Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2793

European leaders back ‘peace’ in Ukraine so that profits flow

The ruling class in several European countries want to end the crisis in Ukraine quickly so they can keep the money coming in
Issue 2793
Macron will want to the Ukraine crisis to be over quickly

French president Macron wants the Ukraine crisis over quickly (pic: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office)

Europe remains poised on the knife edge of a ­terrible war over Ukraine. Vladimir Putin announced on Monday night that Russia would deploy “peace keeping” troops in Donetsk and Luhansk after he signed decrees recognising their independence.

He has supported separatist forces in the Ukrainian regions since 2014, in a bid to destabilise the country and stop it joining Nato and the EU.

It’s the latest dangerous move in the US and Russia’s imperialist rivalry over Ukraine.

The Russian Federation insists that the US-led Nato alliance should not move to incorporate Ukraine, just a few hours’ drive from the Russian capital, Moscow. As Socialist Worker went to press the ­mainstream media were a mixture of stories of possible diplomacy mixed with talk of Russian “kill lists”.

The US government is most eager to talk up an imminent Russian attack. It claimed this week to have “credible information” that Russian forces have ­compiled a list of Ukrainian citizens to be “killed or sent to detention camps” in the aftermath of invasion.

The US has quite a lot of experience of ­kidnapping its opponents and putting them on its own kill lists. Nevertheless, the story is an attempt to sway opinion in the US and Europe that is largely opposed to war.

More than half of people in the US say America should “stay out” of negotiations around Russia and Ukraine, according to a YouGov poll last week. And, ever eager to join the fray, Boris Johnson this week chipped in that Russia “Must fail and be seen to fail” if an invasion went ahead. That is surely code for Western military intervention in Ukraine if an invasion were to happen. There is a danger that such talk will ratchet up tensions still further.

In the Donbas region of Ukraine, which is held by Russian-backed ­separatists, thousands of civilians this week fled across the border to Russia. They fear that Ukrainian forces could attack them in retaliation for a Putin-ordered invasion.

The French and German governments are also anxious to avoid a conflict that could have a devastating effect on European economies. French president Macron persuaded US president Joe Biden to agree “in principle” to direct talks with Putin.

Macron is happy to strut in world attention as he is just weeks away from a ­presidential election. European economies are dependent on Russian energy exports—and gas lines that run through Ukraine.

The European Union’s talk of “peace” is, in reality, a strategic move to keep the fuel flowing. They are happy to use the Ukraine issue to put pressure on Putin when it suits them. But they want to resist the US demands that they fall into line for a potential war. It falls on ordinary people across Europe to protest against our leaders and their sabre-rattling.

We should demand that all Western forces are ­withdrawn from the countries that border Russia and that Nato is dissolved, not extended.

‘First shot’ is not the key

The media rumour mill is awash with stories of “false flag” operations that might be used to trigger a Russian invasion.

This could involve Russian forces pretending to be Ukrainians and attacking their own side. Specific Western claims should be treated sceptically. But it’s possible that such a thing could happen. In 1999, the Russian security forces are thought to have planted a large bag of explosives in an apartment building in the city of Ryazan.

They hoped that Chechen separatists would be blamed, and this could be an excuse for a Russian invasion. The West at the time was relatively untroubled by such accusations. Its leaders were only too happy to see the partly Muslim-led Chechen resistance crushed by violent means. And in any case, the key issue is not who fires the first shot in war. It’s who is responsible for the conditions that produced the conflict.

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