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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  • mark golding

    A clandestine section aptly named ‘EDP Bio_Threat Reduction’ at Porton Down biolab gets papers from a number of biolabs handling dangerous pathogens in Ukraine and Georgia. Specific details of these labs have been removed from the U.S. Embassy Kyiv website albeit some archived i.e. – last visited 26 hrs ago.

    I believe President Putin has targeted at least 5 of these labs in Ukraine much to astonishment and anger from some US/UK and Israeli scientists. Porton apparently emphasises the work is not offensive and the pathogens are frozen and inactive, only dangerous if backup electricity is lost and the vials defrost. This I believe although unverified, part of President Putin’s ‘Special Operations’ in Ukraine.

  • adriaan luijk

    Good to see that the comments are from serious readers/writers.
    In relation to this article from Craig, and especially his queries why Putin did it. Here is an article highly recommended by Glen Greenwald and I can see why. My after thought is that indeed it was and is the aim of the American establishment (And the English since 1914)) to totally isolate Russia from the world and civilisation and they have achieved this now. That’s why Biden is happy now and he does not need to send an army but let the Ukrainians do it for some time to come. But better read the article first. it bring a lot a clarity in the situation.

    • Tuppence Worth

      Considering the build up of military encircling Russia and USA and UK as well as NATO bases in Ukraine ramping up for years and months and the usual motives of the war machine going into action to serve the arms industry and Anglo American interests in controlling geopolitics and keeping people trapped in petro dollar hikes.
      Isn’t it possible that one if the motives for Russian troops to go in and neutralise bases and strategic places be that they had got wind of something far more sinister…such as the Americans trying to bring in strategic nuclear weapons into the Ukraine? As well as Russia ceasing to trade in petro dollars and wishing to have more intermmediary or central role in trading and co operation with Europe and China? Happy to be enlightened.??

    • Squeeth

      Yet Michael Hudson, an economic historian of some note thinks that this will accelerate the dissolution of the US empire of cruelty.

  • M.J.

    I salute the heroic Ukrainian youth who have stopped the Russian invaders in their tracks. I hope they will continue to put up fierce resistance and turn the affair into a failed fiasco for the Russians, just as Finns and Afghans have done.
    The news too, illustrates the wisdom of bringing back the BBC World Service in Russian on shortwave, to counteract Putin’s lying state propaganda and attempts to block light and truth from the West.
    The sooner Soviet museum pieces like Putin, Lukashenko and Lavrov are out of the way and a younger democratically minded generation rules Russia and forsakes arrogant dictators like Assad, the better off we will all be.
    I am happy to have donated to the British Red Cross appeal for Ukraoine.
    Слава Україні !

    • Akos Horvath

      Your heroic Finns then besieged Leningrad for 900 days with their German Nazi friends and caused the death of close to a million Russians. How old are you, five? That explains your ignorance of history and infantile black and white worldview. I hope you will never get anywhere near the launch button of nuclear missiles.

      • M.J.

        This is rubbishy Communist propaganda. Stalin invaded Finland and got a bllody nose. Good for Finland! Maybe it also be so in Ukraine!

        • Squeeth

          @M.J. The USSR tried to invade Finland with reservists and got a bloody nose, When they tried again with proper soldiers the Finns were trounced.

    • Severon

      ‘a younger democratically minded generation’ You mean like the present Finnish Government? Is that what you have in mind? Sanna Marin for President of Russia?

    • DunGroanin

      You sound like a warmonger who is dragooning youth into a lethal folly.

      Walk your talk go to the front line and lead the charge with your free pop gun and bottles of petrol – then comeback here and tell us of your tales of dragons you slew .
      Bring back the heads of these cold war dinosaurs you see everywhere.
      Being a cowardly lion from your keyboard doesn’t convince me of anything except the death of many a Hitler youth types you try to sarcastically encourage here.

      • M.J.

        It is equally to proivide citizens with accurate information. The Russian state is lying to its people, just as in the days of the Soviet Union. Fortunately the BBC has come up with a way round then block on it,
        To get around the BBC ban in Russia:

        download the Psiphon app from the AppStore or Google Play Store
        look for the dedicated BBC site on the Tor Browser

        which can be found using this URL:


        Note that this URL only works using the Tor Browser or the Onion Browser (on iPhones)
        If access to the apps is restricted then send a blank email to [email protected] or [email protected]. An email will be sent in response with a direct and safe download link

        The BBC has also launched two new shortwave frequencies broadcasting World Service English news for four hours a day to Ukraine and parts of Russia:

        15735 kHz from 14:00 GMT to 16:00 GMT
        5875 kHz from 20:00 GMT to 22:00 GMT

        May the morale of the Ukrainian people, as they listen to the BBC stay sky-high! And especially the youth, to strengthen their morale to put up fierce resistance to the invader.

        Слава Україні !

        • Blofeld

          I it beyond belief that in order to spread their propaganda the BBC have resorted to using an ‘onion’ address, otherwise known as ‘hidden services’ which the BBC loves to demonise by referring to it as ‘The Dark Web’. I will check out these new shortwave frequencies when I am over in St Petersburg next week. Thanks.

    • Bruce_H

      Nice provocation… I’m sure the parents of all the soon to be deceased “heroic youth” will be really chuffed by your support. Another armchair warmonger happy to see blood spilled, not your own though of course..

  • mark golding

    Seeing the situation of fluid CIA conjured terror in Syria and after talking to a well-informed buddy I am bothered that Russia might have to face and endure, as well as fight, risk and suffer, a major stall in Ukraine.

    As I suspected in a ‘The Reichstag Fire’ moment Britain is not only involved in the transfer of foreign fighters from Syria to Ukraine, more seriously a plot to strike a nuclear plant In Ukraine was executed by trained foreign fighters and our intelligence services are fully aware that ex and serving SAS dressed as Russians are in Ukraine. Why? We witnessed this in Iraq on a odd occasion when the British army fucked up Operation Hathor and an Iraq policeman in Basra was murdered. Later the MOD said the police force was infiltrated by illegal militia groups. Illegal militia group is code for foreign terrorist or lethal Operation Tango ex SAS British mercenaries, ex Bosnia operations..

  • Nikla

    Just the fact that Zelenskyy has barred men aged 16-60 from leaving the country makes him a conundrum of the highest order. Here’s hoping that Putin kicks his ass. He deserves it. Victory to Putin!

    • M.J.

      Putin is a Soviet museum relic, as are Lukashenko and Lavrov. The young people of Russia may well put these people in their correct place within a decade, possibly much sooner. In the free West we can call the war a war. We are not slaves of the head of state, unlike Russian slaves of Putin.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        You ever tried criticising Cheney et al during Iraq? I mean seriously criticising them?? In the West???

        Well, I did and trust me, you do not have the freedom to call the USA global genocidalists without suffering severe consequences.

        There is zero difference between the West and Russia, merely different oligarch actors.

  • Jim

    The war-mongering BBC are keeping on pushing for this ‘no fly zone’. Like a rabid dog with a juicy bone they won’t let go of it. Tells you everything you need to know.

    • Wikikettle

      With the OPCS infiltrated by the West, Russia has to secure the US UK bio labs in Ukraine. Listening to African, Latin American and Asian news channels you get a different impression from our Western MSM. Russia is not isolated among the Global South populations. The Global South elites, with thier loot in Western banks and children in Western finishing schools, ( including Russian oligarchs) may vote in UN against Russia, but their own poor populations NOT.

  • Joe Mellon

    This war is not being fought for the freedom of brave Ukraine: it is being fought for the ‘right’ of the US to a sphere of influence extending to Russia’s border.
    The US does NOT believe in the sacrosanct right of nations to determine their alliances: it has enforced the ‘Munro Doctrine’ on all states in the Americas, from Chile to Canada since 1823. (No ‘foreign’ power shall exercise influence in the Americas).
    The US could probably end the conflict tomorrow by announcing that it is prepared to guarantee a demilitarized neutral Ukraine. Austria has been enforced neutral for the last 70 years. That has worked well.
    It has led the Ukraine up the garden path and into war, deliberately, as a geopolitical game. (That is not my view , it is the view of old hands of Russia / Soviet Union policy:
    – George Keenan, designer of the NATO Cold War ‘containment strategy’
    – Henry Kissinger, the arch cynic and Realpolitiker
    – Prof Mearsheimer – foreign policy expert)
    Now consent is being manufactured for supplying arms and military support and thus the death of countless Ukrainians (and Russians) and the destruction of the Ukraine in a prolonged war which can only end one way.

      • Wikikettle

        Reports in Figaro, top fifteen French companies don’t want to break with Russia. If true, that will be a big blow to the Western blockade of Russia. No doubt “French Fries” will be cancelled again.

        • Jarek Carnelian

          George Galloway just made the point on his YT channel that you can locate IKEA in Kiev on BANDERA Street – and he isn’t wrong. You can check that on Google Maps. Goto Kiev City as your location, and type Bandera as the place you are traveling towards – and you can see it there for yourself, along with the driving time.

          Google Maps – Stepana Bandery Avenue, Kyiv City

          If you do want to learn more about Bandera and the OSS (later CIA) adoption of the OUN factions down through Bandera as weapons for later use in factional conflicts against Russia, then Oliver Stone’s “Ukraine on Fire” covers it in the first quarter. The documentary is all over the web. Easy to locate.

          After all, given that the nuclear clock now stands at one nanosecond to midnight you might like to understand why in fact your world may shortly end. What do you think are the odds at this date and time? 50/50 for Armageddon?

          • Bruce_H

            To Janek
            I just checked and it’s 26 hours by car, 2415 kms from , waiting for the bang. where I live. I changed my address a little in case a cruise missile is dispatched… I think I’ll find an Ikea a bit nearer.

            Did you know that there was some scandle a while back about the founder of IKEA and some extremist groups? Certainly untrue, of course.

  • Paul Coonce

    I wonder why all of the posts I have read vilify the US. The US has not attacked, has not retaliated, has not instigated the Russian government. Yes, they have supplied ammunition and anti-tank ammunition; no different than any other country. Yet all of the posts I’ve seen so far vilify the US. What are you reading in your press? The US has a feckless, spineless leader that won’t respond to a completely repulsive act of women and children getting shelled in the most ruthless manner imaginable. This is vile and disgusting! What am I not seeing? Why do you all think this can possibly be sane?

  • joe_berlin

    “In the town of Sirte, Libya alone NATO bombing killed 15,000 people.”

    Where do this number come from?
    On the websites of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International I could only find reports about less than 100 civilian victims.

  • Edmond V.O. Katusz

    Those politicians at the absolute top.
    These so-called world leaders are just like pig farmers.
    We the common people are like pigs to them.
    We all know what happens to pigs in the end.
    Don’t we?

  • Godfree Roberts

    Those of us who opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq must also oppose the illegal invasion of Ukraine.??

    Iraq represented no threat to NATO. Ukraine represents an existential threat to Russia because it is NATO’s spearhead.

    Historical note: A referendum on the future of the Soviet Union was held on 17 March 1991 across the Soviet Union. The question put to voters was, “Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any ethnicity will be fully guaranteed?”. 71% of Ukrainians voted to keep the Soviet Union intact.

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