Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto attempts to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine conflicts in various international forums.
During the 20th Asia Security Summit Shangri-La Dialogue meeting in Singapore on Saturday (3/6), Prabowo took a significant step by proposing a declaration aimed at resolving the conflict.
The declaration called for Russia and Ukraine to extend the current ceasefire, withdraw their forces by 15 kilometers from the existing frontline, and enable the United Nations (UN) to conduct a referendum regarding the future status of the demilitarized zones.
Furthermore, Prabowo recommended the establishment of a peacekeeping force by the UN in the demilitarized area and expressed Indonesia’s willingness to participate. “Rest assured that Indonesia would be the first country to join the peacekeeping force,” Prabowo said.
Ukrainian Defense Minister dismisses Prabowo’s peace proposal
However, Prabowo’s efforts are likely to fail. Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Rezkinov, who was at the meeting, said the idea of freezing Russian and Ukrainian troops in their positions and creating a demilitarized zone between them “sounds like a Russian plan, not an Indonesian plan”.
Oleksii reiterated Ukraine’s demand that Russia withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory and respect its sovereignty.
Prabowo’s peace proposal also received criticism at the Shangri-La Dialogue, who saw it as justification for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
EU high representative for foreign policy Josep Borell, speaking directly after Prabowo, said there must be “just peace”, not “a peace of surrender”.
China backs Prabowo’s peace proposal, criticize Western countries
Prabowo’s proposal appeared to have many similarities to a Chinese peace blueprint that has been largely rejected in Europe, primarily due to concerns that it would allow Russian forces to maintain control over Ukrainian territories seized during the invasion in February 2022.
Chinese delegates expressed their support for Prabowo’s plan and criticized the Western countries.
“I appreciate very much efforts from our friends in the region, like Indonesia and South Africa,” China’s former ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said.
“With all due respect to our Euro-Atlantic friend: I don’t think you are managing effectively your own security situation. Maybe mismanaging is a better word.” Tiankai added.
Prabowo’s active role in mediation efforts
This was not the first time Prabowo expressed his concern and support for a peaceful solution to the crisis.
During the PKB Road to Election event with cadres of the National Awakening Party (PKB) on October 30, 2022, Prabowo stated that he had been ordered by Jokowi to join the Russian-Ukrainian mediation effort.
Prabowo even acknowledged that Jokowi asked him to lobby the country leaders in the US, China, and Russia. At the same time, Prabowo emphasized his actions as an expression of Indonesia’s free and active foreign policy, served as the justification for his steps to become a Russian-Ukrainian peacemaker.
On March 11, 2022, Prabowo visited Athens, where he held a meeting with the Defense Minister of Greece Nikolaos Panagiotupoulos.
During their meeting, Prabowo emphasized Indonesia’s strong advocacy for a peaceful dialogue and the resolution of the prevailing issue. “We hope and pray for a peaceful outcome in the crisis in Ukraine,” he said.