[guest post by Dana]
I have a gripe. While I’m pretty sure he would claim that he was simply asking the questions that need to be asked, I was irritated when 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley put the onus on Ukraine for peace in a clip released prior to the interview with Ukraine’s President Zelensky:
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 18, 2023
PELLEY: Can you give up any part of Ukraine for peace?
ZELENSKY: No, this is our territory.
PELLEY: You must have it all, including Crimea?
ZELENSKY: Today you and I… you said it to me… you saw me awarding people [medals]. [Well] today is a day like that. A week ago, I gave awards to parents [of soldiers who have been killed]. There were 24 families of the dead. There was a woman. She was with three children. There were parents, very old. They could barely walk and they had had only one son. One of the women was pregnant. She arrived holding a baby in her arms. And she was pregnant. And that baby will never see… what should I tell them? That all of them died so that we could say, “It’s okay, [Russia] you can take it all.” It’s a difficult job. You understand me, right? Giving awards to people whose faces show their whole world has collapsed. And all I can give them, all I can give them – is victory.
Why isn’t the onus for peace put on the invading country rather than the sovereign nation that continues to battle an enemy seeking to destroy while occupying its territories? Peace will come when Russia leaves Ukraine and gives back the illegally occupied territories. There is nothing Zelensky can do to bring peace, other than defeat Russia, drive them out, and severely weaken them. If Zelensky said, yes, we will let them have the occupied territories, including Crimea, Russia won’t stop their march of conquest and genocide. Why would they? What indicators has Putin given that would make anyone believe he would be satisfied with that and stop his war on Ukraine – and by extension, democracy? Especially when the goal is to wipe out Ukraine and subsume it into Russia. It is inarguable that the burden for peace in Ukraine rests on Russia and Russia alone. But Pelley’s phrasing (coupled with his condescending tone) seems to imply that Zelensky should be willing to give up something for peace, because apparently the deaths of around 170,000+ soldiers and 10,000 civilians isn’t enough of a sacrifice. Additionally, Pelley’s tone of disbelief when asking “You must have it all, including Crimea?” sounds like he’s scolding Zelensky for being selfish.
Normally I wouldn’t be so judgy about a clip, but the thing is, this is the clip that 60 Minutes released to advertise the interview with President Zelensky. Anyway, I took a look around and it appears that I am in good company with my irritation:
Deplorable. Help Russia destroy his country? Murder more Ukrainians? It’s also a question based on the blatantly false pretenses that Russia wants peace and that Putin can be trusted. Ukraine gave up parts of Ukraine in 2014 and Putin attacked again. Not anyway, but because.
How about, “Why are the US and other NATO nations sitting on the weapons you need to save lives, retake your land, and bring peace?” Or, “What should happen to the nations and companies providing Russia and its allies with tech & parts used to murder Ukrainians?”
Russia has occupied and destroyed entire cities, leaving a trail of rape, torture, and countless other war crimes. Ukrainian children kidnapped, their parents murdered. Those are the human beings who live on the land this question asks Zelenskyy to give up for a fictional peace.
Putin has never stopped saying that his goal is the destruction of Ukraine. Russian propaganda boasts that this is a war of conquest and genocide. The only way to any real peace is Ukrainian victory, Ukraine whole and free, and Russia defeated and defanged.
Why is nobody asking Putin which part of Russia he will give up in exchange for peace? pic.twitter.com/RguJCKj4JI
— Dr. Ian Garner (@irgarner) September 19, 2023
P.S. I would add that while Zelensky didn’t bristle at the questions in the clip above, the smarmy Pelley did in fact provide an enormous platform for Ukraine’s president to once again clarify Ukraine’s position.