If you are not with Ukraine, you are with Russia. And if you are not with Russia, you are with Ukraine.” President Zelensky has affirmed he is not interested in seeking peace talks with Vladimir Putin’s Russia as the conflict, soon to pass twenty-months, continues to amass a growing death toll. In a recent interview with The Economist, Zelensky called for further support from the allied nations, including the US, UK and Europe, to continue the conflict.

“The Mistake is not diplomacy,” the former comedian stated. “The mistake is diplomacy with Putin.”

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which began in February of 2022, will likely continue onwards for the foreseeable future as Zelensky’s campaign for war continues. The Ukrainian leader has been publicly calling for further support from the US and European allies, asking for more “tanks, artillery and long-range rockets”.

Ukraine has already seen large packages of support, its largest support coming from the United States, with a $45 billion commitment in military assets. Support from the United Kingdom, Germany and Norway amounts to a near additional $30 billion.

According to The Economist, it is not solely Zelensky in Ukraine who supports the continuation of the conflict; Putin has gone on record stating that he would not negotiate a ceasefire of any sort with Ukraine, believing that Ukraine would use the opportunity “to replenish their resources and restore the combat capability of their armed forces”.

Putin has also been seeking allies for the war effort, and, despite a recent, albeit brief, coup by The Wagner Group, Russia remains solidly committed to extending the conflict. Yesterday the leader of the former Soviet Union met with North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un.

Whilst there has currently been no exchange of weapons between the two regimes, the North Korean leader seemed to believe that negotiations between the countries would be fruitful, going on record to state that North Korea and the Jung-Un dynasty firmly support the Russians.

There has been no talk amongst members of the EU, NATO or BRICS about the potential to reach a peaceful resolution between the warring countries. In the United States, members of both the Democratic and Republican party have affirmed their support to continue arming Ukraine. Nikki Hayley, former Republican Governor of South Carolina and current potential candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, stated that the United States should be committing more resources to the war on the basis that “a win for Russia is a win for China”. Meanwhile President Joe Biden is allegedly considering sending long-range missiles to the Ukraine.

The US, NATO and EU have been the biggest voices for the war. Speaking against has been the Stop The War Coalition (STW) who, despite the pro-war motion at the Trades Union Congress (TUC), noted that there was strong opposition from the Fireman’s Brigade Union (FBU) and Baker’s Union who represent some 50,000 British workers. STW recognises that this only demonstrates that, despite the strong support for Ukraine, the support for the conflict is not absolute and that the violence must end or there will continue to be “untold misery for the people of Ukraine and thousands more casualties”. 

Also in opposition to the conflict is political scientist John Mearsheimer, known for his book on Israeli lobbying in the United States, who strongly believes that, without the influence of the West, the two warring countries could enjoy a fragile peace:

“If there were no NATO expansion and no EU expansion, and Ukraine just became a liberal democracy and was friendly with the United States and the West more generally, it could probably get away with that…I think there’s a serious possibility that the Ukrainians can work out some sort of modus vivendi with the Russians.”

Because of the massive outpouring of support from western governments for Ukraine, and the support among most people (a recent YouGov poll found only 23% supporting a negotiated settlement) no country seems to believes that a call for peace is more prudent and practical than a call to war.

There does not appear to be a leader of any note who has the moral courage to abandon the consensus and begin a drive for a negotiated settlement. As the Stop The War Coalition put it: “As the reality of the proxy war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine unfolds, with untold misery for the people of Ukraine and thousands more casualties, the anti-war movement will continue to call for a ceasefire and negotiations. It’s the only sane, realistic alternative to years of war and suffering.”

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