Tony Greenstein | 27 February 2022 | Post Views:

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine must be Condemned and in Particular the Attack on the Civilian Population

The Blame for this War However Lies Primarily With NATO and its Attempt to Encircle Russia

In my last blog, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had started, I wrote that

it appears that Russian troops are confining their presence to the 2 breakaway republics of Donbass and Lugansk with its aircraft taking out Ukraine’s NATO supplied weaponry and air defences

I was clearly wrong. If the invasion had been confined to defence of the two breakaway republics it would have been defensible since the heavily working class population of the Donbas and Luhansk don’t wish to be part of Ukraine and voted decisively to be separate. The same arguments used by British imperialism for allowing Northern Ireland to separate from the rest of Ireland don’t apply to the Ukraine! However the attempt to conquer the whole of Ukraine and presumably install a client regime in Kiev is to be condemned unreservedly.

However we should be under no illusions The responsibility for what is happening lies at the feet of Biden and NATO. A simple guarantee by NATO, which is an offensive not defensive alliance with a record of waging wars against Libya, Afghanistan and Serbia, that Ukraine would not become a member would have deprived Putin of any reason to attack Ukraine.

Similarly an assurance by Ukraine that it would be a neutral state that would not be part of any military alliance would also have cut the ground from underneath Putin.

Reports are coming in of an attack on a residential apartment block in Kiev. Russia claims it was an anti-aircraft missile. It is impossible to know what is the truth but there is no reason for Russia to be attacking Kiev at all.

However the hypocrisy of those who condemn attacks on civilians in Ukraine but who, last May, applauded Israel’s attack on the civilian population of Gaza is breathtaking.

As I said in my first blog Putin is a right-wing nationalist and a Greater Russian chauvinist with dreams of resurrecting the Czarist Empire. He understands nothing about the history of Russian relations with Ukraine, not least the Holadamor, Stalin’s forced collectivisation and purges. His assertion that Ukraine does not have a right to an independent existence is absurd.

It was Stalin’s policies, not least the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and Russia’s occupation of Western Ukraine, which drove Ukrainians, at least for a time into Hitler’s hands.

Although the arming and integration of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion into the Ukrainian armed forces is to be condemned the idea that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is motivated by anti-fascism is ludicrous. If Putin was at all serious about this he would turn his attention to neo-Nazis and nationalists in Russia itself.

However there is no doubt that the United States and Israel have been supporting and training Ukraine neo-Nazi militias.

The attacks and arrests of Russian anti-war demonstrators is to be condemned but there is very little difference between Putin’s attack on demonstrators and the proposals of Boris Johnson to make peaceful demonstrations illegal under the Police and Crime Bill or the attacks by the police on Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the United States.

It is also the case, as Professor Richard Sakwa at Kent University said, that there has been a war going on for the last 8 years against the republics. Over 14,000 people have died since 2014. About this NATO and the West have said nothing. Ukrainian forces have continually attacked the republics.

The BBC of course continues to act as a cheerleader for NATO’s war propaganda. If you want to find out what is happening in Ukraine you need to watch RT and stations like Al Jazeera. Which is why that pathetic patriotic scoundrel and flag waver, Keir Starmer, has demanded the closing down of RT. Having suppressed freedom of speech in the Labour Party it is no surprise that he wishes to extend that principle to the rest of British society.

When 11 Labour MPs signed up to a statement from Stop the War Coalition. The statement opened with the sentence

Stop the War opposes any war over Ukraine, and believes the crisis should be settled on a basis which recognises the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination and addresses Russia’s security concerns.

Clearly any criticism of NATO is unacceptable to Starmer, who threatened them with the loss of the whip. Unsurprisingly all 11 promptly removed their names demonstrating that they don’t have a backbone between them.

Starmer’s attempt to outflank Johnson from the right is not only pathetic in its own terms it is likely to be self-defeating.  Already it is clear that Johnson, who was on the ropes politically barely a month ago is now becoming unassailable. In buying into Western war rhetoric, not least the campaign of sanctions against the Russian people, Starmer demonstrates why he is or should be considered a Labour traitor unfit for any office bar head rat catcher.

Putin has played into the hands of the warmongers – Biden, Johnson and NATO – with his invasion. It is exactly the situation that the war mongers in the West sought. We are now moving into a new era as NATO, with its Aukus Pact against China, seeks to try and assert United States hegemony in the world at the very same time that they have been forced to withdraw from Afghanistan.

There will be some on the left, like Paul Mason (if he can still be considered on the left), who will also be tempted to fall in line with their own ruling class.  It is a temptation that should be resisted. The enemy is at home. It is our own ruling class which is the main enemy and threat to peace.

The Morning Star had a good Editorial today and I agree with its main demand that Russia should withdraw from Ukraine. The main demand of socialists and internationalists in Britain should be Britain’s withdrawal from NATO, which is a front for the United States’s imperialist ambitions.

Perhaps the best analysis I’ve seen recently is Jonathan Steele’s Understanding Putin’s narrative about Ukraine is the master key to this crisis. It is worth reading. 

Tony Greenstein  

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Tony Greenstein

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