A month later, in September, Ukraine again hosted NATO war games near the front in the Donbass. Again, 20 countries took part in these war games, in a wildly provocative escalation.
Zelensky’s administration continued peace talks with Russia through January 2022. At a meeting with Russian counterparts, Ukraine’s representative declared that “the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreement means the country’s destruction”.
Shortly after that, Kiev massively increased its shelling of the Donbass and began massing troops, signaling an upcoming military offensive. On February 24th, The DPR & LPR again appealed to Russia asking for military assistance to repel the coming offensive by Kiev. This time, with a groundswell of support from the Communist Party, Russia recognized the DPR & LPR as independent republics, and began the “special operation” to neutralize neo-Nazi forces, officially siding with the Donbass in Ukraine’s ongoing civil war. As in Syria, Russia was now embroiled in a full-blown proxy war with the USA and its NATO lackeys.
Over the next two months, Zelensky began earnest negotiations to end the war. He wanted collective security guarantees not just from the West, but from Russia. In exchange, he promised to stop seeking membership in NATO.
These talks were cut short by threats by far-right groups in Ukraine — threats which were echoed by outlets like the New York Times, who said that Zelensky “would be taking extreme political risks even to entertain a peace deal” with Russia, as his government “could be rocked and overthrown” by far-right groups if he “agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow.” Just days after Zelensky attended peace talks in Belarus in early April, Boris Johnson visited Kiev and “urged” Zelensky not to negotiate with Putin.
The man who ran on a campaign of peace with the Donbass and Russia was slowly realizing that the neo-Nazi forces at home and the Biden Administration abroad will never tolerate any kind of negotiated peace. The Ukrainian people had been played.
The US and EU responded to Russia’s invasion with unanimous outrage and outpourings of solidarity with the Zelensky regime. Mainstream TV and print media began an unprecedented propaganda campaign to convince Americans that Russia’s invasion was entirely unprovoked, that NATO expansion and US imperialist meddling in Ukraine had played no role in prolonging and escalating the conflict, and that this 8-year war started on February 24, 2022 with Russia’s invasion—not in 2014 when the civil war began.
Russia claims that it is “demilitarizing and denazifying” Ukraine. Western media calls this “absurd Russian propaganda.” Our TV and print media refer to Nazi units like the Azov Battalion as “freedom fighters.” We are told they are fighting for democracy and the future of the Western world. Our media insists that Russia is invading Ukraine because it’s an expansionist, imperialist power led by an autocrat — having nothing to do with the US, NATO, or Kiev’s prior actions. We’re told that Putin is simply unreasonable and deranged. Our media has absolutely failed us (while performing its intended function—namely, manufacturing consent for war—admirably).
So what does all this mean for the anti-war left?
First, let’s get the facts straight: This war has been going on for 8 years. 14,000 were killed and as many as 39,000 wounded before 2022 according to the UN, one-third of which were civilians. After the coup in Kiev in 2014, Ukraine has become a puppet state of U.S. influence in the region. The US has been funneling them arms, training their armies, and influencing the privatization of their industry and resources for 8 years. Far-right ultranationalist and neo-Nazi ideology has become alarmingly mainstream in Ukraine, and the state has tolerated and supported these groups and tendencies.
Russia does have legitimate grievances in Ukraine which we would do well to consider. Their actions have been logical and predictable. In fact, the CIA predicted all of it. In 2008, CIA director William Burns said, in a classified document released by Wikileaks:
“Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO aspirations not only touch a raw nerve in Russia, they engender serious concerns about the consequences for stability in the region. Not only does Russia perceive encirclement, and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests.
…A radical new expansion of NATO may bring about a serious political-military shift that will inevitably affect the security interests of Russia.
…Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that Russia had to view continued eastward expansion of NATO, particularly to Ukraine and Georgia, as a potential military threat.
…While Russia might believe statements from the West that NATO was not directed against Russia, when one looked at recent military activities in NATO countries (establishment of forward operating locations, etc.) they had to be evaluated not by stated intentions but by potential.
…In Ukraine, these [strategic policy considerations] include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether or not to intervene.”
So far, more than $54 billion has gone to support the proxy war in Ukraine. Adjusted for inflation, this is roughly one-third of the total amount of support given to the USSR during WWII while the USA and the Soviet Union were allied in opposing Nazism.
This aid includes military equipment, ammunition, logistical support, and battlefield intelligence (including Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system). Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) troops, including many of the most infamous ultranationalist and neo-Nazi battalions, are also being trained by US and NATO military personnel in neighboring countries. The United States, which once heroically allied with the Soviet Union to fight Nazis, is now ironically aligning itself with the grandchildren of the Nazis to fight the grandchildren of the Soviets.
US politicians have repeatedly made it clear in interviews and press conferences that their stated purpose for dragging this war on indefinitely is that they are determined to weaken Russia by any means necessary; they are willing to let Ukraine fight to the very last Ukrainian, and for the country be totally devastated like Syria, if it means weakening one of its biggest geopolitical adversaries.
This war isn’t between Russia and the people of Ukraine. It’s a conflict which began as a war between Ukrainians — those who supported the coup government in Kiev, and those who supported the separatist movements and who wanted nothing to do with the coup government they hadn't cast any votes for— and has escalated into a proxy war between Russia and the US and NATO, with NATO forces supplying Ukraine with 100% of its weaponry at the time of writing. The US military has actually given Ukraine so many weapons that its reserve stocks are nearly depleted.
The Biden Administration is willing to subject Ukraine to utter devastation to secure a dubious strategic geopolitical advantage, disregarding the countless Ukrainians that have and likely will continue to die in the process. Even in the rest of Europe not directly affected by the war, the cost of living is skyrocketing. Millions will suffer as they cannot afford to heat their homes this winter. And as with every escalation of conflict involving nuclear powers, the extinction-level horrors of thermonuclear war become increasingly likely.
We cannot allow this war to escalate any further. We need peace and we need it now! A negotiated peace settlement and an ending of US military support for Ukraine in this proxy war is an urgent necessity. It is urgent not just for the people of Ukraine, but for Europeans who are suffering through economic fallout, and Americans who are funding this war with our tax dollars—tax dollars which could be fixing our dilapidated infrastructure, providing housing, healthcare, and education to those most in need. This war is immoral, and the goals of the US and NATO are indefensible. We stand at the brink of nuclear war, and for what? So a few Western capitalists can count their blood-stained lucre by the firelight of Ukrainian misery? So they can get filthy rich by looting Ukraine?
We say, enough!
NO WAR WITH RUSSIA!
NO WAR WITH CHINA!
NO WAR, PERIOD!