The British government is clear: it wants the war in Ukraine to go on and on, and it will seek to sabotage anything and anyone that works for peace…
The Ukraine war threatens to become permanent. The British government has continually intervened by sending weapons and urging no compromise. But, along with the US and NATO, it was already involved there before the Russian invasion.
US President George H. W. Bush assured Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev during their meeting on Malta in December 1989 that if the countries of Eastern Europe were allowed to choose their future orientation by democratic processes, the USA would not “take advantage” of that process.
Subsequently, NATO took in 13 Eastern European countries, clearly “taking advantage”. In 1990, Gorbachev was assured, though not in a formal treaty, that if a unified Germany was in NATO, there would be no movement of NATO jurisdiction to the east, “not one inch”.
Ukraine declared itself an independent country on 24 August 1991. The Russian government recognised its independence four days later. On 1 December, on an 84 per cent turnout, 92 per cent of the population voted in favour of independence.
The Soviet Union broke up shortly after. Since then Russia and NATO have been competing for influence over Ukraine. Ukraine remained in a precarious – but peaceful – balance between the pro-EU western regions of the country and the pro-Russian eastern regions.
' The US and UK governments are using Ukraine not saving it...'
But in April 2008, at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, NATO stated that Ukraine and Georgia would be welcome to join NATO. The Russians made it clear at the time that they saw this as an existential threat. Nevertheless, NATO moved to include Ukraine. NATO expansion is the heart of the strategy, but it includes EU expansion as well.
Within Ukraine, demands grew to join the EU, especially by politicians in the western regions. The elected President Yanukovich swung one way and then another.
The current Ukrainian government initially came to power via a US-sponsored coup against the elected government in 2014. The NATO-backed regime change in 2014 triggered a bloody civil war, killing over 14,000 people.
The pro-Russian eastern regions were so alarmed that they formed separate mini-states in Donbas and Luhansk. And Russia occupied the disputed and strategic Crimea in the south and was involved in supporting the separatists in the east.
NATO started training 10,000 Ukrainian troops annually in 2014. The UK’s training programme for Ukraine’s armed forces, Operation Orbital, started in 2015.
In February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on 4 February 2023 that the US and its Western allies “blocked” his mediation efforts in March 2022. Bennett said that NATO “decided that it is necessary to continue to smash Putin, and not to negotiate…”
When President Zelensky announced in April 2022 that the war would end in negotiations, Boris Johnson rushed to Ukraine. The Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported that Johnson had “two simple messages…Putin is a war criminal. Pressure must be put on him. No negotiations are possible. And secondly, if you are ready to sign any agreement with him, then we will not be part of it.” After Johnson’s visit, the Ukrainian government withdrew from the peace negotiations.
British parliamentary parties all oppose doing the decent, necessary thing, of calling for a ceasefire and a diplomatic end to the war. The SNP’s Ian Blackford said, “all of us in this House stand together in solidarity.” Parliament acts as a one-party state: a war party state.
What is NATO’s war aim? President Biden said that President Putin “cannot remain in power”. Do British workers want regime change in a nuclear-armed Russia?
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has repeatedly said that the USA (that is, NATO) will never negotiate and that he will not countenance a ceasefire in Ukraine.
US Congressman Dan Crenshaw said, “Investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military, without losing a single American troop, strikes me as a good idea.”
The US and UK governments are using Ukraine, not saving it. They are prolonging the war, and the longer the war goes on, the more Ukrainians will suffer. Johnson said, “We are in it for the long run.” The long run war on Afghanistan did not end well.
Public debate is suppressed. Meetings calling for peace in Ukraine find bookings cancelled. This shows the weakness, not the strength, of the ruling class’s drive for a longer and wider war. They have not forgotten that workers saw through their lies for wars against non-aligned Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
'Britain’s NATO membership is the root of the problem…'
Efforts for peace won huge popular support in Britain, but failed to stop those wars. Why? Because Britain’s NATO membership is the root of the problem and was unchallenged.
The US/British alliance is at the centre of NATO. For as long as Britain is in NATO, we are a key part of an alliance which exists only to promote the interests of the US and British ruling classes.
The US and British governments have played a decisive role in instigating this conflict and in keeping it going. Britain has committed £4.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine, second only to the USA. Without NATO support, Zelensky would have no choice but to negotiate an end to the war.
Even the best settlement in Ukraine will not end the danger of war, even of nuclear war.
These dangers will persist as long as we allow imperialisms to exist, and for us here in Britain, that must mean that we get out of NATO.