By Sam Ord
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2802

More Nato guns and tanks means less independent Ukraine

Nato are pouring arms into Ukraine in the hope of bolstering US imperialism, not the country's self-determination
Issue 2802
Sending more arms to Ukraine will be a disaster

Russia is using T-72 tanks in Ukraine

Britain and the US are ­stepping up the war in Ukraine. The extra push will mean even more weapons, even more ­integration of Ukraine into the Nato ­alliance—and even less independence for Ukraine itself.

Last Saturday Ukrainian ­president, Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to Boris Johnson, about a “new phase” of military aid, the president’s deputy chief of staff Andriy Sybiga said. He added the latest assistance would include the provision of heavy weapons and added that the two had also talked about more money for Ukraine. The next day two top US ­officials—Antony Blinken, US ­secretary of state, and Lloyd Austin, US defence secretary—flew to Ukraine to meet Zelensky in Kiev. 

Austin said the US wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kind of things that it has done in invading Ukraine”. The Financial Times newspaper says that US strategy has changed and that “current and former US officials say that much of the caution of the war’s first phases has been all but discarded”.

It adds, “Nowhere has the shift in policy been more evident than in the weaponry the US has begun ­shipping to Ukrainian forces. “A month ago the US opposed a Polish scheme to supply MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian air force.

“Now it has pivoted, facilitating the supply of spare parts to Kiev to get 20 ­warplanes back in the air.  “It has also vastly expanded the range of heavy weaponry it is ­delivering into the fight.”

And it says, “Every day, eight to ten cargo flights, most of them ­operated by the US, land near the country’s western borders, ­carrying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of increasingly heavy weaponry”.

Britain, in order to step up the scale and scope of weaponry that Nato is providing, has promised to replace tanks and heavy weapons supplied to Ukraine.

Britain and Germany told their  Nato allies in eastern Europe, “You send tanks and heavy weapons to Ukraine, and we’ll send you new ones to fill the gap.” This binds Ukraine closer to the Western orbit. Johnson said that he wanted to “backfill” supplies of Soviet-era T-72 tanks being provided by Poland to Ukraine. He also revealed plans for the West to provide “security ­guarantees” to Ukraine.

Britain, the US, France and Germany are leading the discussions about providing weaponry, training and intelligence in the long term. This would be close to Nato ­membership, even if it is not ­formally agreed upon. 

German defence minister Christine Lambrecht also announced a weapons deal. Germany will replenish the eastern European weapon stocks with German-made weapons. Slovenia is due to send a large number of T-72 tanks to Ukraine. In exchange, Germany will send Slovenia Marder tanks and Fox wheeled-tanks. 

Lambrecht added that Germany would train Ukrainian forces to use German-made the Panzerhaubitze 2000 heavy gunned tanks that the Netherlands is reportedly sending to Ukraine.

Has Britain sent the SAS to be deployed in Ukraine?

Russia is investigating whether Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) sabotage experts have been deployed to western Ukraine. Russia’s top state investigative body last Saturday said it was following up on a Russian media report alleging that the SAS had been sent to the western Lviv region. This is close to the border with Poland.

A Russian security source said that around 20 members of the SAS are operating in the country. The alleged presence of British special forces is significant. Putin warned Western nations not to intervene in the “special military operation” in Ukraine. Ukrainian troops have admitted that they received training on how to operate anti-tank weapons from British troops. 

But in an effort to stop this information from getting out, the Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee last week sent a notice to Socialist Worker and other media outlets asking them not to print the story.

British military manoeuvres, despite being secretive, are fuelling the drive to war from both sides. It is not clear how the Russian Investigative Committee—Moscow’s main federal investigating authority—will respond to any SAS involvement in Ukraine. The retaliation may cause much more misery and death to innocent people.

China and India grab oil 

The leaders of the West are keen to portray the war in Ukraine as being Russia against the rest of the world. But competitor nations are seeking to take advantage of US and European Union economic sanctions—especially on oil trading.

Eager to feed domestic industry, both India and China are scooping up as much oil as possible. 

Chinese oil giants Cnooc, CNPC and Sinpec were this week in negotiations to buy Shell’s £4 billion investment in Russian oil and gas. The end result will likely see China owning larger stakes in one of the world’s most oil and gas abundant nations.

India has in recent weeks aggressively ramped up its purchases of Russian oil. Its government has ordered an additional 13 million barrels since late February. The result is that Russia is already beating its own energy sales projections—despite sanctions.

‘Ghost drones’ to Donbas

The Pentagon said last week that the US Air Force has developed a new type of “ghost” drone for Ukrainian forces. It’s known as the Phoenix Ghost and is part of yet another new £625 million weapons package.

“This was rapidly developed by the Air Force in response specifically to Ukrainian requirements,” said a Pentagon spokesperson. The drones are believed to be well suited for combat in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

The Ukrainian military is also consulting with the giant US arms maker General Atomics to receive MQ-9 Reaper drones. The drones cost about £25 million each, which the US government is expected to pay.

“With support from the US government, those aircraft could be in the hands of Ukrainian military pilots in a matter of days,” a General Atomics spokesperson said.

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