By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
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US forces on stand by as West and Russia raise stakes over Ukraine

Issue 2789
A picture of Putin who is amassing troops on the Ukraine border

Putin is amassing troops on Ukraine’s border

Sabre-rattling between US and Russian imperialism has brought Ukraine to the brink of war. 

US secretary of state Anthony Blinken promised a “swift, severe and united response from the United States and Europe” if Russia invaded Ukraine.

President Joe Biden could send between 2,000 to 5,000 troops to countries bordering Russia and Ukraine.

This could increase to 50,000, backed up by aircraft and warships, under a senior generals’ plan presented to the president last weekend. The US and British governments both continued to ship arms to Ukraine during the last week.  

And Tory minister Dominic Raab claimed that British spooks had unmasked a Russian plot to stage a coup and install an obscure former MP as the Ukrainian prime minister.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has placed more than 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border since November of last year. Armoured divisions are now within striking distance of the capital Kiev, with a population of almost three million people.

Putin has been building up troops since November last year, in a bid to force the US to the negotiating table. He wants assurances that the US-led Nato alliance won’t expand eastwards. 

He can also see an opportunity to exploit divisions within the webs of Western imperialism.

The US has talked up the threat of an invasion in a bid to put Russia on the back foot.

But European capitalist states—such as Germany—are far more reliant on Russian energy and have been less bellicose.

The US and Russia don’t want to get bogged down in a long war—but that doesn’t mean it won’t break out. The logic of imperialism—a system driven by competition between capitalist states—can push states into direct confrontation.

In Britain socialists should build opposition to the US and British states beating the drums of war—and fight the system of imperialist rivalry that produces it.

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