UKRAINE WAR – THE START
2021 - 23 June - BBC continues: ‘HMS Defender is part of the Carrier Strike Force, spearheaded by the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. It peeled off earlier this month to make this Black Sea visit while the rest of the force exercised in the Mediterranean.’ Why?
2021 - 21 June - on board HMS Defender the UK and Ukraine signed a naval cooperation agreement for the UK to construct a base on the Sea of Azov. (Which is surrounded by Russia and Russian-occupied land.)
2021 - 12 July - Putin responding argued for the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians.
2021 - 30 November - Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Admiral Radakin to become Chief of the Defence Staff instead of the Ministry of Defence's preferred candidate, General Sir Patrick Sanders, due to Johnson's anticipation of future naval conflicts in the Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific regions.
2022 - 17 August - Mail Online: ‘The Pope declares the war in Ukraine is driven by the interests of several 'empires' and not just Russia and that the war was 'perhaps in some way provoked' by NATO’.
AN END BY NEGOTIATION
In Tom Arms’ 6 August post in Liberal Democrat Voice, Steve Trevethan was right: ‘Why does more blood need to be spilled before starting negotiations?’
2022 - 2 September - Diplomacy Watch asked: ‘Did Boris Johnson help stop a peace deal in Ukraine?’
A piece in Foreign Affairs revealed that Kyiv and Moscow may have had a tentative deal to end the war all the way back in April, wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on 23 February, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”
The news highlights the impact of Johnson’s efforts to stop negotiations, as journalist Branko Marcetic noted: ‘Remember it was a Ukrainian pro-Western paper that reported Johnson's scuttling of the talks. Now, thanks to Hill, we know those talks actually bore fruit. The Western press continues to simply pretend this reporting doesn't exist.’
During Johnson’s April visit to Kyiv he urged Zelensky, who AOL said on 3 March called for direct negotiations with Putin, to break off talks with Russia because Putin cannot be negotiated with and the West isn’t ready for the war to end.
Pope Francis should NOW repeat his 11 March 2022 offer to mediate to Putin who said “not now” or Trump will become president and ‘the US would morph into an authoritarian state and Ukraine would be abandoned’ according to the Guardian’s John Naughton.
OR AN ENDLESS WAR?
In my book Hitchhiking to India in 1962, I wrote about Syria: ‘Already half the population are refugees, that is 12 million, the same number displaced in India, and 250,000 have been killed.
In 2012, Kofi Annan, on behalf of the UN, proposed a political compromise but the West insisted on Assad resigning, so Annan resigned instead. In January 2014 Lakhdar Brahimi, backed by the UN and the Arab League, chaired a conference in Geneva but the US Secretary of State declared on the first day, Assad must go.
Let a third attempt of diplomacy be more successful. The time has come for serious talking between the US, Russia, Turkey and Iran behind closed doors at the UN.’
Today in Ukraine we see another tragedy.
2022 - 14 May - Patrick Cockburn wrote in the iNews: ”Mission creep” from a policy of defending Ukraine to one of defeating Russia has been going on since early in the war, but lately it has become more of a “mission gallop”. In expanding their war aims, the US and the Nato powers are doing Ukrainians no favours, but they are dooming them to living in an area where outside fight each other over issues that have nothing to do with Ukraine. This was the fate of Syria after 2011, producing endless and turning half the population into refugees.
2022 - 22 September - he wrote: ‘more probable that the war will go on and on without producing a victor, as has happened so often in recent military conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.’
2023 - 19 - August 19 he wrote: ‘Nothing but dire news has poured out of Afghanistan over the past two years since the Taliban captures Kabul on 15 August 2022. . . It took sustained incompetence on the part of US and British leaders to lose the war in Afghanistan, a failure that is worrying since the same sort of people are in charge today of issues of war and peace in Ukraine.'
2023 - 30 July - ex-Danish army officer working with NATO said. I am thrilled that Sweden will now be in NATO. He says: ‘We can now close off the Baltic and warn Putin we could take Kaliningrad.’ Grodno in Belarus, where 100 Wagner troops are based, is two and a half hours drive from the Kaliningrad border.
2023 - 1 September - ex UK army officer wrote: ‘Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, suggested that western diplomats were beginning to consider trading Ukrainian land for Nato membership. Interestingly, Russia scoffed at the idea – keeping Nato out of Ukraine is a central Russian war aim. With the war likely to go well beyond next year, we need to look coldly at not just where we are, as friends and supporters of Ukraine, but where we are likely to be in two, three or 10 years.
2023 – 30 August - Anatol Lieven pointed out in the Guardian: ‘the vital fact is that the enemy gets a vote.’
2023 - 23 June - Pope Francis said: ‘there was no apparent end in sight to the war in Ukraine as his peace envoy wrapped up three days of talks in Moscow,’ Reuters reports. ‘The tragic reality of this war that seems to have no end demands of everyone a common creative effort to imagine and forge paths of peace.’
2023 – 6 September - The chief of the general staff of the Polish armed forces urged: ‘Vladimir Putin’s “gangster”-like nuclear threats require NATO to adopt a much more aggressive response, including flying more aircraft with nuclear weapons.’
2023 - December - The headlines are singing the same tune: the war in Ukraine is done, time for negotiations. The best deal Ukraine can hope for is what was on offer in April 2022, when Zelensky and the Russians were willing to agree to postpone the Crimean issue, strong federalism or autonomy for eastern Ukraine, with language rights. Effectively, the platform as Zelensky was elected on with 73% of the vote. The peace deal in April 22 was scuppered when Boris Johnson went to Kiev threatening Zelensky and promised the EU and US sanctions would cripple Russia in a matter of months. Ukraine is now destroyed. Over 200,00 Ukrainian and Russian soldiers are dead and millions displaced.
2019 - Philip Short’s book Putin p652: 'For Moscow, progress needed to come from the implementation of the Minsk accords'. In autumn 2019, when Zelensky tried to take a tentative step in that direction, agreeing to a referendum on the future state of the Russian-occupied territories in the Donbas, there was such an outcry from hard-line Ukrainian nationalists that Zelensky backed down. It marked a turning point, sounding the death knell for any realistic hope of peace in Eastern Ukraine.
As long as the frozen conflict in Donbas continued, formal Ukrainian membership of NATO was ruled out. But it did not prevent Ukrainian territory becoming, for all practical purposes, an extension of the Western alliance. NATO leaders thought that this would deter Russian aggression. For Russia it was a casus belli.
In February 2021, pro-Russian oligarch Victor Medvedchuk’s three Russian language TV channels were closed down on national security grounds and his assets were sequestered. Within days, Putin ordered the massive build-up of troops along the Ukrainian border, which opened the way to his meeting with Biden in Geneva.
In late June, less than a week after the Geneva talks, Boris Johnson sent a destroyer through Crimean waters to demonstrate the West’s refusal to recognise Russian sovereignty. Three weeks’ later Putin published a long article entitled, ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians’. The article signalled a change in Putin’s thinking.’