The Time for Peace in Ukraine is Now!


Mass. Peace Action Interns and Activists pictured outside Davis Square Station in Somerville, Massachusetts. Photo: Ledia Hysenbegasi

by John Berkowitz

At winter’s end, we’d like to offer an update on Paul Shannon’s article in the Peace Advocate (Winter ’24) titled: “2024: The Big Year in Ukraine”; and reiterate his urgent call for a ceasefire and negotiations to end the Ukraine War before it escalates into a much more dangerous confrontation between the US/NATO and Russia, including the catastrophic possibility of nuclear war.

Mainstream media portrays the war as a stalemate, which could be changed in Ukraine’s favor if they only had $60 billion more in military aid from the U.S., which has so far been stymied by Republican opposition. But many independent media analysts as well as reports from the front lines assert that the Ukrainian army is exhausted, under-manned (the average age of their soldiers, after so many have been killed and wounded in two years, is 42!), and running low on ammunition that the West has trouble providing.

The city of Andiivka, which was one of Ukraine’s most entrenched and defended military bases in the Donbass region where the war on the ground is being waged, has fallen to the Russians. Andiivka was also only 10 miles away from the major city of Donetsk, which has been one of the centers of resistance during the last 10 years of war between Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists and the central government in Kiev. Donetsk has been shelled from Andiivka frequently over these ten years, with large loss of life among civilians, including a massacre of 26 in an outdoor market in January.

At the same time, US Senate leader Chuck Shumer warned in February that US/NATO troops would be needed to keep Russia from defeating Ukraine, followed by a similar warning in early March by French President Macron. Putin fired back, reminding the West that Russia had nuclear weapons and could attack Western nations that sent their troops and weapons to attack Russian troops in Ukraine. And more recently, two German generals were caught talking on the phone about providing Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles that could attack targets in Russia such as the city of Krasnodar not far from Ukraine.

This war was almost ended through negotiations only a month after it started. Now, after two years of bloodshed, with hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded soldiers, millions of displaced civilians, Ukrainian society shattered economically and environmentally, we think it’s time for the U.S. to stop sending military aid and instead urge Ukraine to negotiate the best deal it can get with Russia.

That may mean conceding the loss of some of its territory in the Donbass and Crimea, at least for the near future. But it will prevent further devastation and loss of even more territory, as well as the worst-case scenario of war–even nuclear war–between the U.S. and Russia.

John Berkowitz lives in Northampton, and has opposed wars and U.S. foreign policy from Vietnam to Ukraine and Palestine.