Foreign Policy Military Ukraine

Faced With Donbass Defeat, US & UK Up the Ante in Ukraine

As Russia presses victory in the Donbass, U.S. and U.K. missiles threaten a new stage in the conflict, writes Christopher Nineham.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, meeting Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, April 9. (Ukraine government)

By Christopher Nineham / Consortium News

The British government, as ever following the U.S.  lead, is sending longer range missile systems to Ukraine for the first time. The government described the M270 weapon system they are despatching as a “cutting edge” military asset which can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away “with pinpoint accuracy.” Ukrainian soldiers are due to be brought to Britain for training in how to use the missiles.

As even some of the mainstream media point out, on top of the four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems sent by the U.S. last week, this decision marks a new stage in the war in which the West is prepared to provide the Ukrainian military with the capacity to strike deep in to Russian territory, something they previously carefully avoided.

This is one in a series of escalations on the part of the Western powers. It provoked immediate retaliation in words and deeds from Russian President Vladimir Putin — including the first bombardment of Kiev for five weeks — as Western leaders must have known it would.

It underlines the fact that the West is still pushing for nothing less than the complete defeat of Russia while Russian troops continue their offensive.

As British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement announcing the new weapons shipment, “If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.”

U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during a press conference at the British Embassy in Moscow on Feb. 11. (U.K. government)

As part of this policy of proxy war, the West has been deliberately trying to head off moves towards serious negotiations. The leading pro–Western Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda reported recently that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself appeared in Kiev early in May almost without warning, urging Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky not to negotiate with Putin.

“If you are ready to sign some guarantee agreements with him, we are not,” Johnson said, insisting it was instead the time to “press him.” Johnson later confirmed to French President Emmanuel Macron that he had “urged against any negotiations with Russia on terms that gave credence to the Kremlin’s false narrative for the invasion.”

It is first and foremost the Ukrainians who will suffer from this approach, as the conflict turns into a terrible war of attrition. But the war has global implications and the risks of a frightening military clash between nuclear armed great powers are higher than at any time for half a century.

To understand this situation and to be able to challenge it, we have to see beyond the West’s simplistic story that this is a war between the Western values of freedom and democracy and Russian despotism.

The anti-war movement opposed the Russian invasion from the start. But the West bears a heavy responsibility for this disaster. Senior U.S.  foreign policy figures from Henry Kissinger to Madeline Albright and from George Kennan to William J. Burns, the current head of the C.I.A., have advised that the eastward expansion of NATO up to the Russian borders would be deeply provocative to the Russian ruling class. NATO decision makers knew this, but carried on regardless.

Last minute diplomacy might well have averted the war. Many senior former U.S. diplomats and Russia experts urged the U.S.  to accept Vladimir Putin’s offer of talks before the invasion took place in January. The advice was rejected. As Ivan Katchanovski, a Ukrainian professor of political studies at the University of Ottawa argues, “The U.S.  and U.K. governments show no efforts or desire to achieve peaceful settlement of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”

Now Britain and the U.S.  appear to have abandoned even the limited military restraint they showed early on in the war. Their policy of pumping in the weapons and pushing for outright victory risks disaster.

Christopher Nineham

Christopher Mark Nineham is a British political activist and founder member of the Stop the War Coalition serving as national officer and deputy chair of the Stop the War Coalition in the U.K. He served under Jeremy Corbyn from 2011 to 2015.

22 comments

  1. Exactly! It is never too late to talk and negotiate, or all sides involved will suffer for many years to come. There is no military solution. A lesson all should have learned from all the wars of occupation from Korea to Vietnam, Palestine, and Afghanistan. All total failures filled with hubris and folly. Ending with no victories for anyone. Just failed states, poverty and death.

    1. @Bill Reitter
      The U.S. doesn’t want the war to end, and they’ve said so openly. They want Russia to be weakened and Putin out of office, which they’ve also said openly. This has little or nothing to do with hubris, it’s much better described as lack of mental and spiritual evolution causing lust for power and money (including money for the military/intelligence/industrial complex). THAT’s the only thing these jerks need to learn (i.e., more evolved people don’t obsess on things like money, material things, or power); they already know about all the other stuff.

    2. The negotiations have their limits. Asking Russia to give back Crimea and Donbas to Ukraine is like asking US to return Texas to Mexico.

      In both cases a rebellion lead war between provincial separatists and metropolis in which bigger third power intervened attacking and in case of US taking over the capital and annexing huge swaths of the country. US hypocrites say do what I say not what I do.

      In case of US their aggression against Mexico was worse asTexas rebellion was a provocation, with aim to retain slavery while Mexico abolished it. Mexican army came to Alamo to fight for abolition of slavery. Donbas and Crimea sepatared as Ukraine imposed discrimination against ethnic Russian culture, language and political representation by banning Yanukovitch Party of Regions.

  2. I think that’s a half take tbh. The eastward expansion of NATO is not a good enough reason to allow the Ukrainian people not to resist this genocidal onslaught.

    1. Genocidal onslaught!!!!!! So the 8 year destruction by the US-supplied Nato trained Uke army is quite normal? The Donbass has no rights? NATO is defensive, but decided that Russia is its only enemy and has no rights?
      The SMO if you bother to check it out, is to defend Donbass and destroy the military and Nazi (YES!!) dangers to Russia from Ukraine which is occupied by “Western” advisers and weapons . Civilians ans infrastructure are NOT targeted, but the media show all sorts of fake news which people in the West, pretending they represent the world, lap up .

    2. What would the us do if the Russians started putting mussels on the border in Mexico or Canada. Or Cuba. We’ve been through that

      1. @Mussel King
        I like oysters better, though the farmed ones suck and it’s hard to get wild ones anymore. This is like Edward G. Robinson’s character in Soilent Green complaining that they could no longer get real food. The ecological apocalypse is here, most people just don’t know it yet.

      1. ‘genocide’ is both a technical and a loaded word. What people mean is what counts, not caviling over technical definitions. Over 8 years of Ukrainian army, including with Ukronazi militias, assaults, 14,000 people died, many, many civilians.
        Due to their ideology–the Ukronazis hate Russians and have been able to instill this hatred to the regular Ukrainian population, many people feared that the final assault due probably in March on the Donbas would have caused mass slaughter of Donbas people (Putin’s Special Military Operation stopped the assault). If you doubt this contention, it is easy to find instances of these Ukronazis expressing their hatred and dehumanization of Russian people.

    3. Perhaps it is not a good enough reason for you, but to Russia it obviously was and that is what mattered. They warned the Ukraine, the US and NATO over and over for years but were ignored. Also, there is no genocide, just war.

    4. @Peterson
      It’s not just eastward expansion of NATO, that’s only one of the many major U.S. transgressions that caused Russia to invade. But even if that were the only issue, answer this: If Russia formed a military alliance with most Latin American countries, required those countries to spend a certain amount on their militaries, put advanced weapons including missile systems in those countries, and expanded that military alliance all the way to Mexico, how would you feel?

  3. The risk of such an escalation is utter insanity, regardless if who’s right or who’s wrong. World wars don’t start as world wars. And WW3 will be the end of all of us.

  4. There IS a military solution, but it would involve nuclear war.
    US Empire is devolving and cannot punch its way out of a paper bag of debt and inflated importance. So the only alternative is to throw a fit and flip the board.

  5. The USA is herding its UK and EU sheep to total destruction of Ukraine and the world. But the anti-war movement, when not totally silent, is waving blue and yellow flags and condemning Russia. The voices of resistance in the US and UK (and presumably in the EU) have been censored, canceled, deplatformed, demonetized. The alliance of the MIC and related corporations, the USA government (owned by these corporations), the media, including Silicon Valley, and the security state are incredibly powerful and frightening. Anyone posing serious opposition will be taken care out and countries not in lockstep, like those in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia, face economic sanctions and CIA-backed regime change (aka Pakistan). Inflated gas and commodity prices and shortages are blamed on the conflict, as we see reports of food production plants being burned and Texas oilmen dancing in the streets over record profits. Climate change continues to ravage the globe, and we are being told to fear increasing cases of new and old plagues. AI has taken over, leaving the work at home managers to run the robots and the oligarchs to play with their money and our lives.

  6. The author states that “the eastward expansion of NATO up to the Russian borders would be deeply provocative to the Russian ruling class.” People deny that the Russian people have informed views or agency; however, Russians remember the gifts of the West following the fall of the Soviet Union. They remember the precarity, the inflation, the unemployment, the deaths. They cannot allow the West to return and they know that is the American agenda.

  7. I would like to hear apology to Russians and LDPR people from liberals progressives including those who published on SP who bought lies about Russian war crimes in Ukraine, alleged murders, rapes of girls and children peddled by western MSM.

    Your have been duped. Admit it

    Those supposed liberal crusaders for evidence based truth and against prejudice and discrimination with no shred of proof assaulted Russia’s good name among nations by peddling Kiev regime propaganda underlaid by Russophobic racial and ethnic prejudice that already resulted with Nazi style persecution of ethnic Russians in EU, firing from jobs expulsions from schools and universities accused of supporting Barbaric Putin who rapes babies.

    You fell victim of US run psychological warfare believing nonsense spewed by hysterical Ukrainian Nazi Bandera Youth violating international laws by attacking Russian diplomats with fake blood or on the red carpet during Cannes film festival running half naked in red stained underwear, as supposed evidence of alleged horrible Russian atrocities.

    Here is half witted apology or rather excuse from one of many Ukrainian propagandist who lied to EU parliamentarian as well as to Ukrainian parliamentarians of Verhovna Rada. We learn here that horrific lies are supposedly justified to get what you want.

    This echoes German Nazi propaganda Kiev Nazi regime adopted.

    “ On June 8, the former ombudsman of Ukraine Lyudmila Denisova commented on her statements regarding the stories of rapes of Ukrainian girls by Russian soldiers. These statements were made by the former ombudsman in the Italian parliament. Denisova’s main goal was to push Italy to take bolder steps with regard to assistance to Ukraine. She never believed that those horrific allegations may be true, she knew that she was lying. It was not emotional response or exaggeration it was pure provocation via deception.

    It is interesting to note some of the ombudsman’s comments:

    “I was talking about scary things to make the decisions that Ukraine needs.”

    “Maybe I went overboard. But I was trying to achieve the goal of convincing the world to provide weapons and put pressure on Russia.”

    “When I spoke in the Italian Parliament at the International Affairs Committee, I heard and saw such fatigue about Ukraine, you know? I talked about terrible things to somehow push them to make decisions that Ukraine and the Ukrainian people need.”

    All of that came out only because western investigators could not independently collaborate Bucha or any other alleged by Kiev regime war crimes. Pentagon issued blatant statement that they do not have any evidences of Russia committed any war crimes in Ukraine.

    It looks like liberal neo-progressives who proud themselves of being above the irrational fray share one horrible trait with neocons namely they never apologize.

  8. I admit that I cannot see exactly what is happening in Ukraine, but I can be sure most media is lying to me about the war. I know because they lie to me about my own government, the economy, public health and climate. Because large structural crimes are presented as prosperity, and spectacle as happiness we are as disoriented as headless chickens, unless we spend hours doing our own investigation. That’s not fair, and not practical for most people. On Scheer Post Ellen Brown recommended we grow our own food.
    Well, we’re already mining our own information, resorting to nontraditional medicine and entertaining ourselves through personal creativity. Seems like the Corproverse has abdicated… or maybe we’re boycotting. Here comes a Depression (a short respite from intense extraction and plunder).

    1. @Red Hornet
      Wow, you nailed it! Shortly after Russia’s invasion, I complained to a friend that I was spending 3-4 hours/day doing my own research into what was really going on. I also complained that we should have actual news media instead of a propaganda regime, and that regular people shouldn’t have to expend that much time or effort on this. I’m sure this is how the ruling class wants it, but it’s totally disgusting.

  9. Black flag war will expand to fulfill optimum desire: terminal war as envisioned and promoted by the prophets of all religions. Unfortunately, there is no god or enlightenment.

  10. C. Nineham worries about war and disasters, but Situation : normal, we are habitually at some kind of war or gearing up for war.
    What is exceptional, is that a heavily nuclear armed nation will be desperate if faced with defeat. Hopefully, Russia will not act like a trapped and cornered dangerous animal and use the last option.
    Of course we do not use the Cuban missile crisis as an example to resolve this war as Nato’s missiles are purely defensive and righteous.— almost like 2nd amendment.
    American foreign policy is much the same as our rights to own more guns to prevent our unstoppable mass shootings as more weapons to Ukraine, Taiwan, Japan, & others, could/maybe prevent unescapable wars.
    Wars, mass shootings, school shootings, and so forth are very common place, and we will be fatigued as usual and perchance, let those cousins fight their family battles by themselves. We came very close to a civil uprising January 6th and might even have another go at it after 2024 elections – – – – – no one dares to interfere with our family fight or else.

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