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25 Feb, 2024 19:11

Time for peace in Ukraine – analysts to Salon

An op-ed has blamed Washington and its allies for standing in the way of settlement talks with Russia
Time for peace in Ukraine – analysts to Salon

Washington and its NATO allies have blockec peace talks and prolonged the Russia-Ukraine conflict by rejecting diplomacy, leading to more bloodshed and heightening the risk of a full-scale war between nuclear-armed superpowers, according to an op-ed published by US outlet Salon.

“While it is the Ukrainians and Russians fighting and dying in this war of attrition, with more than half a million casualties, it is the United States, along with some of its Western allies, that has stood in the way of peace talks,” Salon contributors Medea Benjamin and Nicholas J.S. Davies wrote in an article posted on Sunday.

“This was true of talks between Russia and Ukraine that took place in March 2022, one month after the Russian invasion, and it is true of talks that Russia tried to initiate with the US as recently as January 2024.”

The preliminary peace deal negotiated by Russian and Ukrainian officials in March 2022 should have ended the conflict by declaring Kiev militarily neutral, like Austria or Switzerland, the op-ed said. Territorial disputes over Crimea and the breakaway Donbass republics, which voted to become part of Russia, would have been decided by the people of those regions in new elections.

US and UK officials intervened to persuade Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to instead fight a protracted conflict with Russia to retake Kiev’s lost territories, the opinion piece said. “US and British leaders have never admitted to their own people what they did; nor tried to explain why they did it.”

Benjamin and Davies argued that US sabotage of the peace talks followed a predictable pattern in Washington’s foreign policy: lying about decisions in crisis situations and moving on to the next flashpoint – in this case, the Israel-Hamas war – before those moves are widely known, by which time they are irreversible. The US and other leading NATO members were “encouraged, or we might say deluded, by limited successes at different times into continually prolonging and escalating the war and rejecting diplomacy, in spite of ever-mounting, appalling human costs for the people of Ukraine.”

US President Joe Biden’s administration rejected a Russian proposal for peace talks earlier this year, even as battlefield conditions deteriorated for Ukraine, the op-ed said. Benjamin and Davies added that US policy in Ukraine is predicated on gradual escalation into a full-scale conflict with Russia, “which is unavoidably overshadowed by the risk of nuclear war. This has not changed in two years, and it will not change unless and until our leaders take a dramatically different approach. That would involve serious diplomacy to end the war on terms on which Russia and Ukraine can agree, as they did on the March 2022 neutrality agreement.”

Salon, which debuted in 1995 as one of the first entirely digital media outlets, claims to reach an audience of about 10 million readers.