The west must present a peace proposal to end the Russia-Ukraine war

Published : Tuesday, 24 January, 2023 at 12:00 AM

The world is quickly approaching the one year of Russia-Ukraine war. This particular war has devastated the global economy after a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone in the world anticipates that this war will soon come to an end. The most terrifying aspect of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is the complete lack of a peace strategy or even of any mention of peace. The United Nations secretary general, whose business this should be, prefers to speak more about the climate issue. Even while everyone is talking about ending the conflict, it appears that it is not just between Russia and Ukraine because the West, led by the US, is constantly supplying Ukraine with armaments and ammunition and even tempting Russia to use nuclear weapons. Therefore, it is yet unclear how this war will conclude.

According to the current situation of the war, the Russian army will most likely make no further advances in Ukraine, and the Ukrainians will never be able to drive the Russians out of the five occupied provinces, from Donbas to Crimea. However, the Ukrainians will never surrender to Russian soldiers. The Russians now do not have much ammunition in reserve nor do the Ukrainians, since they depend totally on American and, secondarily, European military assistance. Since the Europeans have chosen to align themselves fully with the US, it is up to the United States to propose a peace plan.

While we await a US peace plan, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley conducted a briefing at Ramstein Air Base in Germany last Friday, pledging the US to destroy Russia militarily. They said that the US and NATO will go on the attack to liberate Russia-occupied Ukraine. This would imply that American and Russian soldiers will engage in the first general conflict between nuclear-armed states in history. This is a reversal of the Biden administration’s public declarations, which justified the escalation of US engagement in the conflict with the declaration that it would not give offensive equipment.The Biden administration’s entire story about US involvement in Ukraine has been exposed as a lie by NATO’s statement that it is supplying offensive weaponry to Ukraine. It has repeatedly claimed that the US and NATO are not involved in the war. However, NATO is not only a participant in the conflict; it is also its primary driver.

The controversy about “who fired the first shot” fades away as the combat goes on, as it does in all wars, and the true, intricate social factors involved become apparent. The Biden administration maintained that it was intervening in the fight to save Ukrainian lives throughout 2022. Throughout the year-long struggle, it has become evident that America’s main use for the Ukrainian people is as cannon fodder in a war to control the Eurasian landmass.

Responding to NATO’s declaration that its goal is the destruction of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, published a brief comment on Telegram: �The loss of a nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the outbreak of a nuclear war. Nuclear powers do not lose major conflicts on which their fate depends�.

The Biden administration also offered roughly $3.8 billion in security support for Ukraine and European partners, the largest package released by Washington since Russia’s full-scale invasion began nearly a year ago. While the United States and its allies continue to supply weaponry to Ukraine, they have condemned Iran for supplying drones to Russia. This is a problematic worldview portrayed by the West, which has previously allowed them to ruin countries such as Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, and many others.

On January 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued parallel comments in which they added additional aspects and emphasized Russia’s argument for its attack against Ukraine. It demonstrates that Russia’s fight against Ukraine is a broader assault against the West. Russia’s direct goal is Ukraine; the West is the indirect, but ultimately primary, target. Ukraine is the area where Russia holds the edge versus what it deems the ‘collective West’.

Ukraine President Zelensky had a fairly successful visit to Washington last month, returning home with promises of more American weapons and unqualified US backing for Ukraine�s war effort. Zelensky�s sales pitch, that the war is an investment rather than a charity, went over very well in Congress. But questions remain, such as how long that investment will continue and when will the war move into a negotiating phase.

Despite Zelensky’s desire to join NATO, the idea of Ukraine joining NATO faces certain difficult challenges. Some experts are also discussing a postwar security guarantee for Ukraine in lieu of a treaty, but this would also increase the likelihood of a larger war. Even though Ukraine cannot join NATO, it can make a compelling case that it is carrying out NATO’s mission – opposing Russian aggression. But that is an argument for prolonged war and no negotiations with Russia. Meanwhile, polls in Europe suggest a minor decline in public support for arming Ukraine.

Most crucially, the Russia-Ukraine conflict may not be limited because it has already brought Iran and the West face to face. Similarly, with Western participation, the China-Taiwan issue may become crucial. The entire globe appears to be heading towards the Third World War, which will undoubtedly affect the Middle East and Eastern Asia as a global power shift is visible, and the world must act quickly to avert chaos.

Vladimir Putin recently stated that he is open to peace discussions. However, Zelensky seems uninterested in the peace talks, having recently expressed doubts about whether Putin is still alive and making decisions in Russia. Following his shocking statement, the Kremlin swiftly responded, stating that Putin and Russia will continue to exist and that the Ukrainian president should accept this.

It is critical that Zelensky recognizes that his over-ambition has wreaked havoc on his country. This war has resulted from his efforts to bring NATO into Russia’s neighborhood. Whatever the outcome of this war, Ukraine will require a century to reconstruct. The West is arming them rather than beginning peace, but even if Ukraine prevails, the weaponry and ammunition will come at a cost. Rather than destroying Russia, the objective should be to save Ukraine.

To terminate this war through dialogue, Ukraine should agree not to join NATO, which appears to worry Putin; this pledge would allow him to declare victory and end the battle. On the other hand, Russia would recognize Ukraine’s application for membership in the European Union. Russia would vow to respect Ukrainian sovereignty and refrain from undermining the country’s democracy; the two adversaries would have to put up with each other.

The territorial issue is more complicated, but not intractable. If Ukraine acknowledged Crimea as Russian, as it did until 1954, Putin would be more generous with regard to the other occupied provinces; they could, for example, become neutral zones of shared interest with a regime of unrestricted trading between Russia and Ukraine. Rather than all-or-nothing demands, diplomats and economists have at their disposal certain intermediate categories, such as those implemented in Northern Ireland.

Though Russia and Ukraine may choose to terminate the conflict, the real question is whether the West will allow it, as this has become a manifestation of global power shift. Global leaders must step forward and exert pressure on the West to end the war and begin the peace process.
Only if this war is over soon will the world have a chance. Otherwise, if either party chose to launch a nuclear attack, there will be disastrous consequences. Considering the situation, only the West can bring the peace proposal now on table to end this war and they should immediately do so.

We hope that world leaders will once again believe in humanity and act quickly to end the war between Russia and the West and ensure the fate of the globe.

–    The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Chief Patron, BangabandhuShishu Kishore Mela

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