Craig Murray: US Prolongs Ukraine War

With no hope of a ceasefire soon, Turkey has turned to the more limited goal of ensuring that grain supplies can be shipped out from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, back to camera, meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on June 1. (NATO)

By Craig Murray

I was in Turkey to try to further peace talks, as an experienced diplomat with good contacts there and as a peace activist. I was not there as a journalist and much of what I discussed was with the understanding of confidence. It will be probably be some years before I judge it reasonable and fair to reveal all that I know. But I can give some outline.

Turkey continues to be the center of diplomatic activity on resolving the Ukraine war. It is therefore particularly revealing, and a sign of Western priorities, that I did not come across a single Western journalist there trying to follow and cover the diplomatic process. There are hundreds of Western journalists in Ukraine, effectively embedded with the Ukrainian authorities, producing war porn. There appear to be none seriously covering attempts to make peace.

There was a sea change two weeks ago when Ukraine shifted to a public stance of ceding no territory at all in a peace deal. On May 21, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office stated that “The war must end with the complete restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

Previously while the Ukrainian side had been emphatic that no territory in “the east” would be ceded, there had been studied ambiguity about whether that referred to Donbass alone or also the Crimea.

The new Ukrainian stance, that there will be no peace deal without recovering the Crimea, has ended for now any hopes of an early ceasefire. It appears to be a militarily unachievable objective. I cannot think of any scenario in which Russia de facto loses Crimea, without the serious possibility of worldwide nuclear war.

18 March 2014: Russian President Vladimir Putin, seated and second from right, signing treaty on the adoption of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

This blow to the peace process was a setback in Ankara, and I should say that every source I spoke with believed the Ukrainians were acting on instructions conveyed from Washington to Zelensky by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who openly stated he wanted the war to wear down Russian defense capabilities.

A long war in Ukraine is of course massively in the interest of the U.S. military industrial complex, whose dripping roasts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have gone rather off the heat.

It also forwards the strategic objective of severely damaging the Russian economy, although much of that damage is mutual. Why we live in a world where the goal of nations is to damage the lives of inhabitants of other nations is a question which continues to puzzle me.

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Turkey has for now turned towards the more limited goal of ensuring that grain supplies can be shipped out from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus. This is essential for developing nations and essential for world food supplies, which were already under pressure before this war began.

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge on the Bosphorus. (Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons)

Turkey is offering to clear sea lanes of mines and to police the ships carrying grain from the port of Odessa, which is still under Ukrainian control. Russia has agreed to the deal.

Ukraine is objecting to this plan to export its own wheat, because it objects to the removal of the mines, which I should be clear were put down in the sea lanes by Ukraine to prevent amphibious attack on Odessa. There is monumental hypocrisy by the West on this, blaming Russia for preventing the export of the grain while it is actually blocked in by Ukraine’s own mines, which they currently refuse to allow Turkey to remove.

On May 19  this was the headline of a U.N. press release: “Lack of Grain Exports Driving Global Hunger to Famine Levels, as War in Ukraine Continues, Speakers Warn Security Council.”

As the article says, Ukraine and Russia together account for one third of world grain exports and two thirds of world sunflower oil exports. Many of those who die from this war are likely to do so in developing countries, from hunger.

The decision of the E.U. and U.S. to target Russian and Belarussian agricultural exports for sanctions displays an extraordinary callousness towards the very poorest human beings on the globe, who cannot afford rising food prices.

Well, the headline here is that the U.S. and E.U. are pushing Ukraine to block any food deal, based on a number of objections including the reduction in the security of Odessa and the claim that Russia will sell looted Ukrainian grain. The view in both Ankara and the developing world is that the big picture, of millions facing starvation, is being lost.

The experience has made me so cynical that I am left wondering if the interests of the powerful agricultural lobbies in both the E.U. and U.S. are influencing policy. High world food prices benefit some powerful interests.

I blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting a war that does nothing to redress Russian long term security concerns. But the truth is that politicians in the West are equally keen on this war. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has blatantly promoted it for his own political survival. Anybody who makes any effort to stop the killing — French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in particular — are immediately and universally denounced by the “liberal” media.

Yet what is the end result that the liberal warmongers wish to achieve? When we reach the stage that Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, is a comparative voice of sanity, the political situation is indeed dire.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

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33 comments for “Craig Murray: US Prolongs Ukraine War

  1. Carl Zaisser
    June 11, 2022 at 04:19

    “I blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting a war that does nothing to redress Russian long term security concerns.”
    Have to respectfully disagree with Murray here. No doubt the situation is murky and messy at the moment, but it is essential to remember that the US…using NATO…deliberately left the Russians with no choices except bad ones when it comes to the 30 year issue of protracted NATO expansion all along Russia’s borders. The US was never interested in any kind of negotiated settlement that would concede even the idea that NATO was indeed a military threat to Russia. Much less to actual moves to reduce that threat. It was the Russians, not the Americans, who made it clear they wanted to talk, not fight. In addition, a critical part of the US agenda seems clearly to be to bog Russia down in a war of attrition, in order to weaken it and do everything it can to blacken Russia’s reputation so as to cause permanent damage. However, the war is a long way from over. Russia, as predicted by careful, objective military analysts (Scott Ritter being an example) has employed a slow military strategy which has now concluded real military gains in the Donbass, and looks certain to fortify those. We’ll see how long ‘the West’ can hold out in this war of attrition, when there current posture begins to appear to the public and some of the leadership that in fact they are shooting themselves in the foot with no prospect of improvement. If we get to that point, the bad choice of a military invasion…the only real choice Washington knew Russia had…may turn out to work in favor or Russian security in the long run.

  2. firstpersoninfinite
    June 10, 2022 at 17:24

    The problem with getting rid of your enemies is that you yourself are in line to become “the bad guy.” I wonder what the US geopolitical plans will be when the world finds us objectionable en masse.

    • June 11, 2022 at 10:15

      I’ve been wondering about that, too, especially when I consider the economic hurricane on the horizon. hxxps://

  3. Nika
    June 10, 2022 at 02:46

    The European Union and America are fighting in an unceasing hysteria around false accusations of Russia in creating a food crisis in the world. But the fact is hushed up that the militants of the Ukrainian nationalist battalions, leaving the occupied territories, and not wanting to leave grain supplies to the residents of Mariupol, deliberately set fire to a large granary in the city’s seaport, as a result, more than 50 thousand tons of grain burned down.

  4. Nika
    June 10, 2022 at 02:17

    “I blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting a war that does nothing to redress Russian long term security concerns.”

    Like it or not, but the war began in February 2014 after the events that are called “Euromaidan”. And how quickly Victoria Nuland organized the cookies that she distributed to the participants in this massacre in Kiev. Or maybe she knew about it in advance?

  5. rosemerry
    June 10, 2022 at 01:28

    “I blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting a war that does nothing to redress Russian long term security concerns.”
    So all the 8 years of attempts to solve the issue peacefully , refused by the Ukrainian government put in place by the USA after overthrowing the elected leader, mean nothing. All the requests for Russia’s fair treatment in the “international community” since 2007 have been ignored. All the killings by Ukrainian army in Donbass since 2014 are left out of the picture. What else was Russia to do? Putin is patient, and if replaced it would be by a much more hardline person supported by the people, many of whom find Putin too soft and kind!!!

    • Brian Bixby
      June 10, 2022 at 23:09

      My friends in Moscow said of Putin, “We don’t like him much, but all the alternatives are an order of magnitude worse so we’ll vote for him again.”

      • Realist
        June 11, 2022 at 13:58

        Professor Stephen F. Cohen, one of the very few Americans, especially including the willfully ignorant state department, always said, when he was still on this earth, that Putin is NOT a dictator, that, besides being democratically elected, he must contend with many competing interests within the leadership of the Russian Federation including quite serious hard liners who want a major war as badly as the American government does. These hardliners are fed up with being kicked around by Washington and its stark propagandists. Putin is the “peacenik” in all this, not a dedicated warmonger like the US president and his state department, from whichever warmongering side of the unified American War Party, whether nominally Dem or GOP. Putin seems to be the only person of consequence in this equation who has, so far, prevented the entire world from self-destructing. All the American propaganda to the contrary are just typical lies and false narratives in pursuit of the agenda of the MIC, greedy war profiteers, and Western oligarchs who would turn Russia back into their own personal colony as it was under Yeltsin, the interests of its citizens be damned. America is the only country in the world that has pulled this stunt repeatedly in modern times (since WWII) after having vanquished numerous inferior countries in a scorched earth war based on some flimsy contrived pretext. Cookies Nuland and her warmongering Neo-Cons thought they could author one more take-over using their old playbook, this time against their peer nuclear power Russian Federation, a people still weary of the deceits and trickery consistently used by whatever regime rules from Washington. Even after the “big bad bear” has by now given them more than eight years of warnings to cease their gratuitous aggression, they continue to poke it. Apparently they are tired of living

    • June 11, 2022 at 10:25

      I understand that Russia has been repeatedly poked, provoked, and its legitimate security concerns ignored, and that the people in the Donbass asked for protection. What else could Russia have done? It’s hard to imagine anything but a military incursion, and yet we must start thinking out of the box that military conflict resolves issues. I agree that it doesn’t.

      In the case of Ukraine, however, I do see some long term security concerns being addressed in this war, specifically the issue of so many biolabs funded by the Department of Defense for biowarfare research. Bringing this issue out of the shadows into public debate is an important matter.

      And how many European countries are now debating the value of NATO in bringing long-term security? We may not see much concern among the ruling elites, but I bet you the people in Europe are going to question it as they face shortages, higher prices, and economies going south.

  6. Onward
    June 10, 2022 at 00:16

    I concur completely with Andrew and Col (AG&CO), despite your invaluable journalism re Julian Assange and some of the comments above, please stop immediately ignoring the facts of why the Ukraine war started.
    There is a good case to be made that Russia should have intervened a lot earlier in Ukraine/ Donbas. The West, like you Craig Murray, completely ignore the essentially US maidan 2014 coup and the resulting 8 year murder of Russian speakers (14000-20000: journalist Eva Bartletts possible estimation, who reports on the ground in the Donbas region). Not to mention the EU’s retarded Minsk accords for peace and US training of influential Nazi military personnel, the $billions of western arms and mainly US/UK pressure on Ukraine to refuse to negotiate for peace. The main US aim; to prolong war and trigger regime change in Russia:
    All a horrible backfire.

  7. Em
    June 9, 2022 at 15:30

    “I blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting a war that does nothing to redress Russian long term security concerns” says Craig Murray.
    If this is not stating one’s colors, what is?
    According to this type of reasoning, continuous Russian diplomatic protesting, against unceasing NATO expansion eastward, from 1991 through the beginning of 2022, was not enough warning to have brought Russia’s seriousness about the threats to its long term security to the attention of the West.
    Its constant peaceful protesting was simply ignored by the ‘mastermind’ power behind NATO’s original establishment and intentions for it; while both substantially contributing to its financial, as well as materiel requirements.
    And this, diplomat Murray, regards as unbiased neutrality?

    • Nika
      June 10, 2022 at 01:42

      I absolutely agree with you. No one pays attention to Russia’s long-term attempt to solve the problem of NATO approaching its borders and the eight-year shelling of Donbas residents by peaceful means.

    • Jams O'Donnell
      June 11, 2022 at 13:53

      Yes. as ‘Onward’ and ‘Em’ say, you should reconsider your stance re who is to blame for starting the war, Craig. My personal take is that your ‘Liberalism’ blinds you to certain aspects of reality

      • Em
        June 11, 2022 at 17:45

        You said what I was thinking, though more succinctly.
        Guess I was hesitant to dare to reproach a bona fide gentle man diplomat.

  8. June 9, 2022 at 14:32

    A vital conversation is in order. Us good guys are all gadflies, frequently jabbing at each other with no voice that speaks for an intelligent liberal position we all can get behind. In so many ways we move those deck chairs without taking on what is causal. Who can call that conversation?

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    June 9, 2022 at 13:20

    Why kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs??? Isn’t this what the Yanx mentality is all about…money, money and more of it? Generally speaking…WE Westerners are a disgrace.

  10. robert e williamson jr
    June 9, 2022 at 13:09

    This should come as no surprise. Based , if on nothing else, the fact the U.S. intends for Ukraine to bleed Russia dry of something, like war hardware. Right down to the last Ukrainian.

  11. Dfnslblty
    June 9, 2022 at 12:42

    A ration and honest perspective toward Ukrainia and Nato.
    Keep writing

    • Carl Zaisser
      June 11, 2022 at 04:24

      Uhhh…you should read the MANY comments who call out Murray on his putting the blame on Russia. Including my own above.

  12. Dan D
    June 9, 2022 at 12:28

    This article raises the global necessity of the export of Ukrainian grain. It would seem to be an obvious fact that Ukraine would benefit from the export earnings yet it is the U.S. and E.U. who object to opening the trade on the “theory” that it would reduce the “security” of Odessa. How so? If Russia agrees to opening the grain trade and there is every indication they are, including the seven or eight year history of diplomatic attempts, by necessity they would have to agree to not move on Odessa or complete a land bridge to Transnistria. This issue on the grain trade is just one more example that NATO will fight to the last Ukrainian and world food security be dammed.

  13. Sean Ahern
    June 9, 2022 at 11:57

    I think that Russia’s action was a case of justified preemptive action given the refusal to implement Minsk and Ukrainian attacks on Donbas and build up of Ukrainian military and role of pro nazi azov in leadership. It seems like a necessary response to US NATO provocation. The US seeks regime change in Russia and China and this insanity has to stop.

  14. peter mcloughlin
    June 9, 2022 at 10:18

    What needs to be focused on is where this war is going. History points to another world war. Every empire eventually faces the war it is trying to avoid – its own destruction. Of course nobody wants nuclear war…
    For a free e-book on this subject search: pattern of history wordpress peter mcloughlin

  15. Duane
    June 9, 2022 at 09:07

    Thank you to Mr. Murray and Consortium News for this excellent, clear-headed analysis. Like Mr. Murray, I am very concerned about how the conflict will end if Ukraine and its US/NATO sponsors insist on returning to the pre-2014 boundaries of Ukraine. Since Ukraine is on the losing end of the military struggle, such a demand could only be a recipe for war-without-end. That ratchets up the conflict and is exactly the kind of sleepwalking attitude that could precipitate a world war. If the plan of the US is to wear down Russia, then it would seem logical for Russia to seek a quick end to the war. But I would not expect Russia to surrender the territory it has gained in the Donbas, nor the land bridge it has gained to Crimea.

    Of course, Biden let the cat out of the bag months ago when he said that the sanctions against Russia were intended to be punishment for Russia’s military action rather than a deterrent against military action. In other words, the US wanted Russia to make a military move so that the US and its allies could retaliate.

    Meanwhile the American public remains hypnotized by the media pro-war propaganda, which Mr. Murray accurately describes as war porn. It’s funny how some people worry about living in a dystopic future and don’t consider that we might be already be there.

    Still, where there is breath there is hope.

  16. June 9, 2022 at 08:41

    Good article. I do take issue with blaming Russia for the war in Ukraine. Did Russia, a sovereign nation really have another choice other than succumbing to blackmail and intimidation by yet another NATO nation on its borders and the threat of being denied access to the Baltic?

    Mr. Murray is right. We wanted this war and were willing to sacrifice young Ukrainian and Russian men in the process. We are very good at providing the arms to do that without sacrificing our own.

  17. Mikael Andersson
    June 9, 2022 at 07:30

    When that old war criminal Kissinger advocates restraint and reason the militarists have clearly taken over liberal democracy. Well, I use the term “liberal” posthumously. The nutcases in command, having repurposed the term to suit their propaganda, are not
    liberal at all. Having been a member of their community all my life, I now divorce myself from them. Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, I support Russia in its quest for a demilitarised western border. If the states currently in those geographies refuse to act rationally then new states will arise to replace them. There will be a future peaceful co-existence and if a major war is needed to persuade the nutcases then it will be an avoidable tragedy and fallout.

  18. Andrew Goreff
    June 9, 2022 at 03:57

    Mr. Murray, you continue to amaze me by your repeated claim that Russia started this war. Perhaps, in a patronizing way, you’d like the two “children” to stop fighting regardless who started it. Please include in your factual feedbag that 14+ thousand human beings were murdered over 8 years of daily Ukrainian artillary and missile strikes. The death of 52+ anti-Nazis, burned ALIVE or killed after throwing themselves out of windows, surviving the fall but brutally beaten to death by Ukrainian Nazis. Then there was the buildup of over 100K UA troops poised to ethnically cleanse Donbass shortly before Russia, thankfully, intervened on Feb 24th. You really don’t seem to care. Convince me otherwise or at least confess to a deep-seated ethnic hatred of Russians — be truthful. Or, rather ask why the UN and the guarantors of the ratified Minsk 2 Accords allowed the instrument of peace to go unfullfilled with absolutely no pressure from anyone. The answers should point to those needing to be held to account.


    • WillD
      June 10, 2022 at 01:13

      Quite agree. This is a vital point that many people in the collective west either pointedly ignore, or fail to understand. The history is well documented, and the only real point of contention is to what degree the US caused the Maidan revolt and resulting regime change, simply because there isn’t as much hard evidence.

      Nevertheless, the West whitewashes all the events of the last 8 years or so in Ukraine, in its narrative about the invasion being unjustified and unprovoked – both of which are patently untrue.

  19. Col from Oz
    June 9, 2022 at 03:45

    I don’t see president Putin at all causing this war. Where were you when for 7 years millions of people in the Dombass had to live with a reduced war, but a war nether less even WITH a peace deal helped negotiated Pres Putin for which a UN resolution was even passed no actionable points of the Peace deal were even completed, even Ukraine passing laws that even went against the Minsk peace process….. so give it away that Putin started this and blame yourself…..

  20. Realist
    June 9, 2022 at 03:19

    I disagree with one of your major points, that Mr. Putin started the war, and that the proximal reason was to acquire Russia’s security, although the latter is certainly a long-term objective. Why does nearly everyone seem to forget that Ukraine had in excess of 150,000 troops already actively attacking the Donbas and poised for a massive invasion of which Russia had obtained the intelligence. Failure to protect their fellow ethnic Russians would have resulted in a blood bath–even more Ukrainian genocide, or “ethnic cleansing” than eight straight year had already brought. Zelensky had also started to talk about acquiring nuclear weapons at that moment in time. Has he EVER sounded rational or trustworthy? Not to me. To me he sounds like a power mad clown trumped up to the status of a 21st century Napoleon by Western string pullers who want to destroy the Russian state and return to the predatory capitalism the West was imposing upon Russia back in the 1990’s, under Yeltsin before the capable Putin was put in charge. Why should the Russians EVER tolerate even the idea of returning back to that status?

    The raving imbecilic Zelensky, with prodding from the US, UK and EU, constantly asserts that Ukraine will never cease the war until it forces Russia’s unconditional surrender to Ukraine, and that Ukraine, again prodded by the aforementioned warmongers, will never cede one square femptometer of territory to Russia, including the Crimea which was NEVER an organic part of Ukraine with Ukrainian-speaking citizens actually living there. It was never really even used as a naval base by Ukraine, which suddenly got the bright idea to gift the Russian facilities to Nato after the coup of 2014. Even after Khrushchev foolishly gifted Crimea to Ukraine in the 1950’s, it remained perennially Russian in composition and Russian in its use as the country’s prime naval base since its acquisition in the 1700’s by Empress Katherine the Great. Russia cannot and will not “give back” any piece of its territory to the fanatical Russophobic and genocidal Ukrainians than Washington would hand over the Coronado Naval Air Station and its massive shipyards to Mexico, even if every single voter in San Diego was of Mexican heritage. The same holds for the Donbas and probably all the rest of “Novorussiya” (New Russia) which had been part of Russia since Katherine’s days, until the Bolsheviks meddled in the local politics to create various points of tension and political leverage between the multifarious ethnic enclaves in the vast Soviet Union and packaged this region with the dangerously fanatical “Ukrainian” (really Galician Poles) population.

    If Russian unconditional surrender and “return” of these Russian-settled lands to the “Ukrainian” state are pre-requisites for ending the war as far as Ukraine, Madman Zelensky, the United States and Clueless Joe Biden are concerned, the war will never end. It is continuation of the entire Russian nation that is at stake. It is simply insane to think otherwise. It’s about as likely as Washington giving back Alaska if Russia made such a demand, which they are sane enough to never do. Instead the war will continue to grow, escalate in intensity and eventually transmogrify to a planet-wide nuclear conflagration–all caused by Washington.

    You know, for an all-out war supported against Russia by the United States, Russia is already extremely accommodating and cooperative with its fanatically outspoken enemies. It continues to supply whatever energy in the form of gas or oil that the West requires. Any drop in the import of these resources are strictly the West cutting off its own nose to spite its face–upon orders from Washington. Similarly, Russia has pulled ALL of its punches in the military actions, sacrificing loss of its own soldiers to minimize the civilian casualties and the destruction of infrastructure. Not a shred of appreciation from the fanatical genocidal Ukies, who take advantage of human shields to ambush Russian troops using super-sophisticated American weaponry that they will never be able to pay for in a million years. The “theft” of Ukrainian grain by Russia is just one more Ukie lie in a long list, basically defined by anything they ever say. Actually, it is THEY who have perfected the art of repeated theft from the Russians and Russia’s gas customers, both of whom lose all the product or payments chronically swiped by the Ukies. So, I guess Russia would ultimately be justified in dishing out some American-style shock and awe attacks on the Ukraine, if that is what it will take to end this war. Anything else is asking far too much from Russia, which has been far too tolerant of its heinous neighbor which exists basically to help the West destroy the Russian state. No sovereign nation could exist for very long with such an insidious poison situated on its very borders, daily killing, maiming and stealing from its ethnic brothers. Washington knows this, which is why it facilitates it in its quest to destroy any potential competitors for power, influence or money. Both Ukraine and Washington are the ones who deserve an existential beat down. That very well may happen if their war strategy does not change and the value of Washington’s monopoly money continues to circle the drain. Pallet loads of funny money will soon fail to buy every foreign despot and oligarch in sight. And maybe Americans will start demanding social services rather than vainglorious wars of conquest.

    • June 10, 2022 at 14:15

      Very well said. Thank you.

  21. lester
    June 8, 2022 at 23:00

    “Never pass up a chance to negotiate,” WHAT I LEARNED FROM HISTGORY, Capt. Sir Basil Liddel-Hart

    • Realist
      June 11, 2022 at 14:10

      Whoever happens to be the American president is under the assumption that he absolutely must always “negotiate” like the Corbin Dallas character in the movie “The Fifth Element.”

  22. gcw919
    June 8, 2022 at 22:50

    “Why we live in a world where the goal of nations is to damage the lives of inhabitants of other nations is a question which continues to puzzle me.”
    It might be that the world is governed by sociopaths, with little interest in peace and cooperation. Addressing Climate Change, the greatest of threats to life on the planet, has become an afterthought.

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