Controversial conference seeks peace in Ukraine
Groups preparing a Vienna Declaration for Peace
The war in Ukraine has become tense as both sides wait for Kyiv to launch its anticipated “spring offensive” against dug-in Russian positions in the eastern and southern regions.
“The Ukrainian counter-offensive ‘is coming’ but Volodymyr Zelensky and his generals are waiting for the ‘best military moment’ to launch it,” reported the UK’s Evening Standard this week.
Despite Ukrainian troops being well-motivated and well-armed with Western weapons, including main battle tanks, the effort to push Russian troops back to the border will be difficult – and bloody.
Some reports have said that the prospect of re-starting World War One-style trench warfare is giving President Zelensky pause, considering the number of casualties that will ensue.
It’s at this moment that the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and other peace groups are taking on the controversial task of proposing a peaceful solution. As we have discussed previously in PeaceQuest, civil society organizations are quite divided over the issue of peace talks.
"The aim of the International Peace Summit is to publish an urgent global appeal, the Vienna Declaration for Peace, calling on political actors to work for a ceasefire and negotiations in Ukraine. Prominent international speakers will point to the danger around the growing escalation of the war in Ukraine and call for a reversal towards a peace process,” the IPB said in a statement this week.
“The conference will also discuss controversial issues related to Russia's war of aggression in violation of international law War. Civil society representatives from across Europe, North America, Russia and Ukraine will discuss together along side participants from the Global South to report on and discuss the dramatic consequences of this war for the people in their countries as well as how they can contribute to peace. The conference will focus not only on criticism and analysis, but also on creative solutions and ways to end the war and prepare for negotiations. This is not only the task of states and diplomats, but nowadays more and more the task of global civil society and especially the peace movement,” said the IPB.
Much of the conference will be webcast, so PeaceQuest readers can register now to view the proceedings at https://www.peacevienna.org/
(Cover: Protestors hold signs and wave Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in support of Ukraine outside of an EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium , Jan. 23, 2023. Canada has contributed 8 Leopard2 tanks to Ukraine. Via Shutterstock.)