The Tories declared a major escalation to the war in Ukraine last week. They announced 8,000 more troops will soon be sent across Europe. This latest troop deployment is the largest since the Cold War. Opposition to the plans must be part of the Stop the War Coalition day of action on Saturday of this week. Commander field army lieutenant general Ralph Wooddisse outlined the intentions of the British army.
“The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century,” he said. The ministry of defence released details of the deployment last week. It said that operations would see “72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deployed to countries from Finland to North Macedonia, demonstrating the army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force”.
British troops will serve in the Joint Expeditionary Force—a British-led military force made up of other allies. In a statement, Ben Wallace, the British defence secretary, wrote, “These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across Nato and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength.”
The latest moves are an addition to relentless troop build-ups. Early last month, more than 3,000 British sailors and Royal Marines were deployed to the Arctic Circle, as well as onshore, at sea and in the skies of Norway. Overall, the Cold Response 2022 involved around 30,000 troops from 27 Nato allies and “partners”. And the US continued to pour in weapons to prop-up Ukraine’s military last week.
President Joe Biden asked Congress to accept his proposal to send a £26.25 billion aid package to Ukraine. Around £16 billion of this is military aid. Democrat house of representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi also met with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev to underline that Ukraine must inflict defeat on Russia.Pelosi told a news conference in Poland, “America stands with Ukraine. We stand with Ukraine until victory is won. And we stand with Nato.”
Meanwhile Poland has confirmed that it has sent 240 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Ukraine. The country has already given Ukraine around half of its T-72s. Poland recently signed a £3.8 billion deal to buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the US to make up for this. Sweden also stepped closer to joining Nato, despite large numbers of Swedish people opposing the move.
Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson said that Nato membership could be agreed without a national vote. She thinks a referendum would be a “bad move.”Andersson added, “There is a lot of information about national security that is confidential, so there are important issues in such a referendum that cannot be discussed and important facts that cannot be put on the table.”
In a recent survey, just 51 percent of Swedes were in favour of joining Nato. Only a week previously 45 percent favoured joining the military alliance. Meanwhile Russia has responded to the stepping up of Western military support. Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs, accused the West of using leaders in Ukraine to carry out their own aims.
She warned, “Advisers from Western countries staying in Ukraine’s decision-making centres will not necessarily be a problem for Russia’s response measures. “We do not advise to continue trying our patience.”Nato countries are also in fear of their own people. This was made clear when the Spanish government unveiled a series of repressive measures to crush protests for June’s Nato summit in Madrid.
The Spanish Interior Ministry will deploy 12,000 police officers, who will join another 12,000 officers from the capital region and 1,000 city police. In total Madrid will be a city under siege by 25,000 cops.
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