Ending the War in Ukraine

In the Sunday Edition of the New York Times[1], their Editorial Board wrote an analysis titled, “A Brutal New Phase of the War in Ukraine”. It was an excellent review of the current situation, however, in a sub-title, they concluded “The job at hand is to persuade Russia that a negotiated peace is the only option”. This is precisely the wrong message to send to both our friends and adversaries. Thankfully, the Times Editorial Board does not have the power to make that decision.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 was essentially a declaration of war, with Vladimir Putin’s stated objective being to absorb the country and thereby extend Russia’s borders back to those of the former Soviet Union 31 years ago. Ukrainian citizens have no desire to live under Russian rule and were actively becoming a de facto part of Europe. Their resistance to the invasion by their military and civilians has been both heroic and highly effective. This feat has been accomplished without the services of foreign forces, including both personnel and equipment. (e.g., The Gulf and Korean wars).

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated that their ultimate objective is to recover all of the territories conquered by Russia since their invasion of Crimea in 2014. Anything less than that would be a reward for Russia for acquiring sovereign territory of another nation by force, as prohibited by the UN Charter. That position was acknowledged by a majority of the UN country, only opposed by Russia’s kleptocracy partners and their dependents.

As long as Ukrainian citizens are willing to fight the Russian invaders and suffer the unconscionable damages to their country from Russia’s deliberate attacks on their infrastructures without the assistance of foreign troops (like Putin’s 50,000 Wagner Group mercenaries), the free world should provide them with all the weapons they need to defend themselves from attacks and to regain lost territories.

Any decision as to ways to end the war should be left entirely to the Ukrainian people. The best way for the war to end is to win it.

Byron K. Varme

[1]  The New York Times, Sunday, January 22, 2023 page 17

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