With U.S. President Joe Biden “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning not only confirmed nuclear drills but also an invasion of Ukraine that Moscow has repeatedly denied, the global peace movement on Friday reiterated calls for de-escalation.
“Stop the War opposes any war over Ukraine, and believes the crisis should be settled on a basis which recognizes the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination and addresses Russia’s security concerns,” declares a statement from the U.K.-based coalition signed by thousands of people.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday accused the Biden administration of ignoring Moscow’s security demands—including Ukraine’s exclusion from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—but also insisted that “there is no ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine.”
Despite the assurance from Moscow, when asked Friday if there is any indication whether Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, Biden told reporters—without providing any further details or evidence—that “as of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that.”
Members of the Biden administration—and other Western officials—have also recently claimed, without offering proof, that Russia will engage in a false flag operation as a pretext for invasion.
Eight years into fighting in Ukraine’s Donbas region, pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces on Thursday accused each other of violating a cease-fire. After the Ukrainian military said shells fired by separatists hit a kindergarten, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed it “was a false-flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians, designed to create a pretext, a spurious provocation for Russian action.”
Stop the War took aim at recent actions and comments from U.K. leaders.
“Our focus is on the policies of the British government which have poured oil on the fire throughout this episode,” the coalition explained. “In taking this position we do not endorse the nature or conduct of either the Russian or Ukrainian regimes.”
“The British government has talked up the threat of war continually,” the statement continued. “Unlike the French and German governments, it has advanced no proposals for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, and has contributed only saber-rattling.”
Instead of pursuing diplomacy, the British government has not only “sent arms to Ukraine and deployed further troops to eastern Europe,” but also “declared that Ukraine has a ‘sovereign right’ to join NATO,” the coalition added.
“Britain needs to change its policy, and start working for peace, not confrontation,” the group asserted, encouraging a halt to the eastward expansion of NATO.
The statement also said:
We refute the idea that NATO is a defensive alliance, and believe its record in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and Libya over the last generation, not to mention the U.S.-British attack on Iraq, clearly proves otherwise.
We support all efforts to reach new arms control agreements in Europe and to move towards nuclear disarmament across the continent.
We urge the entire anti-war movement to unite on the basis of challenging the British government’s aggressive posturing and direct its campaigning to that end above all.
High-profile signatories to the statement include former Labor Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, along with another dozen members of Parliament, the heads of several U.K. unions, and various academics, activists, and artists such as musician Brian Eno and rapper Lowkey.
Other signatories include Joe Glenton of Veterans for Peace; Paweł Wargan, coordinator of Progressive International’s international secretariat; and Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
The statement came as anti-nuclear and peace campaigners urged against Russia’s planned drills, which are scheduled for Saturday, set to be overseen by Putin, and will involve launching cruise missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
“Test-firing ICBMs at this time of heightened tensions is particularly irresponsible but any practice to use WMDs at any time is unacceptable,” the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) tweeted Friday, referring to weapons of mass destruction.
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Jessica Corbett.