UN chief calls for peace on Ukraine crisis

UN chief calls for peace on Ukraine crisis

In his visit to Moscow and Kyiv this week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a cease-fire and stressed that efforts must be made to create conditions for a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The message came at a critical time when efforts to resolve the crisis are seriously lacking. What have been abundant are moves to escalate the tensions and prolong the conflict. They include the continued special military operation by Russia in Ukraine and the increasing supply of modern weaponry to Ukraine by the United States and its NATO allies.

What US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday was quite disturbing. He stated that the U.S. goal is to see Russia weakened and is in contrast to the efforts of Guterres and many countries, including China, to urge the warring parties to de-escalate the conflict and settle their differences as soon as possible.

When the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said recently that this war will be won on the battlefield, I asked a EU spokesman whether the EU had given up efforts on the diplomatic front. The EU is still looking for ways to politically resolve the issue, according to a spokesman.

The German government decided this week to supply its Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, a major shift from Germany's previous position of not providing heavy weapons for the sake of triggering a conflict between Russia and NATO, or even a third world war.

Richard Haass, the president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations and former senior official of the US State Department, criticised the policy of Joe Biden to Russia because it continues to be plagued by lack of rhetorical discipline. Such a US policy could cause Russia to escalate the conflict, and shift the focus from Russia's actions in Ukraine to a Russia-US NATO showdown, as originally calling for regime change, now the goal of weakening Russia Haass.

Kishore Mahbubani, a Singapore-based scholar and former diplomat, told CNN on Sunday that the perception of 88 percent of the global population outside the so-called West has changed in the past two months. They see the conflict as a geopolitical game where the West is trying to weaken Russia instead of solving the Ukraine crisis. They are no longer going along with the West's agenda where their interests and goals don't align.

The Ukrainian people, in particular, have been the biggest victims of the current conflict, as they have been caught in the middle of the geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the US-led NATO, which has kept expanding eastward for the past three decades despite the US pledging that there would be no extending of NATO's jurisdiction after the end of the Cold War.

Ukraine's goal should be to get a peaceful settlement of the crisis as soon as possible, not to weaken Russia by becoming a proxy for the US because that would mean more bloodshed for Ukrainians.

Despite the current conflict, Russia will be a neighbor of the EU and Ukraine, as well as the world's largest country with a territory four times larger than the EU's.

Adopting strategies that could vitiate relations with Russia for years but decades doesn't make sense and will serve no one's interests. The EU should show that it has learned the right lessons from the two bloody world wars that started in Europe.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict will not end soon if the goal of the US and NATO is to humiliate and weaken Russia. The conflict will end with a negotiated settlement, a pledge to address each other's concerns.