Stop the War in Ukraine. Russian Troops Out. No to NATO expansion

Massachusetts Peace Action Statement

NATO Enlargement Map. The Economist, Jan 8th 2022
NATO Enlargement Map. The Economist, Jan 8th 2022

The war in Ukraine is a disaster for the people of Ukraine and Russia, and a grave threat to every person on the planet. Massachusetts Peace Action condemns the Russian invasion and calls for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, the speedy withdrawal of all Russian troops and an immediate return to diplomatic negotiations.

Sending more US weapons to Ukraine and more troops to Europe and imposing draconian sanctions on Russia will only escalate the crisis. NATO expansion led to the situation. NATO should not be expanded and should be replaced by a new European security arrangement. This conflict has no military solution. Indeed, should it progress to an armed conflict between US/NATO and Russian forces it could escalate quickly to nuclear war.

We call on people of good will everywhere to commit to these goals:

Diplomacy not war. We call on Congress to demand diplomacy and to reject military escalation. The US should end weapons shipments to Ukraine now and immediately stop any troop deployments in eastern Europe. These billions in US taxpayers’ dollars are desperately needed to address vital human needs at home, such as health care, housing, eliminating poverty, and addressing climate change. This crisis must not be used as an excuse to further expand military budgets or build new nuclear weapons. Weapons manufacturers like Raytheon will be the biggest beneficiaries of this war.

Immediate aid to all war victims. As is always the case with war, it will be innocent civilians who bear the brunt of this violent tragedy and suffer the most. A devastating humanitarian and displacement crisis has already begun in Poland and in Russia. The U.S. should contribute generously to humanitarian aid programs to support displaced persons and other victims of this war.

End Damaging Sanctions. We oppose the broad sanctions the United States has imposed on Russia that are damaging the civilian economy. Economic sanctions that punish the entire Russian people for the actions of their government must be immediately lifted and relations between US and Russian banks restored.

No NATO Expansion. We join with our colleagues in the “No to War / No to NATO ” international network in calling for an end to further NATO expansion.. NATO has moved ever eastward, adding 14 countries, including most of the members of the former Warsaw Pact and so that it now presses up against the border of Russia’s borders with nuclear-capable missiles.

A new “Common Security” Architecture. We call on the US and NATO to open talks with Russia to create a new sustainable European common security architecture that would guarantee Ukrainian independence and sovereignty, include Russia, and keep Ukraine out of NATO. This could include agreements on military activities, military exercises, military bases, reduction of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, as well as military to military mechanisms to prevent escalation-prone incidents and other conflict prevention mechanisms.

Return to Minsk II. Negotiations should be based on the 2015 Minsk II accord, which was signed by Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany and was endorsed by the US and the UN – but has never been implemented. The Minsk II accord includes provisions for a ceasefire in the Ukrainian civil war, secure access for humanitarian aid, withdrawal of all foreign troops and military equipment, and Ukrainian constitutional reforms that include decentralization of political authority, respect for and protection of the rights of Russian minorities, and relative autonomy for the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Nuclear disarmament. Each day this war continues, the prospect of the unthinkable, an omnicidal war between nuclear powers increases. We call on the U.S. and Russia to begin the process of nuclear disarmament beginning with reductions in nuclear weapons, a mutual commitment to no first use, a freeze of all new nuclear weapons and delivery systems programs, and to join the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Our human family faces the multiple cascading existential threats of climate catastrophe, the ongoing global pandemic, extreme inequality, violent extremism, and nuclear annihilation. There is but one path forward: to expedite the transformation of this current crisis to peaceful international cooperation where the US, Russia and all countries recognize and act upon our mutually beneficial security needs.

This statement on the War in Urkaine was issued on March 1, 2022 and was approved by the Executive Committee of Mass Peace Action and subsequently reaffirmed by the Board.  It is noted that the No Cold War Working Group of Mass Peace Action has issued a statement which differs from  this statement and can be found here.