Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2795

Arms to Ukraine will push us to disaster

Backing one side of the imperialist clash and calling for more military support isn't a solution.
Issue 2795
Ukrainian tanks perform training missions

Ukrainian tank crews conduct defensive operations in 2017. (MAJ Neil Penttila, 7th Army Training Command Public Affairs)

Weaponry is pouring into Europe at breakneck speed as the US and its allies have opened the floodgates to arm Ukraine. It took just a matter of days for the US to complete its largest ever transfer of weapons to another country.

A constant flow of British and US cargo planes shuttle between European airbases and Poland and Romania, bristling with anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers, guns and ammunition. Once there, they are transferred to Ukraine by road. This is the drive to disaster. By Friday of last week, the US had already delivered some 70 percent of the £266 million weapons package to Ukraine.

Britain won’t say exactly what it is sending to Ukraine. But we know it sent 2,000 anti-armour missiles to Ukraine just before the war started. Germany, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have all pledged thousands of arms. Britain takes special pride in speeding it all along. 

Western governments hope all this will be enough to prop up Ukraine without having to give in to calls for a “no-fly zone”. They know that this—patrolling the sky above Ukraine—would almost certainly mean a direct fight between the nuclear armed US and Russia. That’s why Nato, the US’s military alliance, rejected the idea last week. But the calls for one continue.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was set to speak to the British parliament as Socialist Worker went to press to plead for one. The pressure on British politicians to give in was sure to increase immediately after. But the frightening truth is that, even without a no-fly zone, war could happen.  Russia warned that any country sending arms into Ukraine “will be responsible for any consequences of such actions.” 

Nato soldiers are assembling in eastern European countries. US general Christopher Cavoli said the “combat readiness” of Nato’s soldiers is “remarkable”. All this points to the fact that the war is about much more than Ukraine. It’s a clash between two powers for dominance in eastern Europe. Russia’s assaults on Ukraine is appalling. All socialists must actively oppose it. But the Western build up of arms to Ukraine began years before the war. It comes on the understanding that Ukraine will submit to the will of the US.

That’s why backing one side of the imperial clash—Nato—and calling for more military support is no solution. That only increases the chances of a bigger war in Europe. The alternative is with ordinary people on the streets against war. That includes those in Russia protesting against Putin, and those in Ukraine standing in front of tanks. And it includes everyone in Britain—horrified at Russia’s invasion, but terrified of escalation—that knows sending more weapons means pouring fuel on the inferno.

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