There is an increasing danger that Russia will try to get Ukraine to strike a deal to stop the fighting – to offer peace in exchange for a partition of Ukraine that permanently concedes to Russia what it now holds militarily: Crimea, Donbas and a lot, if not all of the land in between and along the Sea of Azov shoreline. Why? Because the Russian army cannot penetrate further without inflicting heavy losses on Ukrainian civilians and incurring them on its own troops. The longer the fighting goes on the greater the opposition to it in Russia, the greater the damage to the Russian economy and the more likely Putin’s regime will fall. Putin puts on the pressure now to hasten a deal.
The Western powers speak publicly about supporting Ukraine to the hilt, but this is just the narrative they give to the public and which hides the ongoing secret negotiations from all sides. Germany and the USA have their own big power and big business interests to uphold, and they are just waiting for a deal to be offered by Russia that they can support and put pressure on Ukraine to accept. The Germans and the French will follow the Americans. The East Europeans in the EU and NATO will get their arms twisted. That the USA and Germany have both refused to send fighter jets to be flown by Ukrainian pilots rather than NATO pilots is an ominous signal to Ukraine, a clear signal to Putin that at some point the Western powers will back off and have to allow him to send bombs and missiles raining down on Ukrainian cities and their armed forces as much as he wants to.
Ukraine is taking very heavy losses to life, limb, homes and infrastructure. But its army and civilian defence forces are still fighting, holding back the Russian advance in many places. The Ukrainians sense that the Russian advance has faltered on the ground, but they now feel the lethal destruction raining down from the sky. Zelensky and his team are under enormous pressure already, but it will only increase if and when the Americans and West Europeans come behind a peace offer from which all will benefit except Ukraine.
Look out for possible splits among the Ukrainian oligarchs as well if a “reasonable” offer is put on the table. It happened before soon after 2014 when the oligarchs’ factories and plants ended up on both sides of the military front in Donbas and Crimea.
What position should the supporters of Ukraine and the antiwar movement in general now take? First, let us remember what more than 15,000 Ukrainians so far have died for: a reunited and independent Ukraine. We reiterate that Ukraine has a right to arm and defend itself, to make whatever alliances its elected government chooses. We have demanded and continue to demand an immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilians, refugees and displaced people, their right and the means necessary for them to return home, the restoration of their homes.
We demand that Russia withdraw from all of Ukraine, including Crimea and the Donbas. Only then, once Russia has removed its army completely, can negotiations take place that are free of violence or intimidation.
The end of war and return to peace will not be decided by arms alone. It will also depend on the efforts and sacrifices of the organised Ukrainian and Russian societies standing behind each army. It also depends on the solidarity work, humanitarian aid and political pressure that the supporters of the Ukrainian resistance bring to bear on the balance of forces, and it has already become a significant pressure. The antiwar movement in Russia is vital to this effort and we in the west must support this movement from repression by the Russian state.
The Zelensky government undoubtedly weighs up all of these present forces in order to understand what are its strengths and weaknesses at every point when dealing with the other side on the diplomatic as well as the military front. It is under the greatest pressure to make concessions and agree to compromises with the Russian side. We here in the still peaceful bourgeois democracies are not under such pressures, we are not looking up to the sky all the time. Let’s not be the first advocates of compromise. Let’s not be the first to fold. Let’s show consistent solidarity with the Ukrainian people, practically and politically and demand the same of our governments. Beware the advocates of a quick compromise coming from the West as well as the East.
Source > Ukraine Solidarity Campaign
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