The Peace and Neutrality Alliance reiterates its utter and complete condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is appalled at the utter disregard shown for civilian life and the consequent atrocities which have resulted, involving the murder of innocent parents and children.
The huge emotional wave of support for Ukraine across Europe and north America has brought us all together against the horror of this war, but there is a negative side. Those inflaming this crisis as a showdown between democracy and autocracy, between good and evil, are also making it harder to bring all sides together in a negotiated settlement that must come sooner or later.
Some Irish media commentators fuel this warmongering by suggesting the Russian war machine is weak, the Ukrainian resistance is stronger than expected, and with Western military aid and combat volunteers they can win this.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky makes a plea for a ‘no-fly zone’, for fighter jets, and more lethal weapons, whilst President Vladimir Putin boasts that he also has supporters, thousands of well-trained volunteers from a now destroyed Middle East region.
President Joe Biden has stated his full support for Ukrainian independence, but there will be no US troops on the ground in Ukraine, repeating ‘I am not going to start World War Three’. So, are we watching, some perhaps encouraging, an ongoing proxy war between the US and Russia that will evolve into an even more horrific Ukrainian bloodbath?
We cannot disregard the way in which NATO helped to bring this situation about through its treacherous and irresponsible reneging on the commitment given to Mikhail Gorbachev that, upon the Soviet Union withdrawing from Central and Eastern Europe, it would not expand into that area. The clear model for dealing with the state of affairs thus brought about would have been that of neutral Finland, whereby a cordon sanitaire of countries bordering on the subsequent Russian Federation would have been created from the Baltic to the Black Sea.However, one can only proceed now from where we find ourselves. In this context, PANA notes the recent statement of the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, obviously not made without the approval of Vladimir Putin. This outlined a solution based on
- A cessation of fighting by Ukrainian forces,
- An undertaking to place neutrality in the Ukrainian constitution, and
- Ukrainian recognition of the existing position in Crimea and Donbass.
This is, in effect, a partial retreat by Putin from the policy of either just creating a puppet state in Ukraine or incorporating it in the Russian Federation and seems to have come about as a consequence of the failure by Russia to quickly subjugate Ukraine.
This could be used as an opportunity for a just resolution of the crisis on the following modified basis: (a) a bilateral ceasefire, (2) the acceptance by Ukraine of constitutional neutrality on the condition of being able to maintain adequate military means of self-defence, and (3) referenda in the Crimea and Donbass under the supervision of the OSCE to determine democratically the future of those areas, within or outside Ukraine.
The principles which should be adhered to are the sovereignty and independence of the Ukrainian people, on the one hand, and peace and security in Europe, on the other. The peoples of Europe cannot allow themselves to be used as pawns in a geopolitical chess game chiefly involving the United States of America and the Russian Federation.
According to Roger Cole of PANA, there is also ominously, a militaristic lobby in Brussels which sees a chance to promote an armed Euro-Federation dominated by a Franco-German hegemony. We cannot lose sight of the fact that there are two major blocs in this confrontation and that demands should be made of both to accept a realistic, reasonable, and democratic settlement.