U.S-NATO war on Russia in Ukraine ends second year

Munich, Germany, Feb. 17, 2024. Antiwar forces protest NATO forces at warmongering Security Conference, where a focus was NATO support for the Kiev regime’s war with Russia. Sign in foreground reads: ‘Make war on war; For peace and socialism.’

On Feb. 16, the Kiev regime withdrew Ukraine’s army from the key town of Avdiivka in a precipitous, disorganized fashion. It is not clear if Ukrainian forces have a stable, fall-back defensive line. This development followed months of turmoil within the Ukraine regime and among the top military leadership.

The conflict between Russia and Western imperialism over Ukraine, which had been simmering since 2014, escalated in the months before Feb. 24, 2022, as NATO held maneuvers in Eastern Europe and up to the borders of Russia. The U.S. and NATO ignored invitations from the Russian government for negotiations to end the threats to its sovereignty.

Feb. 22, 2022, the Russian government moved decisively to stop U.S. and European imperialism’s maneuvers aimed at absorbing Ukraine and weakening Russia, and Russian forces entered Ukraine.

At that time, instead of supporting efforts for quick negotiations, Washington imposed sanctions on Russia, designed to smash and crush Russia’s economy quickly. Military and economic aid poured into Ukraine’s regime. According to a European Union report, the EU has provided $96 billion in financial, military, humanitarian and refugee assistance, with $30 billion of this sum being direct military aid. 

Meanwhile, as of last October, the U.S. had provided “over $60 billion in funding and equipment through military, economic and humanitarian aid.” (usafacts.org, Oct. 4, 2023)

As a result of the U.S. pushing NATO countries to continue pouring arms into Kiev’s army, tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have died or been seriously injured in this conflict. Some 15% of the people living in Ukraine are external refugees, and another 20% are internally displaced. Many of the small cities and towns where the fighting has been most intense — like Avdiivka or Bakhmut — have been left in ruins.

The sanctions that the EU, and British and U.S. regimes were in such a hurry to impose in early 2022 have failed to destroy Russia’s economy, which has continued to grow, albeit slowly. A report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service indicates that sanctions on Russia have had a negative impact on the world economy.

The struggle over Avdiivka began in October 2023 after the failure of the much ballyhooed Ukrainian counteroffensive. (The Ukrainian forces couldn’t breach the Russian minefields, and their attack brigades were effectively targeted by Russian airpower.) Using its superiority in soldiers, while accepting heavy casualties, Russia maintained multiple ground assaults, which wore away Ukrainian defenses, which were also subject to major air assaults.

Ukraine has a population of 36.7 million people while Russia’s is 143.4 million, and its economy is much larger. Only the U.S.-NATO decision to keep supplying weapons to Kiev keeps the war going — with Ukainians serving as cannon fodder for imperialist interests.

While most European NATO governments have mobilized to support the war aims — to the detriment of the working class in Europe — the Joe Biden administration has up to now been unable to get a new $60 billion aid package through the House of Representatives.

G. Dunkel

G.Dunkel@workers.org

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G. Dunkel

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