Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that a ceasefire right now would not lead to ?a just and lasting peace?
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has shot down calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine, declaring that Kiev should keep fighting for as long as it takes to get the peace "it deserves." Ukraine's British and American backers have rejected calls for peace on multiple occasions before.
In a session of parliament on Monday, Sunak was asked by former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn whether he agreed with a ceasefire initiative put forward by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and backed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Pope Francis.
Corbyn added that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stated earlier on Monday that "a ceasefire is not a peace," but without one, "this war will go on and get worse and worse."
"I could not disagree with him more," Sunak replied. "A ceasefire is not a just and lasting peace for Ukraine. Russia has conducted an illegal and unprovoked invasion ... and the right and only response to that is for Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine."
"All plans masquerading as peace plans," he continued, "are in fact attempts just to freeze the conflict where it is, are absolutely wrong and they should be called out."
Sunak's position is in line with that of the US, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in December that any ceasefire that involved freezing battle lines would lead to "a phony peace." At the time, Sunak stated that a ceasefire would be "completely meaningless," and that the UK would only accept the withdrawal of Russian troops from "conquered territory."
Ukraine considers the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye - which voted to join the Russian Federation last year - its territories, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has vowed to bring all four back under Kiev's control. Zelensky has also promised to recapture Crimea, which voted to join the Russian Federation in 2014.
However, American military officials have publicly stated that retaking Crimea is beyond Ukraine's capability, and Kiev's long-anticipated spring counteroffensive against Russian forces has thus far failed to materialize. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military suffered the destruction of more than two dozen of its brigades in the city of Artyomovsk/Bakhmut since last October, only to lose the city over the weekend.
Nevertheless, Sunak claimed in parliament that Russian forces are "failing on the battlefield," and declared - as he and US President Joe Biden have on many occasions - that he would "stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."