“The Ukrainian news outlet Ukrayinska Pravda reported Thursday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his surprise visit to Kyiv last month to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to cut off peace negotiations with Russia, even after the two sides appeared to have made tenuous progress toward a settlement to end the war.”
“Citing unnamed sources from Zelenskyy’s “inner circle” and advisory team, Pravda reported that “Johnson brought two simple messages to Kyiv”:”
“The first is that Putin is a war criminal; he should be pressured, not negotiated with. And the second is that even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they are not. We can sign [an agreement] with you [Ukraine], but not with him. Anyway, he will screw everyone over,” is how one of Zelenskyy’s close associates summed up the essence of Johnson’s visit…
Johnson’s position was that the collective West, which back in February had suggested Zelenskyy should surrender and flee, now felt that Putin was not really as powerful as they had previously imagined.
Moreover, there is a chance to “press” him. And the West wants to use it.
“In the weeks ahead of Johnson’s April 9 visit, high-level diplomatic talks held in Belarus and Turkey had failed to yield a diplomatic breakthrough, though reports in mid-March indicated that Russian and Ukrainian delegations “made significant progress” toward a 15-point peace deal that would involve Ukraine renouncing its NATO ambitions in exchange for the withdrawal of Moscow’s troops.”
“But the talks have since been at a standstill as Russia continues its devastating and illegal assault.”
“On April 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the peace negotiations had reached a “dead end.” And while Zelenskyy demanded a face-to-face meeting with Putin in late March, one of the Ukrainian president’s advisers said in a radio interview last month that “this is still not the time for negotiations between the two presidents.””
“”A little later, probably, it will [happen],” said Mykhailo Podoliak. “But we want Ukraine’s position in these negotiations to be very, very strong.””
“Pravda‘s reporting, along with the public statements of Johnson and other western leaders, heightened longstanding concerns that global powers are actively dashing the chances of a diplomatic resolution to Russia’s war, which has killed thousands of civilians and sparked a humanitarian crisis with global implications.”
“”The British government has become an obstacle to peace in Ukraine by encouraging the continuation of the war through huge arms shipments and incendiary rhetoric,” Lindsey German, convenor of the U.K.-based Stop the War Coalition, said in a statement Friday. “The conflict there is developing into a proxy war between Russia and NATO and it is the Ukrainian people who will suffer the consequences.””
“Last week, as Common Dreams reported, U.S. Pentagon Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Biden administration’s objective in arming Ukrainian forces is to “see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.””
“Foreign policy analysts and peace advocates perceived Austin’s remarks as another troubling indication that the U.S. is committed to a long-term proxy war with Russia, one that could risk direct confrontation between the two nuclear-armed powers.”