By Yuri Prasad
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Russian offensive pressures Ukraine and the West

Russian advances in Ukraine may increase Western support, escalating imperialist tensions and threatening further lives
Issue 2906
Ukrainian President Zelensky meets with European and USA Experts

Ukrainian President Zelensky meets with European and USA Experts in the wake of the Russian offensive

The US White House is in a state of panic after the recent Russian offensive in the superpower war over Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military this week said that it is confronting a “critical” situation in the country’s north east. Ukraine has pulled back its troops from several villages in the border region of Kharkov.

Soldiers had come under heavy fire and moved to “more advantageous positions” in two areas of the north-eastern region, a military spokesman said.

Throughout the course of the two-year war, Ukraine has typically used this type of language to signify a retreat. President Volodymyr Zelensky has cancelled all foreign trips.

“The situation is on the edge,” general Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, told the New York Times newspaper from a bunker.

“Every hour this situation moves toward critical.”

US leaders once confidently predicted Ukraine would not only drive the Russians out of Ukraine but would initiate the collapse of the Russian economy and the fall of Vladimir Putin.

Back in the summer of last year, Joe Biden claimed that Putin “has already lost that war.”

But the tone today is very different. Earlier this week, Secretary of state Antony Blinken noted dully that “there’s no doubt there’s been a cost” to the US’s inability to overwhelm the Russians with Western arms.

Last month Ukraine’s parliament signed into law a mobilisation bill that lowered the military conscription age from 27 to 25 years old. That means thousands more young men can now be sent towards the slaughter on the front lines.

The law also contained harsh punishments for those that don’t want to fight in Ukraine’s increasingly demoralised army.

Zelensky hopes that a flood of Western weapons will help him turn the tide on the Russian advance. But as in all arms races, the push from one side leads to a counter from the other.

Russia’s war factories are running round the clock in preparation for more rounds of fighting. The human cost of the war is already incredible.

Earlier this year US officials put the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed at 70,000 and as many as 120,000 injured. These are underestimates. Estimates of the number of Russian soldiers killed range from 45,000 to more than 350,000. The new Russian offensive can only add to the toll.

One great danger is that the Nato countries now escalate the war to further advance their imperialist interests.

And whatever their problems, Ukraine’s leaders can rely on Britain’s Labour Party. Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and the party shadow defence ministers went to Kiev this week to ram home the party’s unstinting backing for the war.

“We wanted to come now, in the run-up to the UK election, to ensure we take politics out of the UK’s support for Ukraine,” said John Healey, the shadow defence secretary. “There’s total support for Ukraine across the full breadth of the Labour Party in and outside parliament,” he added.

Healey said Labour backed all the commitments made to Ukraine by the current government, including a recent pledge to provide Kyiv with £3 billion of military aid annually, which a future Labour government would continue.

The lost lives and mangled bodies mean nothing to the warmongers on each side—they are fodder.

And the talk of Ukrainian “freedom” that so motivated the West is now an illusion. How can there be freedom in a country where young people on both sides are forced to fight in a war they no longer want?

Hope lies only in the idea that workers on both sides begin a rebellion against the slaughter.

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