Indonesia’s Ukraine Peace Plan Makes Sense—for Indonesia

Indonesia’s Ukraine Peace Plan Makes Sense—for Indonesia
Indonesian President Joko Widodo meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, May 21, 2023 (Indonesian Presidential Palace photo by Laily Rachev via AP).

Earlier this month, while speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto surprised the attendees of Asia’s premier regional security forum by proposing a plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. Though quickly dismissed as unfeasible by Kyiv and many Western commentators, the proposal is significant for what it reveals about Jakarta’s attempts to navigate the politics of the war in Ukraine.

Subianto’s plan called for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal by both sides to 10 miles from their current lines of control, with the resulting demilitarized zone to be monitored by United Nations peacekeepers. Subianto also called for a referendum overseen by the U.N. in Ukraine’s “disputed territories” to determine their final status.

As noted, Subianto’s proposal immediately received a critical reception from Kyiv. At a Shangri-La panel later the same day, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov called it a “Russian plan.” The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry publicly criticized Subianto’s use of the phrase “disputed territories” and reiterated its calls for the complete expulsion of Russian forces from Ukraine. In Moscow, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov hedged on offering any reaction, stating that Russia had not yet received details of Indonesia’s proposals. But Russian commentators dismissed the plan, as it fell short of recognizing Moscow’s self-declared annexation of occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

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