Ukraine: How Can the War End? 1323

I could not believe Putin really would invade Ukraine, because I could see no sensible outcome for him. I still cannot. Initiating a war on this scale has no legal justification, and no moral justification either. Russian troops are in areas which have no wish to be ruled by Russia.

Those of us who opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq must also oppose the illegal invasion of Ukraine. Whether the Ukrainian government is obnoxious or not is as irrelevant now, as the obnoxiousness of Saddam Hussein was irrelevant then. I am as fed up now with being asked if I support Ukrainian Nazis as I was then with being asked if I supported Saddam Hussein.

It is simply illegal to wage a war for regime change, without the endorsement of the UN security council.

I have great sympathy for Russian security concerns about encirclement by NATO and forward missile deployments. But seeking regime change by invasion in Ukraine could not possibly be the answer. I still have not the slightest idea what Putin seeks to achieve. It is simply impossible – and has been since the annexation of Crimea – that a democratic Ukraine is voluntarily going to elect a pro-Russian government. After this invasion, the only way a pro-Putin regime could be maintained in Ukraine would be by extreme authoritarianism, going well beyond the prevailing system in Russia itself.

Let me put it starkly. This can only finish with a government in Kiev which absolutely hates Putin as now do the Ukrainian people, or with Russia maintaining a puppet regime by extreme repression. There isn’t a way out with a peaceful, neutral Ukraine. Once you try to resolve matters by pure force, you lose that option. If I were Ukrainian, there is no way now I would be agreeing to the demilitarisation of my country.

As for denazification – which certainly is needed in Ukraine – Putin has given the “heroic anti-Russian nationalist” meme of the Ukrainian nazi groups a massive boost. While labelling the entire nation and government as Nazi is just wrong.

I did not think Putin would invade, for all those reasons. I did not even think he would acknowledge moving troops into the Donbass. I was unsure what to argue about that if he did. The Kosovo parallel with the newly acknowledged Donetsk and Lughansk republics is arguable. As a supporter of Scottish Independence, I am open to arguments from self-determination, and you can read Murder in Samarkand on the capriciousness of former internal Soviet borders. But this has gone far beyond that.

Yet we have seen nothing like the simply massive civilian casualties the West inflicted on Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan. Not anything like the same order of magnitude. In the town of Sirte, Libya alone NATO bombing killed 15,000 people. Casualty figures being given for the whole of the Ukraine so far are still in the hundreds, and thank God for that.

Sirte, Libya, after NATO bombing

Either Putin has not entirely willed the means, or his armed forces are resisting obeying his wishes. Russia has not unleashed anything like the kind of firepower that would need to be unleashed to subdue Ukraine. Western media has gone into full war porn mode, but the extent of real fighting is uncertain. There seems to be a great deal of shadow boxing.

I do not know the explanation for this. It seems very possible Putin has underestimated Ukrainian morale, and really believed Ukraine would crumble. In fact, Zelensky is playing a blinder in terms of maintaining morale, however staged his photo-ops. The more pressing question is whether Putin overestimated the willingness of his own military to kill Ukrainians, or whether Putin himself lacks the will. In Grozny, he was directly responsible for civilian casualties on a truly terrible scale, but is he like the West in putting much less value on Muslim lives?

Grozny Destroyed by Russia

To date, Kiev has faced nothing like what Sirte faced from NATO or Grozny faced from Russia – but not because Russia lacks the capacity to do it.

If Putin is himself ready for massive Ukrainian deaths, is his military pulling its punches? I am reminded of the War of Slovenian Independence, where the soldiers of the massively superior Yugoslav army just refused to kill Slovenes. In that case, many of the Yugoslav troops were initially told it was just a live fire exercise, which lends credibility to the idea the same is happening with Russian troops here.

Putin has not improved his negotiating position. My own friends and allies on the left are suggesting that the answer is for there to be a ceasefire and Western agreement to no further expansion of NATO, and a new arms control treaty governing missile deployments. That would certainly be ideal but it is not going to happen.

You have to understand the realpolitik of the Western elite. They will never damage their own interests. That is why the sanctions that would really hurt Putin, targeting companies like BP and Shell over their Russian interests or the real oligarchs like Usmanov, Deripaska and Abramovic, will never happen because they would damage the interests of the British elite. It is why the UK government fly Ukrainian flags but will not let Ukrainians come without visas. They don’t really care about the ordinary people at all.

The NATO leadership now see Putin in a position where he either has to back down and retreat, or inflict massive casualties on the Ukraine and get bogged down there for decades. If they wanted to save the Ukrainian people, this would indeed be the time for West to negotiate. But the lives of ordinary Ukrainians mean nothing to them.

So rather than find Putin a ladder to climb down, they will strike heroic poses, wave Ukrainian flags and send more weapons. I fear Putin will go for the mass deaths scenario. Macho is his entire brand, and his speech last Sunday was worryingly fundamentalist. I do wonder if he is losing the room at home – he spoke of the end of the Soviet Union as a calamity, but Russians under forty cannot even remember the Soviet Union at all. Nobody under 50 can remember it in any kind of functioning order.

One final thought for now. I applaud those brave people in Russia who have demonstrated for peace. Almost 2,000 have been arrested. But remember this – under the Tory government’s new policing bill, taking part in a demonstration in England and Wales not approved in advance by the police could bring up to ten years in prison. Just one example of the rife hypocrisy submerging us all at present.


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1,323 thoughts on “Ukraine: How Can the War End?

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  • Republicofscotland

    I guess it could be the case that Putin has had enough of Nato trying to roll up nukes on Russia’s borders or that he’s had enough of Western Ukraine committing genocide on Eastern Ukrainians the Donbas for the past eight years in which the EU and Nato have done nothing to abate the matter.

    Or maybe Putin has decided what’s good for the goose Nato/US backed wars, regime changes sabotage sanction etc around the globe is also sauce for the gander. Its unlikely I think that Russia can occupy Ukraine full time, what’s long term plan in Ukraine, I don’t know maybe he’s flexing his muscles to look no Nato in Ukraine or else.

    • Wally Jumblatt

      That’s the way I see it.
      A treacherous American Adminstration (for 3 of the last 4 presidents and 4 of the last 4 administrations) and Putin’s finally had enough.

      I find it pretty unpalatable that the pompous British media and establishment trumpet how we are the ‘first’ country to do this or say that, and it’s all shallow propaganda. The calibre of our people in the FCO, Cheltenham and Westminster certainly seems third-rate.
      We should be pointing our ire at Washington, they’ve been hopeless and stoopid. Poke a bear long enough, and don’t be surprised when he rips your undercarriage out.

      It is shameful the way the British people have not been given the background to all of this – a pathological determination by Deep State to keep the Cold War going, endless encroaching on Russia’s borders, flagging up the intention to put nuclear weapons on Ukrainain soil probably 15 minutes from Moscow, and clumsy adventurism into Afghanistan, the Balkans, Syria, and the first chance they get, Iran.
      Why have our news agencies not been reporting the years and years of thuggery on Russian-speakers inside Ukraine. There’s been a civil war going on there since before 2014.

      – and on top of all that, they’ve got Joe Biden as their Great Leader. FFS.
      No doubt Hunter is asking for 10% on the weapons and aid.

      I suspect Putin is showing great restraint.
      We should be grateful he hasn’t switched off the gas.

      • Tatyana

        Wally Jumblatt
        On Cold War, I think it’s your habit to fill Senate or Parliament with life-long positions. These positions are occupied by old people with certain ideology built into their heads. You change one for another every 4 years, like a carousel. Public think it’s true democracy, when in fact the cast of decision-makers is the same.
        Have a look at Biden, his age and his political career.

      • Republicofscotland


        No one wins in war; innocent people die. Putin has been banging his head off a brick wall talking to Nato, which we all know is US-controlled with no real answers coming back, only sanctions. I can understand Putin protecting the Russian speaking folk of Lugansk and Donetsk from shelling, shelling that isn’t aimed at military bases or posts but at civilian homes and schools.

        The West is flooding Ukraine with weapons and training; terrorist tactics that the West used in Syria are now used in Eastern Ukraine; fast-moving quick-hitting Bandera cars launch mortar rockets or house 50 cal machine guns.

        I think Putin is trying to get Zelensky around a table and get some hard hitting demands from him, the problem is, is Zelensky still calling the shots, or is Washington calling them? If it’s the latter, I think – like Madeline Albright said on sacrificing 500,000 Iraqi children – Washington will have no qualms in spilling every last drop of Ukrainian blood to push their goals against Russia.

        This video is hard to find, and Putin did mention retribution for these terrible acts.

        Burnt alive in Odessa (documentary) 27 Dec 2021 – The Saker (with embedded YouTube video, 26m 31s)

      • Jon Musgrave

        I detect conspiracy bullshit on a par with anti-vaxxers 🙂
        You’ve forgotten the Lizard rulers and the world government…

      • Ingwe

        Pathetically hypocritical posturing again. Can’t even watch the 6 nations rugby without a Ukrainian flag and pompous statement of how the rugby union stands together with Ukraine. Where the fuck was the Rugby Board during Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, currently the Yemen, etc. ad nauseam.

        Yes, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine that incorporates avowed Nazis as part of their armed forces, celebrates WW2 Nazi leaders responsible for genocide. Fuck the rugby.

  • Jack

    What is weird is also the weak effort by Russia, what is even the aim? The intervention makes no sense. It is like they suddenly got an idea, ‘oh we invade our neighbour, we have no plan, no aim’. What we see is a total breakdown of the most basics of military strategy.

    • Lantern Dude

      Really Jack? I remember as a child there was a common, if somewhat frightening, firework called a ‘jumping jack’. It was very unpredictable. Your comments remind me of that firework. No need to worry if they are making it up as they go along. However, it would be extremely worrying for various elements of the UK State and their lackeys if the Ukanii peasantry ever considered the well organised logic and strategy that characterises the current conflict. The ‘West’ appears to have reached the ‘Byzantine’ phase of ‘imperial ideology’ – it’s a slow death, invisible to the inhabitants of Byzantium.

  • Tatyana

    Germany finally took her side, saying no more delays, they start sending weapons to Ukraine.
    Now, the whole thing looks a totally absurd farce.

    ‘Germany to send Ukraine weapons in historic shift on military aid
    Until Saturday, Germany had a longstanding practice of blocking lethal weapons from being sent to conflict zones.’

    The link URL doesn’t reflect the contents of the article 🙂

    • Republicofscotland


      I hope your weeding went well, and that you and yours are safe and well. I see rockets have landed in Rostov on Don. Anyway I have also read that Russia is still fulfilling its commitment to supply fuel to Germany. There have been sanctions against Russia but they have been selective in my opinion so as not to do too much damage to the Western economy. However I’d imagine its just a matter of time before Russia retaliates with real hard-hitting sanctions that will do damage and possibly even weaken the global US Dollar (not such a bad thing if you ask me).

      Russia has cut ties with NASA.

      “Russia has just suspended cooperation with NASA on the international space station .. including the launch team which will not be available to the US. Russia will work with China. Zap! Are there any US astronauts there at the moment? I don’t know, but Elon Musk will have to get them home.”

      Two can play at the sanctions game. In the end we in the West will suffer as well.

    • Study in Scarlet

      Yes, the nation that gave birth to Nazism and brought about WWII, now providing weapons (and succour) to Nazis in Ukraine and giving its very best to NATO efforts to start WWIII.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    May i broaden the discourse by reference to an article written in 2014?

    *HOW THE UKRAINE CRISIS ENDS* – by Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977. The article was first published in The Washington Post in 2014.

    Dear Fellow Bloggers,
    Kissinger makes some valid and interesting observations. However, I do believe, with more than a measure of irony, that Dr. Henry Kissinger is not known for his humanity – but more for his Machiavellian machinations throughout his professional career.

    His observations about the historical distinctions between east and west Ukraine are very useful and of course, negotiation, compromise and resolution by agreement are the main elements leading towards de-escalation and ending of the war. The alternative course – as we see – is already war.

    So far as Crimea is concerned, I do not see Russia reversing its annexation.

    Between the rocks out there coming from Russia – and the hard place in Ukraine – maybe both sides should give some serious thoughts overall to what Kissinger has written.

    Below is my harsh – but honest – view of Henry Kissinger:-

  • Jon Musgrave

    One question that is being studiously avoided by the Russia-apologists : Why should the wishes of the Ukrainian people could for nought? (Ditto those of Estonia, Lithuania & Latvia and other former Soviet-bloc countries). These countries have consistently and repeatedly displayed a wish to be closer to Europe than Russia, and the invasion of Ukraine starkly shows why.
    The EU has its faults but it is the greatest display of international cooperation in the world and does, general, work for the interests of its citizens more than other countries (US, China,Russia etc).

    • DunGroanin

      Russia apologists? Is that the same as Putin apologists?

      Putin bashing has crossed into Russophobia which has further transmuted into Xenophobia (‘going Tonto’) and further transmuted to full on white power racism (‘why are we letting blonde-haired blue-eyed nazis be killed in Ukraine and such violence is being visited upon a ‘civilised’ country?’) – both points of view being disseminated through mainstream media yesterday.

      Such is the Narrative manufacture which your words are either promoting or echoing. Surely you and others can see that? If not, what’s your motive?

      There is no reason for peoples to choose membership of an Ever Closer Union along with the Freedoms of Open Travel and Single Market and rule of Law by an Independent European wide Court – without the need to join a single European military.

      Is there ?

      We had that in the U.K. between 1970 and last year now I can’t take my beef sandwich to France or bring by back cheese and ciders galore. Because of whipped-up xenophobia by the Kipperati demagogues, the Putinesque Fartage funded and run by oligarchs Murdoch and Kochs and Zuckerbergs of the World.

      Ukraine and other nations who were hastened into the EU (with Yanks and Blair’s insistence) can of course choose to join the EU as the poorest Europeans and travel to the richer countries who have been sucking out their man/woman power to supply both highly qualified constructors and lowly paid farm hands or ‘care’ workers and nurses for the underfunded Western European’s.

      The U.K. for one will be happily luring as many of these here as possible – we need their low paid labour.

      But as to whether the Ukraine or the other borderlands of Russia should become advanced bases to attack Russia from – again – is surely an existential question for the Russians who have been targeted through the last centuries at such invasion?

      Should they not make it clear that they are still not ready to roll over and hand their resources and peoples welfare over to the ‘Western’ Oligarchy?

      • Jon Musgrave

        Yes, I use Russia-apologists because it is Russia that is waging war against Ukraine. Putin is their leader but he has legitimacy as their leader (however flawed the electoral success is – just as in many other countries).

        • Martinned

          “War”? Surely not? Haven’t you heard? It’s only a “special military operation”.

          ‘It is the responsibility of this body to stop the war’, Ukraine’s representative told the UN Security Council on Wednesday this week. He was interrupted by the current President of the UN Security Council who clarified ‘this isn’t called a war, this is called a special military operation in the Donbas’. In this moment, the Ukrainean representative was forced squarely to confront the Council’s Janus face. The Security Council President through whom the Ukrainean representative was required to direct his plea was none other than the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations.

        • pretzelattack

          and NATO and the U.S. have launched a war against Russia, and the NATO and U.S. apologists would like us to forget that very inconvenient but accurate characterization. It is indirect so far, but Russia knows who its real enemies are.

        • DunGroanin

          So Aryan fascist apologists against Russian apologists it is then Jon.

          I bet most here will know which side I choose of that ‘red’ line and now suspect that you and all these using the code words of the Narrative are on the opposite side.

          Thanks for making it very clear; i extend an open invitation to come to the Brick Lanes of where we live so we can settle this once again – it seems we have to kick the shit out of fascists every few years to make them understand that superiority isn’t a birthright and without overwhelming fire power against unarmed civvies it is bullshit.

          Truss said today she is happy for individuals to travel to Ukraine to fight Russians ! Lol how she is going to love these Chickens coming home to roost.

      • Jimmeh

        > Putin bashing has crossed into Russophobia

        I think what is happening (and Craig is doing this too) is that the actions and motivations of a national government are being ascribed to the national leader. That is a rather natural thing to do; the purpose of a figurehead is to personify the nation.

        But it can lead to problems. You end up drawing conclusions such as that Putin must be mad; or because there is a new leader, there must be a new set of policies.

        Even if the leader is very strong, he emerges from the nation and its history. For example, Putin is accused of being a poisoner; but in fact Russia has been poisoning its opponents since long before the Russian Revolution. Putin is not paranoid; Russia, however, has been nervous about its borders for hundreds of years.

        In his now-famous rambling speech, he went on about the indomitable toughness and spirit of the steppe people. But if anyone has reason to be nervous about their borders, it is Europeans; armies have been descending from the steppe, and besieging and sacking European cities, since the Middle Ages.

        I do not subscribe to the Great Man theory of history – that the personality and beliefs of great leaders is the main determinant of events. Rather, it seems to me, it is nations that have the beliefs and personalities that determine events; the “great men” are just a reflection of the societies from which they emerge.

        So the actions we are ascribing to Putin are really actions of the Russian nation. Russia is quite capable of removing leaders that fall out of favour, even asassinating them and their entire family.

        This isn’t an apologia for “Russophobia”; it is Russia that has invaded Ukraine, not Putin. It is Russian nationalists that declared independent republics in Donbas, which the Russian government recognised only a few weeks before invading Ukraine. Russia’s neighbours have grounds for fearing Russia; it has form for threatening and invading its neighbours. Calling that fear “Russophobia” makes it sound as if the fear is irrational, like xenophobia or islamophobia. But it clearly isn’t an irrational fear. Just look at the map.

        • DunGroanin

          Jimmeh, back peddling much?

          “it has form for threatening and invading its neighbours”

          Please list the places and dates that Europeans have invaded its neighbours.

          To keep the Romans and Mongols and many a king queen prince and Popes out of it – let’s try just the last 250 years.

          Let’s see how the imperial European conquistadors compare with each other over just that 10 generations. I say 250 years because that allows us to ignore much of the first papal directed parcelling of the world and the machinations of the East India Companies; but allows for that great melting pot of Europeans, the North Americas, to be included.

          I look forward to your considered answer – it should prove research you have undertaken and cited in your response.

          • DunGroanin

            Absolutism actually.

            If it makes you feel better, start with just these nasty Russian invasions over the same period. I’m sure you will be surprised how many there were! They were after all inveigled with Euromonarchies

    • Jack

      Naming names wont lead to anything good. Ukraine is a very divided nation pulled between Russia and EU/US/Nato. Remember also millions of people in Ukraine are russians. Sometimes it is very pro-west sometimes it has been very pro-Russia.
      In my view the best way would be not to join west nor east but stay neutral, having good relations with both regions otherwise we would keep seeing this tug of war.

      • DunGroanin

        Mods that comment is for Jon – weirdness going on with cloudfare this afternoon!

        [ Mod: Try posting it again, as a reply to Jon’s comment, and we’ll check the result. Thanks. ]

    • Akos Horvath

      The main issue was and is a legal guarantee about not placing US nuclear missiles in Ukraine or anywhere near the Russian borders. This is a reasonable demand both morally and pragmatically. Same goes for not stationing Russian missiles in Cuba or Mexico.

      Do you want to live in a world where the two largest nuclear powers are on constant hair trigger alert? Because if you do, you are part of the problem.

      Both Putin and the Western leadership are unfit for the 21st century. Maybe the only good thing that might come out of this tragedy is if people in both blocks realize that the era of illegal invasions and aerial bombing campaigns, like Yugoslavia, Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Ukraine, has to end or humanity won’t survive. But that requires deep self reflection in the West too.

      The signs are not good so far. Pumping weapons into Ukraine, especially by Germany, is mindless escalation.

      • Jo Dominich

        Akos you are right that pumping weapons to the Ukraine is unecessary escalation but, what that tells me is that USA NATO UK and Canada are losing big time. Let’s hope Russia capture those weapons.

        • IMcK


          ‘.. you are right that pumping weapons to the Ukraine is unecessary escalation ..’

          I see it as deliberate escalation. The purpose being to create maximum bloodshed and making any future peace difficult to achieve – death and destruction for decades would be a bonus. Russia would be blamed for producing a failed state and be weakened.
          I see the best outcome as Russia achieving their stated aims quickly and with minimum bloodshed. I believe this is the intent of the ‘soft’ approach and which the NATO cabal of nations is trying to upend. Perhaps the success in Khazakstan has made them too ambitious. I think we will soon know.

      • Jimmeh

        > The era of illegal invasions and aerial bombing campaigns […] has to end

        The era you are referring to is presumably the anthropocene era. Humans have been invading one-anothers’ territories since they learned to talk, and started forming tribes. This is not some aberration.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      No Jon: SOME of the Ukrainians, not all of them. There are large pockets of Southern and Eastern Ukraine which are anything but wishing to be closer to Europe.

      The problem is one minority trying to impose something on everyone, when the reality is that through neutrality, the West can trade much much more with Europe and the SE can trade more with Russia.

    • Bayard

      Your evidence for this (the Ukranian people, not their government, the people, all the people, not just the majority, have consistently and repeatedly displayed a wish to be closer to Europe than Russia) is what?

    • Igor P.P.

      Russia could definitely live with Ukraine in EU, just not in NATO. I remember top Russian diplomat or goverment official saying that it would be good for Russia if Ukraine joined EU. That was before 2014, but already under Putin.

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      The Ukraine, like Georgia before it, has been weaponised by the western governments in their campaign to destabalise and destroy Russia. This is unfortunate for the people of these two countries as they will be dumped by those governments when they are no longer any use and left to their fate at the hands of Russia. As Henry Kissenger said ‘it’s dangerous to be America’s enemy but it is fatal to be America’s friend.’ This is because western governments hate western values like freedom of speech, democracy etc. and constantly work against them ar home and abroad.

  • Jacomo

    What is the point in offering Putin ‘a ladder to climb down’?

    He has clearly stated he views Ukraine as illegitimate, would happily break it up or install a puppet regime, and no assurance he makes or peace agreement he signs will be trusted.

    As for ‘de-Nazification’… yes, fascism is a scourge which must be combatted wherever it raises its ugly head. But if you want to look for fascism, you can also look to Putin himself: an authoritarian leader who wages a perpetual information war on his own people, persecutes minorities, promotes Slavic peoples as somehow superior, and makes dark references to the need for more ‘living room’ for his nation as a protection against external threats.

    Russia has its own issues with domestic skinheads. It seems that fascism is just fine for Putin so long as it’s his kind of fascism.

    I don’t know the way out of this. But I am heartened by the strong global condemnation. The world order was upended by the illegal Iraq War and chaos reigns. For the benefit of all peoples on earth, we need to return to an understanding that launching a military invasion against another country is simply unacceptable.

    • Lantern Dude

      The ‘offer’ is a face-saving option by nations that like to talk the talk but only walking the walk against those states whose military capability less developed than their own. We are all subject to the imperial lackeys of the American empire, lackeys that we are expected to vote for in our ‘free and fair’ elections or read the daily swill in their propaganda sheets. It’s strange how many of my discarded idealistic teenage beliefs (1968-74) seem to be more appropriate since 2019 than those ‘sensible’ opinions that infected me ‘with age’. Fortunately there’s a cure for that ‘infection’ unlike the common cold, which as far as I know remains incurable and has to be endured until the body works its magic on the virus. ;o)

      IMO the ‘strong global condemnation’ is uninformed and misdirected, which to my mind suggests an imperial directive. If we really lived in a free society discussions such as this one would not attract so many trolls and such discussions would not be happening in this somewhat exclusive environment.

      • Jimmeh

        > imperial lackeys

        Goodness me, that sounds like something from the Little Red Book. Why not just spit it out: “All imperialists are paper tigers”!

        • Johnny Conspiranoid

          “Goodness me, that sounds like something from the Little Red Book. Why not just spit it out: “All imperialists are paper tigers”!

          All imperialists are paper tigers.

        • Lantern Dude

          Please don’t put anything into my mouth Jimmeh. Imperialism is a major reason for ‘just wars’. Maoist propaganda aside, are you a ‘build back better’ chap or just a needle point injury? Please forward a list of unacceptable phrases so that your knee stops jerking. Simply put; American interests are not necessarily in the interests of the domestic population of countries whose politicians invariably aquiesce to those economic interests of America that will land on the shoulders of us ordinary people. In that sense I refer to them as lackeys of an imperial doctrine for lack of a better definition.

          • Jimmeh

            I took issue with the phrase “imperial lackeys”. I don’t think it’s skillful rhetoric to hurl terms of abuse at people you disagree with; and because absolutely nobody would ever self-identify as a “lackey”, it is in fact a term of abuse.

            I find it hard to find common ground with someone who bandies epithets around. I find it alienating.

  • Tatyana

    Friends, I hope to be the first to bring the news – Ukraine goes to Gomel to negotiate!!!!
    Thanks all good powers in the world for hearing to my prayers !!!!

  • James Chater

    It’s important to understand the religious aspect to this. (When I say religious, I don’t mean Orthodox Christian in the full sense, but the debased, reductionist travesty you get when it is corrupted by superstition and by state power.) Kiev is where the Russians first received Christianity and baptism in 988. Because of invasions etc, Kiev is no longer part of Russia and is now part of an independent state. But for many Orthodox fundamentalists, including Putin, Kiev is their Jerusalem, their Mecca, the apple of their eye. They will never accept a fully indépendant Ukraine. It’s important to understand that Putin is not the rational, hard-boiled calculator everyone thinks he is. He is paranoid, isolated, prey to cultic and fringe religious and Messianic superstitions, and this makes him dangerous. He goes on and on about “denazification”, as though every country did not have its lunatic right-wing fringe. Plus he has nuclear weapons. He is also incoherent: he believes the West is weak but at the same time he feels threatened by NATO. He is like the ex-husband whose wife has left him for another man, and if he can’t have her he is determined no one else should. Sorry, but I don’t see this ending well.

  • SA

    It is a very major dilemma but why are we here?

    Putin since 2007 has repeatedly said that Russia has been humiliated and ignored. It had been brought to its knees for the benefit of the West. this was followed by the Georgia incident in 2008 where the west again thought to threaten Russia. Then followed the blatant Maidan coup which resulted in a very unbalanced undemocratic situation where opposition was weakened. The insurrection in Donbas was ignored and so were the interests of many ethnic Russians in the South and East. The Minsk agreement has never been actioned by Ukraine and a civil war festered. Then there was a lot of talk of Ukraine joining NATO. Now if that happened it would really be an existential threat to Russia, surely anyone can see that. So in a way it was now or never because once Ukraine joins NATO, Russia will effectively be blackmailed forever. This is the crucial question here and looking at the immediate rights and wrongs of the current military action does not alter this.

    Of course we all wish that none of this would happen and that mankind must resolve problems without resort to war. But given the track record of the US and its actions since WWII ended, it was obvious that the US and Europe through NATO will not stop at subjugating the rest of the world. Putin is merely stating that the West does not have a monopoly on violence and regime change, and in this case there is a real threat to Russia, unlike the fake threats from Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq and many many others where the US and the West have started wars, carried out regime change and subjugated nations.

  • Alex

    With all due respect, I believe you underestimate the Ukrainian Nazis.

    The (quite legally) armed, uncontrollable and extremely violent groups do not need to be in the majority to effectively and efficiently control the government and the rest of the population. Few percent is enough. The rest of the population will be either scared or will see benefits for themselves, even if only in the boost of their self-esteem to be officially promoted into and feel as the “privileged class”. To feel superior compare to the untermensch, which in this case were created out of the ethnic Russian groups with the kind help of the american, EU and British advisors. The setup and technology used in Ukraine were not that much different from the one used in Germany in the 1930s by German Nazis. Once such group gets the power, they are impossible to remove by any democratic means, and until they are removed, no other political party or movement will have even a slightest chance to rise. Anyone wants such a neighbor? With the same target point as Hitler had? Armed by USA and the entire EU and Britain? Especially when one is surrounded by such an inherently peaceful block as NATO?

    So here comes the Russian “limited military operation”. Btw, the Ukrainian Nazi completely control the educational system in the country to ensure that a new generation of Ukrainians grow up thoroughly understanding where the “enemy” is. They were doing this for decades, so virtual or real “invasion” makes little difference.

    Otherwise I am pretty sure that Russia is not going to stay there longer than necessary – as one of them they said ” we want to remove the Nazis. After that we will leave. If you think you have a democracy – you can continue to enjoy it.”)


  • DunGroanin

    A simple look at the map will show what the end result is – no Ukrainian (nato/Nazi) forces on the Azov sea anywhere near Russian bases of Crimea and these parts. Hence no threat to the western end of the new Silk Road – BRI. From which ordinary Ukrainians stand to gain immensely.

    Kiev and its original church secured. The greatest danger to Europe for the coming centuries – the still uncontrolled Chernobyl which will require constant new concrete dumping upon it for ever and hopefully new tech that can be sent into try and stop its reacting.

    I expect other parts will be handed back, as the Poles and Hungarians etc get their hands on fertile lands which can be ‘privatised’ – something that is not allowed at present in Ukraine, no matter how hard the World Bank and global oligarchy tried to convince the Ukrainian Parliament! A system they no longer need because it won’t allow that pillage.

  • Akos Horvath

    Germany has just put the eRosita telescope on the joint Russian-German Spectr-RG satellite in standby mode. This truly is a world class project, that has been successfully surveying space in the X-ray band since 2019. Now only the Russian ART-XC telescope collects data.

    Talk about self flagellation and sabotaging the decades long work of your own scientists. The MPI institute in Garching is the leader of this particular instrument in collaboration with IKI in Moscow.

    The irony is that the mere suggestion of boycotting cooperation with Israeli institutes is immediately punished in Germany. In fact, the Bundestag wants to criminally outlaw BDS. Apparently, 70 years of Israeli apartheid does not warrant a boycott, but 3 days of Russian military action does.

    What has happened to all the usual arguments about keeping science and culture out of politics and using them to build bridges even among enemies? These are regularly trotted out by Germans in relation to the Palestinian BDS initiative. Hypocrisy rules the day.

  • ASC

    So now Putin has put Russian nuclear defences on ‘high alert’ (primed to go, presumably) because he’s heard some ‘aggressive statements from NATO countries.’ Just one more time, ‘aggressive statements’. Like what? Saying firmly that Russia shouldn’t have invaded? A bit too much for Putin’s ego to hear? Have NATO threatened any direct military action on Russia or its forces? Maybe if and when this escalates out of control, the remains of this blog thread will somehow survive nuclear holocaust for future historians to read these comments extolling Putin’s level-headed virtues and ultimately peaceful intentions and it was all the fault of imperialistic westerners for allowing Ukraine’s population to merely democratically express its desire not to be part of Russia or indeed to be attacked by Russia (hence their wish, misguided or not, for NATO membership).

    • Jon Musgrave

      Totally agree with your comment – so far NATO countries have been at pains to state and restate that they will not send their forces into Ukraine in any shape or form. It is Russia under Putin that has threatened nuclear war. Putin’s threats against any nation that fights against Russia, plus his threats to Sweden and Finland if they decide (democratically and voluntarily) to join NATO.
      This is Putin and Russia threatening nuclear war, nothing to do with “Western Imperialism” in any way.

      • ASC

        Well, precisely, if Finland and Sweden democratically decide that they want to join NATO too and apply for membership, is Putin seriously going to threaten invasion of these countries too, or nuclear warfare if invasion of northern Europe is militarily beyond Russia’s reach? A question we may not even have the luxury of contemplating. For the first time, I’m seriously worried about where this is heading. As I wrote earlier in the thread, it was a relief to see that Craig Murray had not anticipated Putin ordering an invasion of Ukraine. But if even those following closely don’t know his mind or Russia’s strategy (any longer), in fact they’re baffled as to what he’s doing. Then what assurance is there that we are not dealing with someone who has actually lost the plot entirely and is now capable of launching a nuclear attack at some perceived conventional escalation? Or that NATO countries won’t themselves respond by adopting a more aggressive military ‘defence’ response now that Putin has repeated his threat to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional armed response (because, make no mistake, that is what he is implying)?

  • Martinned

    This would be a better analysis if it didn’t repeat so many Kremlin talking points about Ukraine and its Jewish President being somehow run by Nazis, or the West but somehow not Putin only being in it for themselves. Like you I was expecting Putin to move Ukraine into the “frozen conflict” column, and like you I don’t see a rational logic behind this decision. Russia and its limited economic resources – they were limited even before the war – can certainly not bear the cost of an indefinite occupation of Ukraine. In thinking through such issues it seems particularly useful to keep the RT propaganda out of things.

    • Igor P.P.

      I am not sure occupying Ukraine would be as much of a burden as you imagine. Certainly not after looking at how Germans managed it.

      • Martinned

        The Germans had the advantage of a local population desperate to get out from under a genocidal Russian regime, and even they only lasted for a few years.

    • Martinned

      I’m not sure if looking at Russian election results as if they were anything other than fiction is really a sensible way to analyse anything. In this case, what you’ve spotted is probably that Putin finds a certain amount of extreme-right “opposition” useful, while being more sceptical about anything to the left of that.

  • Fred Dagg

    While on the surface the origin of this conflict may seem to be politico-ideological, in the last instance it is economic.

    Following the collapse of the Eastern bloc, the West faced a major economic problem: any sudden decline in defence spending, with the vast amounts of capital being destroyed by arms production instead circulated in useful production, would risk massive over-production crises. These could only be avoided by maintaining or increasing spending on arms and engaging in a new generation of wars, in the 1990s primarily in Yugoslavia and Kuwait, and from 2001 onwards in the (endless) “war on terrorism” (“fortunately”, Capitalism’s colonial and imperialist past had sown rich pastures for “blowback” opportunities).

    While the Eastern bloc also faced an economic crisis as it came head-to-head with the rapacious capitalist world order, their major problem was politico-ideological: all the suppressed fascist, nationalist and religious tendencies that had been bubbling under the surface were suddenly free to rise up and cause their customary misery. For the West, however, this Eastern politico-ideological problem was in reality a great opportunity: rabidly anti-Socialist regimes only too keen to militarise, join NATO and allow their territories to host forces hostile to Russia.

    This is the scenario that Russia faced in early-2022. With Ukraine refusing to negotiate/compromise on either the Donbass situation or future NATO membership, its fascist history still fresh in the mind and resurgent, and the West making continuous, meretricious statements about it joining NATO, Russia’s options reduced to either “do nothing and be surrounded” or “lance the wound”. It “chose” the latter and will hopefully be successful.

    Need one add that the crocodile tears being shed for “the poor, innocent people of Ukraine” and the hypocrisy of the sanctions levelled against Russia when the post-1945 “West” has been responsible for 15-20M deaths in both proxy and overt wars stick in the craw.

    • Martinned

      join NATO and allow their territories to host forces hostile to Russia.

      This is the scenario that Russia faced in early-2022. With Ukraine refusing to negotiate/compromise on either the Donbass situation or future NATO membership

      Yes, that’s a real puzzle! Why on earth would Central and Eastern European countries be in such a rush to join NATO? I really can’t figure that one out…

      • Republicofscotland

        What I can’t figure out is why Zelensky refused to sort out the Minsk agreements with the Donbas region, instead he allowed Ukrainians to commit genocide on fellow Ukrainians, and Nato and the EU turned a blind eye. Of course the Eu wanted Ukraine to be a member so it had to turn a blind eye. Germany actively promoted the unrest in Ukraine in late 2013 to push then President Viktor Yanukovich to hurry through his country’s EU accession. German intelligence encouraged street protests in Kiev while Berlin did the arm-twisting, which ultimately forced Yanukovich to agree to hold mid-term elections to test people’s will.

        From there we all know what happened next.

        • Martinned

          Wow, that’s a lot of factually incorrect statements in a single comments. There are worse ones on this page alone, but you usually have some vague link of sanity, so I’ll do you the courtesy of not simply ignoring your comment.

          Let’s see:

          • I’m not sure why the President of Ukraine was under any obligation to “sort out” anything in any way that didn’t involve Russia withdrawing its occupation of part of his country.
          • No such genocide ever happened.
          • Nobody turned a blind eye to anything.
          • Nobody in the EU wants any additional countries to join, least of all Ukraine, for a good couple of decades at least.
          • Germany didn’t promote “unrest” except in the sense that it gave diplomatic support to a pro-democracy movement.
          • Again, nobody wants the Ukraine to join the EU. That is as true today as it was in 2013.
          • I have no personal knowledge of what German intelligence operatives did or did not do in 2013, but as you say, we all know what happens next. It turns out the Ukrainian people didn’t like being strong-armed by Russia. Who’d have thunk?
          • Rhys Jaggar
            1. There has been increasing discrimination in Ukraine, trying to outlaw the use of the Russian Language. That isn’t in dispute and it is absolutely racist.
            2. There have been 14,000 deaths in the Donbass since 2014, which isn’t a genocide, but it is a civil war. We had one in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s and although absolute numbers of deaths weren’t huge, it wasn’t fun living in a country where you might get bombed to death just minding your own business having a beer or so after work.
            3. The refusal to implement the Minsk II agreement, leading to federalisation of Ukraine and increasing autonomy for the Donbass, has been clearly driven by the USA and Germany, as one of the three guarantors of the process, has done nothing to back up Russia to ensure that the USA was not behaving in that way. You could have placed sanctions on all US banks in Gemany, prevented sale of any Microsoft, Apple, HP etc ICT systems and you could have shut down Google, Twitter and Facebook in Germany. You didn’t, because you do what the Americans tell you, even if it means that people in the Donbass die.
            4. Ukraine’s biggest trading partner, by far, is Russia. Russia has paid Ukraine gas transit fees, has suffered Ukraine brazenly stealing gas for no good reason and yet all the time Ukraine is saying that Russia is the problem. This is typical US behaviour in proxy territories….
            5. The Maidan coup was organised by Joe Biden and Victoria Nuland. It was not a democratic uprising. It was all about US geopolitics, in response to Putin giving them a good hiding in Syria.
          • Republicofscotland

            “Wow, that’s a lot of factually incorrect statements in a single comments. “

            So you say.

            The Minsk agreements were signed keeping in mind that the separatist regions are part of Ukraine ergo its for the incumbent Ukrainian president to get things moving, too late now though.

            As for the rest of my comment if you want to apply Hitchens Razor to it fair enough, the same applies to yours.

          • Akos Horvath

            They outlawed Hungarian language education too. This is not in dispute either. In fact, the constant harassment of the Hungarian minority in Zakarpattia since Maidan has been the main reason why the Orban government openly declared several times, way before the current war, that Hungary will stifle Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration as long as this harassment lasts.

            Btw, Hungarians from Ukraine are escaping to Hungary in droves to avoid being drafted into the Ukrainian army. Tells you about how much loyalty they feel to the country that keeps harassing them. But you stay in your blissful ignorance.

          • Igor P.P.

            Ukraine signed up to Minsk and Zelensky continued to claim he was committed to implementing it. It was also a UN-endorsed agreement.

        • Igor P.P.

          Oh, so many reasons:

          1. Donbass special status could allow it to block joining NATO (not explicitly spelled, but widely believed)
          2. Anti-Russian sanctions that the West needs were hinged on non-implementing Minsk
          3. Other regions could soon demand similar status, particularly because of the language issue (de-Russification is hugely unpopular)
          4. Donbass dissenters in parliament with full MP powers
          5. Incompatibility with hardline nationalism, ideological backbone of modern Ukraine
  • joel

    No need to apologise for not foreseeing this. You knew a Russian invasion was irrational and would be an act of tremendous self harm. You will be proved right on that and I wonder if that penny has now dropped for Putin. It is frightening how rapidly he has resorted to waving around nukes.

  • Mist001

    If Russia gets banned from using the SWIFT banking system, then they’ll need an alternative system to make and receive payments, so could this be Bitcoin or some other crypto?

    El Salvador already use Bitcoin as an official currency, so why couldn’t Russia?

    It could actually be beneficial to all crypto holders and particularly Craig, who is the holder of at least one Bitcoin.

    • jordan

      Only that bitcoin (or eth. etc) is a two edged sword. Bitcoin (more a derivative than a currency) is heavily gamed by the FED and the ESF (Exchange Stabilization Fund). It might work for the Balance of Trade in the short run (eg. Steve Brown The problem is that most of the BTC volume is held indirectly in USD. So its exchange value will be controlled by who controls the USD.

      Detaching from USD and friends :), you would rather need a system like the ECU (before the Euro), maybe supported by currency swaps. Some of those considerations are in the design of the BRI, which will eventually be backed by the Chinese CBCC. I am not happy with any CBCC because it renders to much power to a central bank .. but there we go again.

      When it comes to everyday payment, bitcoin is quite clumsy although that is a mere technicality that can be circumvented (eg. Though in 2015, Varoufakis considered it a short time option for preventing a bank run during the Greek crisis .

    • Rhys Jaggar

      It can be any system they like as long as it doesn’t use dollars. They will use Rubles and Yuan most likely. They may offer alternative payments like bartering systems (cars for gas, PCs for oil etc etc).

    • Fred Dagg

      All cryptocurrencies are Ponzi schemes.

      150 years ago, Karl Marx had the sheer bad taste to explain how the capitalist mode of production works in his 3-volume, 2,000+ page work Capital. The fundamental breakthrough in understanding was the production of what is now referred to as the “labour theory of value”, with the three forms of surplus value (profit, interest, rent) being the modes of exploitation of labour-power under Capitalism.

      In commodity production, the capitalist obtains surplus value from the difference between the value of the product and the value of the capital involved in the production process. The latter has two parts: constant capital, corresponding to the value laid out in means of production which is simply transferred to the product during the production process; and variable capital, corresponding to the value of what the working class sell – their labour-power. Variable capital is so called because its quantity varies from the beginning to the end of the production process: what starts as the value of labour-power ends as the value produced by that labour-power in action. Surplus value constitutes the difference between the two – the value produced by the worker which is appropriated by the capitalist without equivalent given in exchange. Labour-power is thus the commodity uniquely able to create value – remove it from the production process and profit becomes impossible.

      Capitalists have understood this empirically (if not theoretically) in the realm of intellectual labour since the invention of the printing press, and the reproduction in new ways of the products of intellectual labour since then has repeatedly caused problems of creating a profit with processes involving low variable capital input. To ‘solve’ this problem, artificial value has been created for mass-produced books, recorded music, film, computer code, drugs, etc., by a system of licensing, patents, copyrights, etc. This ‘problem’ is now starting to arise in the field of material production, where a combination of AI and mechanisation threatens to eliminate human variable capital from the production process altogether, thus eliminating the possibility of profit. Goodbye Capitalism? Not necessarily because, although they still don’t understand the theory, capitalists are already talking about ‘licensed production’ via robots, 3D printers, etc.

      After this necessary detour, back to cryptocurrencies. How much variable capital as opposed to constant capital is involved in their production? A risibly small amount: the initial intellectual work on block chains and the physical work of maintaining a supply of electrical power around the world (from power stations that do not exist just for the use of miners) spread equally to determine the socially necessary labour input, i.e. value. The same principle applies to NFTs – they have basically zero value.

      Taking Marx’s name in vain and/or not reading Capital can be detrimental to your financial health!

  • Brianborou

    I think Craig needs to look at the past events which has led up to this war.

    After the fall of the USSR, The Russian Federation’s economy was in free fall because of the shock economic neo liberal policies imposed on it by the alcoholic Yeltsin controlled by a small cabal of Russian oligarchs and Western powers. An attempt by proxy wars was made by the West to balkanise The Russian Federation and at the time exploit it natural resources.

    Putin was chosen by the oligarchs and anointed by the West because they believed that he a safe pair of hands. They were wrong. He is a nationalist who saved Russia from going under.

    In 2007 at the Munich Security Conference, Putin did not want to have similar antagonist relations with the West as in Soviet Times. The West ignored him, they broke every promise verbal and written given to Gorbachev not to expand NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries.

    They installed nuclear missiles in many of these countries on the pretext they were for defensive purposes against Iranian missiles. They broke armaments treaties with Russia and instigate a coup in the Ukraine which allowed the descendants of many Nazi SS members to infiltrate and basically control the government.

    The result 8 years of murdering almost 4,000 men women and children in the Donbas, becoming a de facto NATO member and a former comedian who played a role as the Ukrainian President now playing in real life stating publicly that Ukraine should be allowed to develop weapons.

    Let’s not forget, the Russians lost approximately 30,000,000 people during the great patriotic war against the Nazis and the prospect of a Nazi Western controlled regime refusing to implement the Minsk agreements and being armed with nuclear weapons was the last straw for Putin.

    • PearsMorgain

      ” the Russians lost approximately 30,000,000 people during the great patriotic war ” Small correction, ‘the Soviet Union lost 30,000,000…” around 8,000,000 were Ukrainian.

      Now the lunatic has put his nuclear missiles on ‘special alert”.

      No doubt the useful idiots will invent some kind of ‘justification’ for this.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        You of course called Dubya a ‘lunatic’ in 2002? How about Obama a ‘lunatic’ in 2011?

        It’s amazing how people like you tolerate mass genocide by the USA but then suddenly claim that Putin is a ‘lunatic’.

        He’s not. He’s a lot less genocidal than every US President since Reagan.

        • ASC

          ‘A lot less genocidal.’ Just a bit genocidal then? Whatever. Your opinion about who is more genocidal is irrelevant to the more immediate question of how safe everyone feels with Putin openly threatening the use of nuclear weapons. I wonder if the current US president was actually more hawkish (and Biden’s ‘global aggression’ so far has consisted of withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan, remember?) whether it would be possible to be so blithe about these kinds of Russian threats. I suspect not and that at some level you, like everyone else bar Putin and his generals, has already ‘factored’ in Biden being, so far, calm and non-aggressive in his presidency.

        • pretzelattack

          including Reagan, with his coddling of death squads in El Salvador and making it possible for Saddam to get bio weapons while funding both sides in the slaughter of the Iran Iraq War.

      • Ron Soak

        Say What!

        We are been asked to take as gospel somthing from a source which insisted their was cast iron proof Iraq had WMD’s/

        Go tell it to the Marines.

        • Republicofscotland


          Here’s the actual documentary but don’t expect Martinned to believe it, he’ll claim its some sort of outerspace lizard mock up video concoted up by the Kremlin and wee green men from Mars.

          Burnt alive in Odessa (documentary) 27 Dec 2021 – The Saker (with embedded YouTube video, 26m 31s)

          • Martinned

            You’re, right, my mistake. You should definitely believe things you read on the internet.

      • Akos Horvath

        What is the justification for refusing a treaty about non-stationing nuclear-tipped missiles in Ukraine and reciprocally near the US borders?

        Which Western armchair are you stoking the fires in my neighborhood?

      • Brianborou

        Hmm, did the Nazis distinguish between the various nationalities of the former Soviet Union when they killed or murdered them ?

        However, I notice you haven’t contested any of the other points of historical fact I stated. Moreover, talking of nuclear weapons, who stationed missiles in the various former Warsaw Pact countries pretending they were to shoot down Iranian missiles ?

        In addition, the clown (I am not talking about sleepy Joe or Bojo) now pretending to be the Ukrainian President, but really taking his orders from NATO, made a statement at a Munich Security Conference recently that he wants Ukraine to have nuclear weapons.

        I suggest you try to use other sources than the Guardian since its track record on Russian affairs is to say the least is wanting. Eg. the fantasist “journalist“ Luke Harding’s tales about Russia!

        • Bohunk Pundit

          Just a reminder that Ukraine previously had Nuclear Weapons but gave them up in exchange for Security guarantees from Russia and the US. How’d that work out for them?

  • Jack

    Germany announces major defense policy shift in face of Russia’s Ukraine invasion

    “Germany is committing 100 billion euros ($112.7 billion) to a fund for its armed services and will ramp up its defense spending above 2% of its gross domestic product, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a special session of the Bundestag on Sunday.”

    And these people call themselves socialists? The downfall of Germany since Merkel left is tragic and dangerous.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      They’ll be assigning 1 trn Euros to fund its LNG if Russia cuts off all gas shipments. Germany is a bout to go bankrupt……….

    • jordan

      The downfall started much earlier. It accelerated in 1998 when Schroeder and Fischer (defence secretary) were elected. Enter Tony Blair, Schroeder called him his friend. This was when the war started.

    • Stevie Boy

      “And these people call themselves socialists”.

      Jack. These people are actually National Socialists. A scourge that should have been totally neutralised over 70 years ago, but was seen instead as very useful to the west (Operation Paperclip). These German national socialists are now major players in Europe – and they are firmly in the pockets of the five eyes regimes. The thousand year Reich is a sick dream that persists. Why in heaven’s name does Germany need to spend so much on ‘defence’ ? Where will the jackboots be heading ?

    • Bohunk Pundit

      This is just another example of why Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine is so baffling? Donald Trump couldn’t shame Germany into taking responsibility for its own defence and now, here we are.

  • Fwl

    If you’re in wrongful / colonial occupation of someone else’s land and it’s time to give it back but you feel that part of it is actually yours or you have populated it with your people and they want to stay or for strategic reasons, there is a bit you need to keep, then the time to sort that out is at the point of handover not later. This is what Britain did 100 years ago in Ireland – it retained NI (not that that was a trouble-free solution). If you give away and then think you made a mistake and want a bit of it back, then it’s too late to take it. Taking it later is an act of war. You might re-settle your people back in their motherland (easy if you have a landmass empire). If you have some proper grievances maybe you carry out some covert activities with limited objectives. If you don’t care about international law or principles or how you are perceived and rely on violence, then you might try and take the bit in question or carry out a surgical Israeli style slap in the face. But

    what you don’t do is invade the entire country from all directions and expect the rest of Europe and the US to think that is any way reasonable or justifiable. No one is going to want to negotiate with you under such pressure. If they are forced to negotiate then no one will forget.

    • Wikikettle

      Well, US successful in destabilising Europe using tried and tested playbook. Germany cancels Nord Stream 2, will spend 100 Billion on arms, break economic links with Russia, buy LNG from US, build new LNG terminals, move from a strong economy based on manufacturing to our debt ridden neo Liberal casino. No doubt next announcement will be LNG not enough so let’s build Nuclear power stations again ! People complain that our Western media do not give fair representation of whats going on and our populations in the West as a result are innocent of our Governments complicity in wars. I strongly disagree. Today one can get information from all over the world from many sources to make an informed view of current affairs and updated histories of how we got to where we are today. Much more so than the recent past. Its the inability of the lazy, uncaring, decadent, entertained, gourged and porned majority that enables the evil elites to kill steal and plunder. The populations in so called democracies are Responsible also.

  • Ron Soak

    The first order of business is to adequately and comprehensively determine how we have arrived at where we are.

    This would require a realistic rather than partial defining of the situation and the ensuing problems which have contributed to the process by which the present moment has been generated.

    One contextual stab at this can be found here at grousebeater –

    Which provides the kind of thoughtful analysis sadly lacking across much of what passes for corporate and often alternative media in the West.

    A similar, but arguably more brutal, take is Scott Ritter’s piece here –

    Referencing former US Ambassador to Russia and now director of the CIA William Burns rather than ‘Putin’ – a simplistic term designed and too often used for crude propaganda purposes to ‘other’ inconvenient arguments so as to further a selectively constructed line.

    ““Nyet means nyet: Russia’s Nato enlargement red lines.” Russia, Burns noted, viewed “farther eastward expansion as a potential military threat,” giving rise to Russian fears that “the issue could potentially split the country [Ukraine] in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.”

    Ritters’s analysis and argument is condensed into this observation by M. K. Bhadrakumar here –

    Observing that those who had already bombed Belgrade for 78 days with no UN Mandate proceeded “from devouring the carcass of Yugoslavia into Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Libya, Syria, Somalia, et al, and arrived in Ukraine in 2014.”

    To arrive at the only logical conclusion -what is referred to as ‘the Beast’ “eyes the vast luscious Eurasian landmass eastward where there are many multiethnic, plural societies like Yugoslavia, big and small, with internal contradictions that make them vulnerable to dismemberment.”

    And thus we come to the bottom line and the purpose of defining the situation in an adequate and comprehensive way:

    Which is that “Russia is not at war with Ukraine, but is locked in an existential struggle to avoid the fate of Yugoslavia. Period. The spectre that is haunting Putin is NATO membership for Ukraine, which the Americans have been orchestrating.”

    The seriousness of that existential threat can be found in not just the ever expanding blob that is NATO, or the sighting of offensive missile capabilities on the RF border, nor only the presence of Western bio-labs in Ukraine, but also the presence of NATO aircraft practicing nuclear strikes within 20 miles of Russia’s (NOT Putin’s) border.

    Along with the very real prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of those who have no problem ethnically cleansing Russians. As for example seen in 2014 in Odessa.

    Having failed to live up to the populist propaganda by not recognising the Donbass Republics in 2014 and moving in at that time to lance the boil Putin, as detailed in Ritter’s piece, added a further eight years to the previous decade or more trying to negotiate like an adult with a Western elite run by children and who, as can be verified by generations of third world peoples across the globe, including in the North American landmass, are not capable of making and agreement.

    As an aside this is hardly the actions of someone intent on some kind of ego trip or conquest for the sake of it.

    Having ‘sympathy’ for those facing a very real existential threat hardly, to be frank, covers the matter.

    Which leaves the question, in light of all the facts we know to exist and their context, no one, including yourself Craig seems inclined to answer:

    What are the Russian people, society and their Government supposed to do in practical terms?

    Every effort has been made to sort this in a sensible and grown up way via realistic reciprocal diplomacy. Those efforts have been rejected.

    Do they sit there and wait to be invaded, dismembered, bombed, pillaged and so on like Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, and all the other examples we can recite by heart as Makinder’s heartland is plundered and its people share the same fate as those in previous examples?

    The point is, Craig, criticism is only valid when it can offer a workable and practical alternative set of solutions to such a mess.

    Until that practical question is answered with a workable alternative we are left with what we have.

  • Ottomanboi

    It is the dual standard. America, Nato and the followers may do as they think fit, and have done so for close on 3/4 of a century in order to protect US interests, the published raison d’être for Nato. Statistically, the US and allies have been involved in >80% of global conflicts since 1950.
    Putin dares to consider a region, whose parts were variously called Ruthenia, Galicia-Lodomeria and attached to Poland-Lithuania and Austria Hungary and which didn’t actually exist as a country in its present form until the Soviet era, as part of Rus, the cultural heartland of Russia. At that all the monkeys squeal and leap, on cue and rally round the little comedian in Kiev, crying havoc how dare this monster invade such a paragon of democracy and western values.
    My extended Iraq Christian family knows first hand what the «west» is capable of in the toll of deaths, the destabilization, the corruption and the millions of refugees when, in this case, the anti-Iran proxy Saddam Hussein decided to stray «off message».
    Sanctimony, self righteousness and pure hypocrisy are the true, modern western values. In a culture, I use the word ironically, with a 5sec attention span for the difficult stuff you really do get what you see. To survive, the choice has to be the enemy of my enemy etc., however reluctantly.

  • andic

    So Putin has suddenly gone mad is it?

    Excuse me for saying but I could get that quality of analysis from the Daily Mail.

    In my opinion the Russians have been very measured for years across the a number of theaters. So why have they snapped now? I agree that on the face of it the cost to Russia is going to be enormous. Unless there is some piece of the jigsaw missing. And that is what I believe, who knows maybe they will find a warehouse full of barrels of Novichok with “made in the USA” stenciled on the sides.

  • Goose

    I too thought Russia would limit their ambitions to defending the Donbas while trying to reopen Minsk. How wrong I was, the full-scale invasion news made me feel sick…with dread.

    The invasion was/is an atrocious development, compete madness. Very little thought seems to have been given to the assistance and levels of resistance. It’s reported (telegraph) Russia troops are unclear as to whether they are supposed to be gently policing areas or shooting anything that moves.
    Disgusted by our own UK govt pumping in weapons and urging Ukrainian citizens to fight to their last too. That isn’t remotely sensible or calming; not against a country like Russia with truly brutal game-changing weapons at her increasingly rattled leadership’s disposal. It’s on a par with urging the Japanese ‘no surrender’ mentality in WW2. Liz Truss even says today she’s happy to support UK mercenaries going out there. Maybe they can put them on Prevent programme or remove their citizenship at the same time? For I remember the same tacit approval being given to wannabe jihadists heading out to fight Assad’s forces in Syria, Channel 4 news even spoke to them at the time.

    The west need to give Putin a ladder to climb down. This is not about appeasement, it’s about mutual security guarantees – I don’t remember European citizens demanding Ukraine’s NATO membership anyway, it’s come from elsewhere. Europeans are intensely sceptical about Ukraine’s western integration full stop.

    Netherlands rejects EU-Ukraine partnership deal

    It’s about recognising Russia’s genuine ‘Cuban missile crisis’ concerns.

    We’ve got a lot more to lose than Russia in the event of further misjudgements,/ misunderstandings, leading to a catastrophic nuclear war. The ultra-hawkish Baltic leaders need to be told to pipe their overly-bellicose rhetoric down too, it’s not helping the situation. Please, can serious statesmen and women step up, and stop the puerile, playground level nonsense?

    • Wikikettle

      As Scott Ritter says, the leadership in the West is rubbish on all levels, both political and military. As I mentioned before, Israel’s nervousness at the current situation, its offer of being intermediary, all point to a new more ” Technical and Military ” direction of Russian policy. This will secure Ukraine from housing Nato, then move to the so called Middle East “Theatre”. It will do everything to remove US occupation of Syria and Iraq with the help of Iran and China ! This in turn will put the shits up Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The Houthius will get more weapons and drones. The defenders and victors of Stalingrad and their decendants have not gone soft and decadent yet. 8srael knows this and it to is shitting itself. Watch the price of oil.

    • Stevie Boy

      “Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said she supports individuals from the UK who might want to go to Ukraine to join an international force to fight.”

      Because that worked so well in Libya and we have the Twenty-three (23) dead and 1,017 injured to prove it.
      These C**ts give morons a bad name.

      • Wikikettle

        Stevie Boy. The fore fathers of our people went to Spain in the International Brigades to fight Franco. They went to hear Paul Robeson sing in their town halls and mining towns. Now look at some of them.

    • Ron Soak

      Reading this:

      The notion that there will exist no support in Ukraine from those who are targeted as Untermenschen by these Nazis – many of whom are embedded in the police force and education sector looks suspect.

      And we are not simply talking about Russian speakers but lots of minority language speakers, the Jewish Community, Roma, LGBT groups and a plethora of others targeted by these thugs.

      There are credible reports, with video footage in some cases of armed gangs turning on each other in some large cities in Ukraine right now. Along with some of these thugs shooting civilians who want to flee from certain cities. Fighting among yourselves and shooting your own neighbors is not evidence of a cohesive society.

    • Akos Horvath

      Exactly. I haven’t felt that scared since the Yugoslav wars, including NATO’s 1999 bombing, when I was drafted into the Hungarian Air Force. I had to apply for annual waivers, since I was in college. I didn’t have to serve in the end and I would have gone AWOL anyway. But I doubt Westerners have much personal experience to be near real shooting wars.

      I really wish people far away from this conflict would tone it down a notch. The EU is a rudderless entity, no leadership in sight. No negotiations are on the horizon.

  • Formerly T-Bear

    I recall reading a report from a foreign correspondent in The New Yorker about Crimea and the then USSR allowing it to be part of Ukraine with the exception of the Soviet Fleet bases and sufficient Army contingents to protect those bases. This would be about the time of Khrushchev’s administration and either late Johnson or early Nixon. The contractural understanding that those facilities would remain with the USSR. The USSR determined the facility of providing power, communications and water to the Crimea was best facilitated by the Ukraine connection to Crimea, so it was (with a provision)

    The Maiden Coup of 2014 explicitly rejected that agreement. Crimea residents voted in legitimate referendum to join Russia. Russia accepted the results. Nato is still crying their beer, V. Newland’s cookies were not magic enough but the smell remains.

  • Waldemar Kozakiewicz

    Hi, I admire your work and unbreakable attitude. This is why I decided to write about my understanding about what was, what is, and what will be going on in Ukraine. For Ukrainians this war started in late 19th century. They realized that to be independent and free they have to successfully deal with two nations, Poles and Russians. Since Poles were barely surviving at that time, they were the first to face the reality that Ukrainian is not Pole. After WW1 Poland had to fight for their independence, territory and borders with Germany and Soviets. At that time when they were occupied with that fight, to their shock nationalistic Ukrainian movement and then uprising emerged. Poles could not believe at that time that Lwów could be claimed by anybody else. They had the same problem north east with Wilno being claimed by Lithuanians. Poland managed to suppress Ukrainian nationalists movement till WW2. What happened during WW2 totally changed understanding about who Ukrainian is for Pole. An enemy just like German or Russian. From that time on there were no Poles thinking that Ukrainians were them. After Soviets collapse Ukraine gained formal independence. What was to happen still, was for Ukrainians to convince Russians that they are not Russians, similarly to what happened with Poles. This war is about Russians’ belief that Ukrainians are their brothers and they are the same. When and if Ukrainians crush this, Russians believe they achieve first time what they were fighting for so long. After that there will be war for the shape of their borders. They don’t have much to fight with Poles, but plenty to fight for with Russians and this will be their next war.

    • St. Pogo

      The Polish response to this is the most confusing for me. I get the more recent dealings with the USSR compared to WW2 and the Volhnia and Galician atrocities however since Maidan the number of statues etc to Bandera and Shukovych has gone through the roof. Polish commemorations graffitied in Nazi insignias and government denial of genocide.

      • Wikikettle

        After Ukraine, Russia will demand Poland ask Nato missile bases and personnel to leave its soil. That request won’t take a long drawn-out eight year negotiation. Apoplexy!!!!

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