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“Impossible to resolve Ukrainian conflict without Russia” – Putin

AS the Ukraine Peace Summit gets underway in Switzerland – backed by the Western powers engaged in a “proxy war” against Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin has, in a rare public commentary, waged in on the debate.

“It was the West that prepared and provoked the Ukrainian crisis, and now it is doing everything to ensure that the crisis continues,” President Putin said this week, before adding: “The real masters of Ukraine are not the people, but the elites of the West.”

The war in Ukraine that broke out in February 2022 over the expansion of NATO eastward to the border with Russia has continued relentlessly, with little evidence of peace initiative in sight.

The African Peace Initiative led by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and backed by the AU could not make a breakthrough. Neither did China’s 10-point plan for peace in Ukraine, as both efforts were flatly rejected by the US-led Western powers behind Ukraine.

Speaking in Hungary this week, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was buoyant about the West’s unwavering military, financial and diplomatic support for Ukraine. He announced the continuation of mega-dollar support for Kyiv, without any mention of a willingness to trigger a peace deal with Russia. Typically, the NATO boss has become accustomed to war-mongering when remarking about the conflict in Ukraine, which Moscow blames squarely on the doorstep of the offensive military bloc that argues NATO is only a “defensive” organisation.

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The public opinion and public relations activities in support of the Ukrainian regime are well-funded machinery that is backed by the mainstream media, particularly the public broadcasters.

The US President Joe Biden, beleaguered in the wake of the conviction of his son Hunter Biden on gun charges and also trailing former President Donald Trump in the polls for the November elections, has sought to use support for Kiev as a rallying point for his dubious foreign policy.

“No matter what it takes,” President Biden is wont of saying, “America shall stand with Ukraine.” His further argument is that if Russia succeeds in Ukraine, President Putin will choose another country to attack, a claim the Kremlin has dismissed as baseless and preposterous.

The G7 also met in Italy this week, and unsurprisingly, undertook to follow in the footsteps of the US foreign policy by unwaveringly supporting Ukraine “no matter what”.

The most common factor across the Western stance on Ukraine is the glaring absence of calls to give peace a chance.

This has hardened the attitude of Moscow, which has shown that they are in the conflict they describe as a prevention of existential threat to Russia for a long hall.

The barrage of unprecedented US-led Western sanctions against Russia over the last two years has failed to bring the Russian economy to its knees.

Russian oil and gas still finds its way to the Western capitals that purchase the goods via third parties and do so directly from Russia only in the dark.

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It is a great pity that peace – the most important commodity in the preservation of life – has been relegated to the lowest of the order of importance in a hurry to shore up the weaker Ukrainian military.

South Africa’s Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has led calls across the international community for a sincere effort to be invested in search for a truce in Ukraine, but to no avail.

SA has also argued that Ukrainian peace summits such as the one taking place in Switzerland will come to naught as long as Moscow is ostracised.

Brazil, India, China and a host of many other nations across the Global South have made the same argument and declined invitation to participate in Switzerland. During the BRICS meeting of the Foreign Ministers in Russia this week, China’s foreign affairs minister Wang Li said Beijing was working on a renewed plan to bring about a negotiated settlement in Ukraine, and save lives.

“Both Russia and Ukraine will be invited to participate,” Mr Wang said, indicating China’s displeasure at the West’s unacceptable push for their self-serving interests at the expense of Ukraine.

As President Putin commented this week: “The conference in Switzerland on Ukraine is just a ploy to divert everyone’s attention. Without Russia’s participation and open dialogue, it is impossible to resolve the Ukrainian conflict.”

The idea that Ukraine can simply put away any thought of dialogue and keep fighting “till the last soldier” is as misplaced as it is misguided. Ordinary Ukrainians need no longer lose their lives on the altar of political expediency simply because Kyiv leadership is unable to see beyond the lines of self-serving Western support.

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Whatever the outcome of the Switzerland “peace talks” on Ukraine, nothing will change on the ground, as the President has correctly argued that there can be “nothing about us, without us”.

Russia will continue to make gradual strides in the battlefield, unfortunately at the expense of countless Ukrainian lives. This is heart-breaking when considering that it could all be avoided with one phone call from the White House to Kiev. But then again, as I argued earlier, keeping the war in Ukraine continuous is part of a grand US-led Western ploy to weaken Russia, a major ideological adversary in the grand scheme of geopolitics.

*Abbey Makoe is Founder and Editor-in-Chief: Global South Media Network