it is possible to support Ukraine’s right to militarily resist Putin’s illegal, unjustified invasion, as we do, and to still call for diplomatic efforts to achieve peace. Those who claim that total victory for Ukraine is the only solution do not seem to comprehend the implications of such claims. Have those making such claims sought the views of the citizens of Donbass and Crimea? Have they considered the implications of an existential threat to Russia, as many ordinary Russians now likely view, not so much Ukraine’s resistance but, NATO’s escalation of the conflict into a fully blown proxy war?
The pro-war arguments against diplomacy ring hollow. Duplicity and lack of respect for ceasefires, treaties and agreements is not the sole province of Mother Russia. The US is supplying arms to Saudi Arabia during the current ceasefire in its almost 9-year war on Yemen. NATO purposely expanded over a thousand miles eastward right up to Russia’s border in complete disregard of verbal assurances given to Moscow post 1991. The US unilaterally withdrew from the antiballistic missile (ABM) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaties with Russia and subsequently placed such missile launch systems in the newly joined NATO countries thus increasing Russia’s vulnerability to a US first strike. And recently we hear from former German and French leaders Merkel and Hollande that the Minsk Treaty allowed a breather for Ukraine to arm itself.
None of these facts excuse Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine which we have condemned from the beginning. Any alleged grievances that Russia had should have been dealt with diplomatically through the UN.
Almost one year in we witness a bloody war of attrition extracting a terrible human cost on both sides who seem content to intensify militarisation, with NATO’s explicit aim to help Ukraine defeat Russia. So western leaders discourage and squander any possibility of peace talks, as disgraced British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did in April of this year. Each escalation by the warring parties (Russia, Ukraine and NATO) brings Ukraine, Russia and indeed all humanity yet closer to one accident or miscalculation away from a nuclear war.
Claims of total victory actually mean total war, with all the guarantees of utter devastation and annihilation for many. The risks of a messy peace grossly outweigh the risks for total victory for Ukraine. While expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their resistance to the invasion we call on our government to stop frolicking with the NATO leaders in its further escalation of this unwinnable war and instead to use Ireland’s neutral status to join other neutral countries in calls for diplomatic peace negotiations to end this brutal war.
MARNIE HOLBORROW & JIM ROCHE
Steering Committee, Irish Anti-War Movement,
PO Box 9260,