By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 8 May 2023, www.thecommunists.net
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal – a prestigious newspaper of the U.S. bourgeoisie with close connections to the Biden Administration – published a highly interesting report. According to “senior officials” of U.S. as well as of European governments, the leaders of Western powers are favouring negotiations with Russia in order to impose a ceasefire in the Ukraine War. Furthermore, they hope that China could play an important role in such negotiations.
“Some U.S. and European officials said they believe that Ukraine’s planned spring offensive could pave the way for negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow by the end of the year, and that China could help bring Russia to the table. The willingness to encourage negotiations and seek out a role for China in talks represents a shift in Western thinking, particularly in the U.S., which has been highly sceptical of any involvement for Beijing given China’s longstanding support for Moscow. (…) The approach is based on the belief that neither side has the ability to continue fighting indefinitely, and that Beijing’s willingness to play a role in international peace talks should be tested, the officials said. (…) The interest in negotiations brings Washington in closer alignment with some European countries, which are eager to see the conflict end, or at the very least moderate in intensity, and have been the most intent on discussing some resolution this year. (…) It couldn’t be determined what any sort of negotiations would look like, but officials in Paris and Berlin said they are interested in a broadly framed cease-fire agreement that would potentially involve China among its guarantors.” 
Western governments are looking for a way to force the Ukraine to agree to such a course. Such efforts will face widespread opposition among the Ukrainian people since there exists almost a consensus in the society to continue their war of national defence until all occupied territories have been liberated. The Wall Street Journal puts it in diplomatic language but it is clear what they mean, i.e. that Western government are pushing Kyiv to subordinate to the preferred course of Washington and Brussels. “Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Berlin this month on what is set to be his first trip to Germany since Russia invaded in February 2022. While Mr. Scholz won’t pressure Mr. Zelensky into talks, Mr. Biden is expected to signal to the Ukrainian leader that cease-fire talks might be opportune in the coming months, European officials said.”
The idea is to hope that a Ukrainian counter-offensive could achieve some gains so that Kyiv (and its Western supporters) could claim “victory” and agree to a ceasefire. “Senior officials in Paris and Berlin who are familiar with their leaders’ discussions with President Biden say they expect the White House to attempt to facilitate talks following the Ukrainian offensive’s anticipated gains. The aim is for Ukraine to regain important territory in the south, a development that could be interpreted as a success even if Russia retains chunks of territory its forces have occupied.”
While there is no consensus among European governments, the important Great Powers seem to agree on such a course. “The European push for negotiations isn’t a consensus. Poland, the Baltic states, other smaller nations and some officials from the U.K. believe that Ukraine should be given the time it needs to make gains—even if the coming spring offensive doesn’t reshape the battlefield.”
The article also quotes Fiona Hill, a former U.S. National Security Council official responsible for Russian policy, who summarises the emerging consensus among the Western imperialist powers as follows. “Western leaders are now slowly moving toward a consensus that halting the conflict might be the best option, said Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official responsible for Russian policy, now with the Brookings Institution. “This seems to be where we are trending,” she said. “Freeze the conflict and stop the slaughter, because everybody would like this to stop.””
Confirmation of the Marxist analysis
The WSJ report is a strong confirmation of the analysis which the RCIT has elaborated for some time. In our theses “Towards a Turning Point in the Ukraine War?”, we pointed our: “As a result of all these challenges, both NATO as well as Russia strive – in one way or another – to open a process of armistice negotiations which would end the war, at least temporary. The Kremlin has repeatedly stated that it is open for negotiations – as long as the Ukraine does not become a member of NATO and as long as it accepts Russia’s “new territories”, i.e. Putin’s annexation of the regions Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia. Likewise, a number of serious indicators have emerged in past weeks that NATO is also looking for an end of the armed conflict in the foreseeable future.” 
Likewise, we did already warn about such a development in a statement published in November 2022: “The RCIT and Socialist Tendency alert all internationalist and anti-imperialist activists that the Ukrainian liberation struggle is threatened by a Great Power deal aimed at the pacification of the war. Such a deal would mean, at least temporary, the consolidation of the Russian occupation of significant parts of the Ukraine’s territory. In other words, the Ukrainian people face the danger of a sell-out by Western imperialism. Washington and Brussels might push for such a pacification of the war before it destabilises the imperialist world order too much and provokes mass unrests or even revolutionary crises in Russia, Europe or in other parts of the world. (…) Such a Great Power deal imposed on the Ukrainian people would be comparable to the shameful Dayton Agreement which the imperialists enforced on the Bosnian people in 1995. The RCIT resolutely opposes such a reactionary deal as we did during the Balkan Wars.” 
We repeat that the fact that both NATO and Russia desire an end of the war does not necessarily mean that negotiations will start soon. As already said, the Ukraine is strongly resisting such a push as it hopes to achieve a breakthrough on the battlefield. At the same time, both Russia as well as NATO will also try to turn the military situation to their advantage, before they are prepared to start negotiations.
The WSJ report confirms our assessment that, contrary to the claims of various Putinistas and semi-Putinistas, Western Great Powers are not looking for “smashing” Russia but are rather inclined to find a compromise. Such a compromise will likely include that the Ukraine would be forced to accept the occupation of parts of its country by Russian troops.
No trust in Washington and Brussels!
The RCIT and other authentic socialists have taken an internationalist and anti-imperialist stance in the Ukraine War from its very beginning. We have supported the Ukraine’s war of national defence against Putin’s invasion and called for international solidarity by the workers movement. We defended the right of the Ukraine to get weapons from wherever possible. 
At the same time, we have warned about the bourgeois and pro-NATO character of the Zelensky government and advocated the independent organisation of the Ukrainian working class and popular masses.
We have also insisted that socialists need to combine the defence of the Ukraine with a policy of revolutionary defeatism in conflicts between Great Powers, i.e. no support for the U.S., China, Russia, Western Europe or Japan.
The RCIT has summarised such an approach in the slogan: Defend the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion! Beware of NATO and Zelensky – transform the resistance against the Russian occupation into a Popular War! Against Russian and against NATO imperialism!
The Wall Street Journal report shows that international solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance is particularly urgent now as the Western powers are increasingly eager to sell out the national rights of the Ukrainian people!
 Bojan Pancevski, Laurence Norman, Vivian Salama: U.S. and Allies Look at Potential China Role in Ending Ukraine War. An expected offensive by Ukraine is seen as paving way for negotiations with Russia, Wall Street Journal, 7 May 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-and-allies-look-at-potential-china-role-in-ending-ukraine-war-2d6cbb4d?mod=hp_lead_pos1. All quotes are from this article if not indicated otherwise.
 RCIT: Towards a Turning Point in the Ukraine War? The tasks of socialists in the light of possible lines of development of the war of national defence in combination with the inter-imperialist Great Power rivalry, 11 March 2023, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/towards-a-turning-point-in-the-ukraine-war/
 RCIT: Ukraine War: The Liberation of Western Kherson Oblast and the Danger of a Great Power Deal, 15 November 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/ukraine-war-liberation-of-kherson-danger-of-great-power-deal/
 We refer readers to a special page on our website where more than 170 RCIT documents on the Ukraine War and the current NATO-Russia conflict are compiled: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/compilation-of-documents-on-nato-russia-conflict/. In particular we refer to the RCIT Manifesto: Ukraine War: A Turning Point of World Historic Significance. Socialists must combine the revolutionary defense of the Ukraine against Putin’s invasion with the internationalist struggle against Russian as well as NATO and EU imperialism, 1 March 2022, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/manifesto-ukraine-war-a-turning-point-of-world-historic-significance/; see also: Manifesto on the First Anniversary of the Ukraine War. Victory to the heroic Ukrainian people! Defeat Russian imperialism! No support whatsoever for NATO imperialism! 10 February 2023, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/manifesto-on-first-anniversary-of-ukraine-war/.