Caitlin Johnstone: The West’s Sabotage of Peace in Ukraine

Former Israeli Prime Minister Bennett’s recent comments about getting his mediation efforts squashed in the early days of the war adds more to the growing pile of evidence that Western powers are intent on regime change in Russia. 

October 2021: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, second from left, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, The New York Times reported that “President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has asked the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to mediate negotiations in Jerusalem between Ukraine and Russia.”

In a recent interview, Bennett made some very interesting comments about what happened during those negotiations in the early days of the war.

In a Feb. 5 article, “Former Israeli PM Bennett Says US ‘Blocked’ His Attempts at a Russia-Ukraine Peace Deal,” Antiwar’sDave DeCamp writes the following:

“Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview posted to his YouTube channel on Saturday that the US and its Western allies ‘blocked’ his efforts of mediating between Russia and Ukraine to bring an end to the war in its early days.

On March 4, 2022, Bennett traveled to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. In the interview, he detailed his mediation at the time between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which he said he coordinated with the US, France, Germany, and the UK.

Bennett said that both sides agreed to major concessions during his mediation effort.   

But ultimately, the Western leaders opposed Bennet’s efforts. ‘I’ll say this in the broad sense. I think there was a legitimate decision by the West to keep striking Putin and not [negotiate],’ Bennett said.

When asked if the Western powers ‘blocked’ the mediation efforts, Bennet said, ‘Basically, yes. They blocked it, and I thought they were wrong.’”

Bennett says the concessions each side was prepared to make included the renunciation of future NATO membership for Ukraine, and on Russia’s end dropping the goals of “denazification” and Ukrainian disarmament.

As DeCamp notes, this matches up with an Axios report from early March that “According to Israeli officials, Putin’s proposal is difficult for Zelensky to accept but not as extreme as they anticipated. They said the proposal doesn’t include regime change in Kyiv and allows Ukraine to keep its sovereignty.”

Bennett is about as unsavory a character as exists in the world today, but Israel’s complicated relationship with this war lends itself to the occasional release of information not fully in alignment with the official imperial line. And his comments here only add to a pile of information that’s been coming out for months which says the same thing, not just regarding the sabotage of peace talks in March but in April as well.

In May of last year Ukrainian media reported that then-British prime minister Boris Johnson had flown to Kiev the previous month to pass on the message on behalf of the western empire that “Putin is a war criminal, he should be pressured, not negotiated with,” and that “even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they are not.”

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky walking around the center of Kiev on April 9, 2022. (President of Ukraine)

In April of last year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that “there are those within the NATO member states that want the war to continue, let the war continue and Russia gets weaker.”

Shortly thereafter, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the goal in Ukraine is “to see Russia weakened.”

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September Foreign Affairs report by Fiona Hill, senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council during the Trump administration, asserts that in April of last year a peace deal had been in the works between Moscow and Kiev, which would presumably have been the agreement that Johnson et al were able to sabotage:

“According to multiple former senior U.S. officials we spoke with, in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement: Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

March 2018. Fiona Hill, at far end of left side of table, at meeting between National Security Advisor John Bolton — beside Hill — and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. (, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

In March of last year Bloomberg’s Niall Ferguson reported that sources in the U.S. and U.K. governments had told him the real goal of Western powers in this conflict is not to negotiate peace or end the war quickly, but to prolong it in order “bleed Putin” and achieve regime change in Moscow. Ferguson wrote that he has reached the conclusion that “the U.S. intends to keep this war going,” and says he has other sources to corroborate this:

” ‘The only end game now,’ a senior administration official was heard to say at a private event earlier this month,  ‘is the end of Putin regime. Until then, all the time Putin stays, [Russia] will be a pariah state that will never be welcomed back into the community of nations. China has made a huge error in thinking Putin will get away with it. Seeing Russia get cut off will not look like a good vector and they’ll have to re-evaluate the Sino-Russia axis. All this is to say that democracy and the West may well look back on this as a pivotal strengthening moment.’

I gather that senior British figures are talking in similar terms. There is a belief that ‘the U.K.’s No. 1 option is for the conflict to be extended and thereby bleed Putin.’ Again and again, I hear such language. It helps explain, among other things, the lack of any diplomatic effort by the U.S. to secure a cease-fire.  It also explains the readiness of President Joe Biden to call Putin a ‘war criminal.’ ”

All this taken together heavily substantiates the claim made by Russian President Vladimir Putin this past September that Russia and Ukraine had been on the cusp of peace shortly after the start of the war, but Western powers ordered Kiev to “wreck” the negotiations.

“After the start of the special military operation, in particular after the Istanbul talks, Kyiv representatives voiced quite a positive response to our proposals,” Putin said. “These proposals concerned above all ensuring Russia’s security and interests. But a peaceful settlement obviously did not suit the West, which is why, after certain compromises were coordinated, Kyiv was actually ordered to wreck all these agreements.”


Month after month it’s been reported that U.S. diplomats have been steadfastly refusing to engage in diplomacy with Russia to help bring an end to this war, an inexcusable rejection that would only make sense if the U.S. wants this war to continue. And comments from U.S. officials continually make it clear that this is the case.

In March of last year President Joe Biden himself acknowledged what the real game is here with an open call for regime change, saying of Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Statements from the Biden administration in fact indicate that they expect this war to drag on for a long time, making it abundantly clear that a swift end to minimize the death and destruction is not just uninteresting but undesirable for the U.S. empire.

U.S. officials are becoming more and more open about the fact that they see this war as something that serves their strategic objectives, which would of course contradict the official narrative that the Western empire did not want this war and the infantile fiction that Russia’s invasion was “unprovoked.”

Recent examples of this would include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech ahead of Zelensky’s visit to Washington in December. “President Zelensky is an inspiring leader,” McConnell said.  “But the most basic reasons for continuing to help Ukraine degrade and defeat the Russian invaders are cold, hard, practical American interests. Helping equip our friends in Eastern Europe to win this war is also a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies, and contest our core interests.”

In May of last year Congressman Dan Crenshaw said on Twitter that “investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.”

Indeed, a report by the empire-funded Center for European Policy Analysis titled “It’s Costing Peanuts for the US to Defeat Russia” asserts that the “US spending of 5.6% of its defense budget to destroy nearly half of Russia’s conventional military capability seems like an absolutely incredible investment.”

In May of last year U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said at the World Economic Forum that he opposes any kind of peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia, preferring instead to use the conflict to hurt Russian interests and hopefully remove Putin.

“I am totally committed, as one person, to seeing Ukraine to the end with a win, not basically with some kind of a treaty; I don’t think that is where we are and where we should be,” Manchin said.

“I mean basically moving Putin back to Russia and hopefully getting rid of Putin,” Manchin added when asked what he meant by a win for Ukraine.

“I believe strongly that I have never seen, and the people I talk strategically have never seen, an opportunity more than this, to do what needs to be done,” Manchin later added.

Then you’ve got U.S. officials telling The New York Times that they plan to use this war to hurt Russia’s fossil fuel interests, “with the long-term goal of destroying the country’s central role in the global energy economy.”

 You’ve also got the fact that the U.S. State Department can’t stop talking about how great it is that Russia’s Nord Stream Pipelines were sabotaged in September of last year, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying the Nord Stream bombing “offers tremendous strategic opportunity” and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland saying the Biden administration is “very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

The U.S. empire is getting everything it wants out of this proxy war. That’s why it knowingly provoked this war, that’s why it repeatedly sabotaged the outbreak of peace after the war broke out, and that’s why this proxy war has no exit strategy. The empire is getting everything it wants from this war, so why wouldn’t it do everything in its power to obstruct peace?  I mean, besides the obvious unforgivable depravity of it all, of course.

The empire has always been fine with cracking a few hundred thousand human eggs in order to cook the imperial omelette. It is unfathomably, unforgivably evil, though, and it should outrage everyone.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


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21 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: The West’s Sabotage of Peace in Ukraine

  1. Arch Stanton
    February 16, 2023 at 03:05

    Great article as ever from Caitlin.

    Unlike the rulers of empires of times past, this current Neocon version which is waging non-stop war upon our planet is, apart from a few frontmen like the Kagan clan, invisible. It leader(s) are anonymous & deliberately hidden away from the people, all by design so there isn’t anyone to take the fight to, there is no palace to storm in order to put an end to all this madness.

    Unfortunately, for the time being, the root of all this evil, this multi-headed snake, cannot even be identified, never mind be killed.

  2. IJ Scambling
    February 14, 2023 at 17:19

    Here’s a somewhat different view from Alastair Crooke:

    However, the reality is that the Ukraine ‘Balloon’ is popped. Military and civilian circles in Washington know it. The ‘elephant in the room’ of inevitable Russian success is acknowledged (albeit, with the compulsion to avoid seeming ‘defeatist’ – that persists in certain quarters). They know too that the NATO (as ‘formidable force’) ‘balloon’ has popped. They know that the balloon of western industrial capacity to manufacture weapons – in sufficient quantity and over a long duration – has popped also.

    The consequences are the risk of severe U.S. reputational damage, the longer the war persists. These circles do not want that. Perhaps they will conclude that Biden is not the man to lead the U.S. out of this blind alley – that he is the part of the problem, and not the solution. If so, he must be gone in good time for the Democrats to work out who they want to lead them into the 2024 Presidential election (no easy prospect).


  3. James White
    February 14, 2023 at 14:57

    Of course, this is the plain truth. But we have become so polarized that people believe whatever adheres to their political bias. We have to keep on speaking the truth. But for 50% or so, of the people, it falls on deaf ears. They are not stupid people. But they process the information only to affirm their belief. The media and government conspire to manipulate information. But people do it anyway for themselves.

  4. Tennegon
    February 14, 2023 at 13:01

    I can’t help but think how hypocritical all the support for Ukraine is, as I watch British and European football (soccer) matches, knowing their leaders play the roles they do in prolonging the suffering, death and destruction of that nation, for their own perverted interests.

  5. Tony
    February 14, 2023 at 07:48

    “In May of last year Ukrainian media reported that then-British prime minister Boris Johnson had flown to Kiev the previous month to pass on the message on behalf of the western empire that “Putin is a war criminal, he should be pressured, not negotiated with,” and that “even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they are not.”

    Quite a serious indicator that the war is not about defending the integrity of the Ukraine at all!

    Zelensky’s requests for weapons seem to me to be very well-choreographed. It allows NATO countries to do what they wanted to do all along.

    I strongly believe that he is not really in charge of the situation at all but is doing what the US wants of him. I think also that if he ceased to perform this role, then he could realistically expect to become the victim of a curiously-timed plane crash.

  6. Jeff Harrison
    February 13, 2023 at 23:18

    It strikes me from what I’ve read in the non-MSM, that it is the US and the EU that are getting weakened out of all this not Russia.

  7. Cynic
    February 13, 2023 at 22:10

    Thank you Miss Caitlin, your articles are always succinct and a pleasure to read. USA’s evil committed by those few in the false name of the many has now accumulated so much hate and resentment throughout the world and indeed within USA itself, that the end is near. Everyone can sense it, symptoms of its decay is now appearing everywhere. The evil ones will not change and are determined to stay in power, but now the end is inevitable. I only pray the world survives the removal of this cancer.

  8. robert e williamson jr
    February 13, 2023 at 19:48

    I see it as one special ops too dogdamned many. Make little difference now whether it was, Navy, Marines, or CIA.

    The Baltops exercise has been conducted, sponsored by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe since 1971.

    Taking these recent developments at face value one must question the sanity of the U.S. conducting this pipeline event operation when it occurred.

    The fact that this exercise was conducted begs to question rationale of U.S. Navy command. The use of the exercise to cover for the initial placement of explosives, assuming that is in fact when the charges were placed, during those exercises seems to me to display extra special egregiousness.

    Something is definitely off with our top planners at the Pentagon it seems. On the one hand following the story line we can see if this was U.S. activity it will not likely be considered terrorism by other nations since those involved were working as “state actors”. What has happened leaves the U.S. Navy in the precarious position of having to prove they were not involved, something I doubt can happen ever.

    If the operation was driven by CIA involvement the ‘look’ is much worse. The reason being this was and is all about money. You put lipstick on filthy, stinking, money hogging jerks and you . . . . a give actual porker a bad name.

    The bottom line for me so far is that our supposed leadership in D.C. in the legislative, executive and at the Pentagon appear as puppets doing the biding of their DeepState bosses.

    The Democrats ran a dyed in the wool neocon-participant in the DeepState, neocon “SLOW CON”.

    This is pretty much totally out of control at this point. A world class street gang running amuck!

    Thanks CN

  9. Mikael Andersson
    February 13, 2023 at 19:15

    Anyone who thinks the USA can remove Mr Putin should be institutionalized. Wait, watch and check the outcome. Biden, Sunak and Stoltenberg and will be ancient history long before Putin retires – at a time of his choosing. The question in my mind is this – how long until the EU collapses? I suspect that it is mortally wounded.

    • Valerie
      February 14, 2023 at 03:54

      Yes Mikael. You only have to look at the protests in many European countries to understand the depth of the wounds.

    • Jörgen Hassler
      February 14, 2023 at 05:25

      I agree. In total it’s a good piece, but at the end she seems to let the retoric overtake reason.

      “The U.S. empire is getting everything it wants out of this proxy war.”

      Yes, eer, besides a victory?

  10. CaseyG
    February 13, 2023 at 18:05

    So Joe . Biden—–if America can get rid of Russia—–when will the world turn on you?
    As I see the planet heating, and water evaporating—-not to forget to mention the plants and animals that are disappearing——what will be left? I have no illusions about America’s future—as it could be very sad. Saddest yet is a government full of angry people who can’t live forever —so they would prefer to end the planet’s future like the people in the Edgar Alan Poe story of , ” The Mask of the Red Death.” Party on, but we all lose with leaders like you.

  11. Garrett Connelly
    February 13, 2023 at 17:09

    Caitlin Johnstone is one of the best political analysts Pacha Mama has fielded thus far. I say this as a recently minted octogenarian who has slipped into fiction. This fiction started with me as a young seventeen year-old surfer facing the southeast Asian war centered on Vietnam—

    We all live the gift of life for our lifetime and have fun leaving Earth more fertile because we were born. The setting sun peace temple had learned to discuss this simple message with ships from many nations. Local surfer war resistors had learned to speak blinking light ship code. They weren’t telling people what to do, yet wanted answers from around the world;

    “Mom, Dad; Why do you vote for politicians pushing pollution and eternal war?”

  12. Brent
    February 13, 2023 at 15:10

    Reading between the lines, it seems taking out Putin, perhaps with a missile, is now possible.

    • Tennegon
      February 14, 2023 at 12:54

      And how, pray tell, do you think the US would respond to a missile strike on our President?

      Get real!

  13. mgr
    February 13, 2023 at 14:48

    Thank you. In another recent interview with Jeffrey Sachs and Alexander Mercouris (hxxps://, Jeffrey Sachs also detailed and corroborated Bennett’s statements through his own contacts. Apparently, the peace deal was well underway when the US said “no” and Zelensky, from one day to the next, simply broke off the discussions.

    So yes, what a great deal for bleeding Russia and removing Putin, except that like the tale by Uncle Remus and the tar-baby, it is now the US that is bleeding out and Russia that is gaining strength. And that is because neocons are stupid. Their ideology makes them so. Tell me one thing that a neocon has ever touched that did not turn to mud. Of course, they are still preening about their great victory in Iraq. That one thing should tell you everything.

    America’s true crime is in elevating these morally and intellectually challenged individuals to positions of power. And there are consequences from such ridiculous choices. I strongly suspect that the US empire has reached its high water mark and now the tide is going out. It did not have to be but consistent bad choices have bad consequences. In any case, considering the horrifically miserable job that the US has done as the world’s only superpower for the last 30+ years (wealth concentration, war, and environmental destruction), it’s about time.

    Perhaps without the US in the way, blocking all efforts at cooperation in the world for its own shallow benefit, there is the chance of a better future for everyone.

  14. Valerie
    February 13, 2023 at 14:14

    “The empire is getting everything it wants from this war, so why wouldn’t it do everything in its power to obstruct peace? ”

    The question is, how far are they prepared to go.? How depraved are they?

    • Susan Siens
      February 13, 2023 at 16:47

      Their depravity knows no bounds; evil is too mild a word to describe them.

    • Garrett Connelly
      February 13, 2023 at 17:52

      Totally… Russia was a hunting ground for slaves and women after the implosion of Genghis Khan’s empire. It was a source of human livestock for highbrow western barbarian capitalism fueled by labor expropriation.

      Tartars faded and then came Napoleon. Then Germany, twice. And in between a united capitalist armies attacked the Russian revolution, sadly diverting it to a weird form of totalitarianism.

      Now the US is fighting a proxy war in Ukraine and Russia is waking up. China knows Russia still guards Eurasia from European barbarians lusting for slaves and resources. Iran now has full use of Russia’s Volga and Don rivers. This connects Iran to the Mediterranean sea and the Beijing / Moscow railroad connecting to most European capitals.

      Russia is growing stronger just as it has done throughout its history when under by western capitalist barbarians. Will it survive? Russian history indicates a positive outcome, once again.

  15. Rudy Haugeneder
    February 13, 2023 at 13:22

    Hmmm. What happens when a Russian balloon accidentally strays into American territory and is accidentally, of course, shot down over a big city, causing casualties. What and how quickly?

    • Garrett Connelly
      February 13, 2023 at 17:56

      Cheeseburgers and apple pie will rain from the sky. People below will rejoice at kind Russia’s weapon choice.

Comments are closed.