Matthew Gordon-Banks

How the West can End Ukraine Conflict

The Russians remember the promises of the US government and NATO made when they negotiated the taking down of the Berlin Wall. They have raised those promises and their concerns frequently, especially since 2008, and those concerns have been well documented.

Ambassador William Burns, the former US Ambassador to Moscow and a very senior and accomplished career diplomat who is now Director of the CIA, made the Russian concerns clear in a well documented ‘cable’ to Washington during his time in Moscow. It is these concerns on the part of Moscow, a desire to not have NATO bordering the Russian Federation at any cost, together with the relentless actions of NATO and the West in the expansion Eastwards, which have helped conspire to produce the conflict we now see in Ukraine.

I shall not dwell here on the enormous effort and cash put in to ‘Regime Change’ in Kiev in 2014, or the considerable control of British intelligence and the CIA, suffice to remind readers that the start of the current conflict goes back many years. So what of the current situation?

The last two years of conflict since the start of the Russian ‘special military operation’ SMO has gone quickly, unless you were directly involved in one way or another. President Putin knows full well that following the failure of the Minsk Agreements process and his sending troops into Ukraine, he made a key mistake. Contrary to the Western NATO narrative of a failure to ‘take’ Kiev in the early days, Putin pulled back in the hope that the Russian military action would bring Ukraine and the West to their senses. As always, the Westerners were playing for time.

Today, major areas of Ukraine are now under Russian control and will remain so. Indeed it seems likely that the steady, relentless advance of Russian troops will see Russia taking control of much more land and very possibly the Black Sea port of Odessa as well. It never needed to be this way, and political decisions rather than military ones have made the situation worse for Ukraine.

The country is now devastated and relies on Western financial aid to keep its public sector afloat. Millions of people have left, lots of them to Russia, and they seem destined not to return.

Ukraine has been used by a neo-con clique in Washington, aided by friends in London, merely as a means to seek to degrade the forces of the Russian Federation. That plan has long been seen to fail miserably and economic sanctions have largely helped strengthened significant parts of the Russian economy. In fact Russians are now experiencing the best living standards they have ever had.

Enough is enough. Most of the areas taken over by Russia are Slavic and Russian speaking. Residents are largely happy to be with Russia and see an end to Ukrainian bombing of residential areas such as Donetsk. There are no soldiers patrolling the streets and there is no need for them either. They have enough popular support. This is not an occupation like Iraq, Afghanistan or the West Bank in Israel. Mainstream journalists who declare it to be a brutal occupation largely know they are not writing the truth.  The overwhelming majority of residents just want peace to rebuild their lives.

It is time for Western NATO voices to claim ‘victory’. To claim they prevented Russia from occupying all of Ukraine, even though that was never their intention, to claim they stopped Russia rolling on to Berlin, the Baltics, wherever. We would know it was not true, we would know NATO had been largely defeated, we would know Russia was always provoked. Yet this is the face-saving formula best equipped to stop the fighting, stop the killing, stop the rot, sooner rather than later because if it continues – short of a major western false flag which could lead to devastating consequences – the slow deliberate attrition of Russian forces will prevail.

I have known Russia first hand for over forty years. I have never changed my view about the provocation of Russia in recent years. As an intellectual by nature I can speak to and appreciate the views and concerns of all sides. Anyone who cannot recognise the other point of view regarding Ukraine and NATO is more propagandist than diplomat. The above is a compromise that I can live with, especially if it brings about peace more quickly.



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