“If they want to survive, it is time for the Russian military to flee,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday. He was confident to announce a major offensive targeting Kherson in south Ukraine thanks to the scale of US and Nato armaments that his country has received.
Oleksiy Arestovych, one of Zelensky’s senior advisers, said Ukraine’s army had managed to overwhelm Russian defences in various sectors within “a few hours”. Russia denied the claim. Meanwhile fighting continues around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—Europe’s largest.
The Russian invasion six months ago was wrong, and Vladimir Putin’s forces should be out of Ukraine. But the Kherson offensive reflects a deepening of Western escalation. Ukraine is being used in a proxy war against the West’s competitors and enemies. The interests of the Ukrainian people matter little to the West. They can be shovelled into the fighting and Nato will use them until the last drop of their blood.
If the latest Ukraine manoeuvres are successful, they will open a new path for more Nato expansion. Finland and Sweden are already well-advanced towards signing up. Three additional states—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine—want to join. Kosovo also hopes to in the future. That will mean more forward bases for Western interests. And if Russia is broken by Western military power, the US will feel more confident to take on Iran and other states deemed to be hostile.
From the beginning, US president Joe Biden and the Nato countries—with Britain in the frontline—have had a central objective. This is to show that the West’s Afghan humiliation has been overcome. It will be a staging post towards sharpened contestation with China.
Despite a deep cost of living crisis, the US has given more than £42.6 billion worth of arms to Ukraine since February and last week pledged to send £2.6 billion more. And the Biden administration is also planning to ask Congress to approve handing over £940 million of arms to Taiwan to further provoke China. Britain has handed over £2.3 billion of armaments.
Whether Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak is elected, the Ukraine war and financing it, will remain central while millions go cold and hungry. Socialist Worker has consistently argued against the invasion, against Nato expansion and for a fight against imperialism everywhere. Those slogans are even more important now.
The imperialist clash is escalating—and is affecting the poorest the most. The anti-war movement, directed against people’s own rulers across the globe, must be built to end the horror. Capitalism offers war, poverty, climate chaos and recurrent pandemics. We need an offensive against that system everywhere.
Labour isn't the answer