Well, here we are. Approaching two months since Russian forces moved into Ukraine with no resolution currently in sight. Indeed, the opposite is true with the west, led by the United States, feeding vast quantities of weapons into the Ukrainian military.
Have you noticed how muted the calls for a ceasefire are in our media? Sure, some individuals make these occasional calls but there seems very little appetite for a ceasefire as any such act will invariably see Ukraine have to cede some territory and agree to neutrality. The USA for their part seem implacably opposed to any cessation of hostilities and as I read the other day, seem intent on fighting to the last Ukrainian.
We must acknowledge that Ukraine is in an invidious position with two unpalatable choices. Namely, make a concerted effort for peace (albeit at a humiliating price) but which will preserve Ukraine as a nation and spare its people or, fight on against a superior force that is laying waste to Ukrainian towns and infrastructure.
We can all understand Ukrainian President Zelensky’s reluctance to talk peace but it is inconceivable that he genuinely believes he can prevail. As of today, Russia holds substantial territory in the east and Moscow appears to have accepted that Russian troops will not be welcomed as ‘conquering heroes’ and is concentrating its military efforts. Russian military doctrine on the utilisation of artillery is on full display with many towns being completely flattened or, at best, rendered largely unliveable.
Urged on by the west and the MSM, Zelensky has framed the war with Russia as a battle for democracy and in his address to the US Congress on March 16, Zelensky said, “Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.”
Of course, the MSM lapped it up and has showered Zelensky with flattering reports including, believe it or not, his potential nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. During the 2022 Grammy Awards on April 3 there was even a flashy musical tribute to himself and the Ukrainian military. So drooling has been the hero worship that the MSM has already fantasised about seeing Russian President Putin before the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Seriously.
But if ever there was a case of somebody believing the press releases, this is it. We can’t help but wonder whether the international ‘acclaim’ is influencing Zelensky’s rational thought. Each day brings dozens or hundreds of new deaths and injuries; homes demolished; infrastructure destroyed, yet talk of peace, or even a ceasefire pending meaningful negotiations, gains no traction.
And in fact, the opposite appears true. US President Joe Biden has repeatedly denounced Russia for its violations of international law yet as leader of the free world, hasn’t even bothered to pick up the telephone to Putin and adopt a peacemaker approach – but he continues to authorise additional weapon shipments.
We shouldn’t be surprised as the west has long put the Ukraine in a bleak position with false starts and promises. As Cats well know, for decades every opportunity for a diplomatic solution on NATO, Russia and peace have been brushed aside – it’s almost like we wanted this war to happen. It is an inconvenient truth that by discouraging Ukraine from considering compromises for peace, means more Ukrainians will die.
And there can be no mistaking that U.S. and European governments share blame for causing the conflict.
Who can forget President Putin’s words of December 2021 when he said, “I want to make it clear to everyone, both in our country and abroad, to our partners, that it’s not even about the line that we don’t want anyone to cross. They have pinned us against a line from which we have nowhere to retreat”.
At the time, Moscow was trying to come to an agreement with NATO on mutual security, hoping that the US-led bloc would agree to provide comprehensive written guarantees that it would not expand any further to the east. Filled with arrogance and self-righteousness, Moscow was treated with indifference for which the world, and the Ukraine in particular, is now paying a high price.
None of us can truthfully know the extent of the Russian military strategy but as far as Zelensky and the Ukraine are concerned, Russia possesses a firepower and manpower advantage it has yet to fully deploy. An increasingly impatient Russian government may progressively abandon their inhibitions in the use of force with dire consequences for the Ukrainian people.
The choice for Zelensky is surely about what is the ‘least bad’ outcome. Are the Swiss quietly shuttling back and forth between Moscow and Kyiv? Or the Turks, the Israelis or the French? I don’t know nor do I particularly care who is trying to diplomatically resolve this matter – but this war has to stop before Ukraine is a smouldering ruin and a mere memory.
Perhaps unwisely, I hoped that the US, UK and most European governments would offer at least as much support for peace, as they do for war.