David Ahlfeld: Cease-fire and negotiation needed in Ukraine

People pray as they attend Christmas service in a church in the village of Pirogovo outside capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023.

People pray as they attend Christmas service in a church in the village of Pirogovo outside capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. AP PHOTO/EFREM LUKATSKY

Published: 01-11-2024 11:34 AM

Cease-fire and negotiation are the best way forward in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Recent columns in the Gazette have argued against a cease-fire by citing the need to defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine and to avoid rewarding Russian aggression. These political issues must be addressed, and they can be while a cease-fire with negotiations is in place. A cease-fire is not the end of political struggle but a change in form. There are disputed boundaries in many parts of the world where large-scale fighting has ended, neither side has “won,” and political issues are still being negotiated. For example, on the Korean Peninsula an armistice, which ended three years of war with an estimated three million dead, has held since 1953.

For lands occupied by invaders, there are numerous examples of populations that have used various forms of non-cooperation and resistance to ultimately free their lands. A cease-fire and negotiation stops the destruction and ruined lives now. It recognizes the needs of the ordinary people of Ukraine and Russia; the farmers, doctors, tradespeople, teachers and mothers who are daily losing their communities and young people to a stalemated military conflict. The alternative is to wait until one side runs out of soldiers, weapons or political will. It is time for the United States to use its influence with Ukraine to encourage a process of negotiation towards a cease-fire.

David Ahlfeld

Amherst

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