Now is the right time to pursue peace in Ukraine through diplomacy

By L. Michael Hager, The Provincetown Independent

Set aside for a moment your worries about inflation, Covid variants, mass shootings, climate change, and Supreme Court decisions, and consider instead the ongoing war in Ukraine. Now in its sixth month, the war is killing hundreds of Ukrainians and Russians every day. Russian artillery and bombs strike Ukrainian soldiers on the front and civilians in their apartments, while missiles level scores of towns and villages in the Donbas region and beyond. From Ukraine, long-range missiles supplied by the U.S. reach Russian targets.

Ukraine with image of weapons shipment on it

The risk of an expanded war that could easily slip into a battle of nuclear weapons must not be discounted. Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he is ready to use chemical weapons or tactical nukes if needed to avoid a battlefield defeat.

Thanks to the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky, the valor of Ukrainian forces, and timely arms aid from the U.S. and its NATO allies, the Ukrainians were able to repel the Russians’ February-March advance on Kyiv. President Biden led a NATO effort to contain the Russians through weapons transfers and economic sanctions.

Now the war has shifted to the Donbas, expanding a conflict that Russian separatists began in 2014. Despite the Ukrainians’ military successes, the New York Times reported on Aug. 21, “Russia continues to retain military superiority” without giving up any territory. Russian forces are slowly but steadily gaining ground in the Donbas. Instead of the logistical constraints they faced in their botched blitz on Kyiv, the nearby Russian border makes a steady flow of supplies and manpower possible. It appears that even successful counterattacks in some places are unlikely to drive the Russian forces out of Ukraine.

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