarised police functions based on the armed French Gendarmerie and the Spanish Guardia Civil.
The proposals, seen by the EUobserver website, notes that the mission should be launched by June focussing on “monitoring, mentoring and advising” as well as “strategic advice”.
The plan also hints at dealing with anti-coup forces currently occupying government buildings in the east of the country in protest at the far-right take over.
It says: “While the mission should primarily focus on central government in Kiev, it should also have a remit to work in the regions, monitoring and providing advice on how to build a robust national system”.
The mission, under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) umbrella, would operate with the EU’s existing border-control operation in western Ukraine, the so-called Eubam.
It would also work alongside an OSCE military monitoring mission and NATO experts working on Ukraine security sector ‘reform’.
An EU diplomat said the idea was initially floated by the UK at a foreign ministers’ meeting in Athens last weekend, where it gained “some support”.
But several EU countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, have voiced concern about taking steps that might antagonise Russia. But the EU diplomat claimed the CSDP proposal was not about Russia.