by Spirit Of Eureka (National)
War, imperialist aggression and invasion has been Ukraine’s unfortunate story for centuries. The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia is just the latest infamy inflicted on this multi-national region, an illegal but predictable outcome resulting from the predatory machinations of the superpowers.
This war did not begin 24 February this year with the Russian attack on Ukraine. The war really began in 2014 when the US backed a coup in Ukraine against the Yanukovych democratically elected government, Russia’s neighbour.
The current configuration of Ukraine is problematic because the country is really a multi-national state. East of the Dnieper River and south down to Odessa on the coast, is essentially a Russian populated region . The rest of Ukraine, west of the Dnieper is truly historic Ukraine; which echoes back to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth domination. This part of Ukraine is populated by actual Ukrainians when it comes to ethnicity, culture and language. Cementing this ‘country’ together after the demise of the Soviet Union has been challenging. Unfortunately Ukrainian elites and their dominant right wing have wanted to turn the Russians into Ukrainians. Consequently, Russians are not fond of that idea and resent it bitterly.
What is the political context behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There are essentially three motivating reasons behind Russia’s military aggression.
1. The provocative US/NATO expansion right up to the Russian border, threatening their security
Ukraine in the past has been a gateway through which Russia has been invaded. Napoleon in 1812 [Napoleon’s main forces came through White Russia – what is now BeloRussia – Minsk and then Smolensk]and Hitler in 1941 [again, Hitler came on 3 fronts – north-east towards Leningrad, centrally through Belorussia, south-east towards Kiev, and eventually to Stalingrad.]. Over thirty years ago the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. Secretary of State James Baker deliberated on NATO’s role in a future, unified Germany. Gorbachev told Baker that “Any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable”, Baker agreed with Gorbachev and stated that “there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east”.
The US and NATO have done exactly the opposite. Virtually all the previous Warsaw Pact countries, except for Ukraine, are now members of NATO. Who can trust the US claims of a “Rules based system”? What the US is really after is a “US rules based system”.
The United States and NATO sponsorship of the violent far-right Maiden coup, that overthrew the elected Yanukovych government and installed a Ukrainian chauvinist government authority, including neo-Nazi elements from the right Sector Party and the Azov Battalion was a clear warning to Russia of their intentions. The provocations don’t stop there. The proposition that Ukraine might become a member of NATO and exporting weapons to them created the further anxiety for the Russians. From the very beginning Putin and Russia made it very clear that they would not accept Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.
The original purpose of NATO was to challenge the Soviet Union. Once the Soviet Union was dissolved there was no need for NATO and it should have also been disbanded. However, NATO repurposed itself to control the global energy system, sea lanes and pipelines and to serve as a US run intervention force (eg there was a NATO Training Force in Afghanistan, Turkey became a member and NATO attacked and destroyed Libya – none of these are remotely near the Altantic or western Europe).
2. Russia’s export of their energy resources to Europe is a threat to US hegemony of energy production
The US fears the Russian built Nordstream 2 pipeline to send gas directly from Russia to Germany, which will bypass Ukraine and remove a source of income for them and diminish their strategic role in gas distribution. American attempts to sanction the Nordstream 2 pipeline was straight out protectionism for U.S. gas producers. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have achieved this – though Germany has postponed, not cancelled Nord 2 so far.
Russia provides 30 to 40 percent of Europe’s gas supply and that’s not to the liking of the United States who want to protect their liquefied gas corporations.
In May last year President Biden lifted sanctions on the Nordstream 2 pipeline (which was 95% complete) that congress and former president Donald trump had placed two years ago. However, Biden told Putin the United States would be willing to use the pipeline as leverage against Putin’s military buildup on the border of Ukraine. The US warned Russia that if it wants to see gas flow through the pipeline they may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine. There is little concern for the people of Ukraine both are more worried about their strategic interests. In Europe the debate over US sanctions is viewed as a play not only for energy security but for lucrative energy markets.
Sanctions are an aggressive instrument in a fossil energy war – both Russia and the United States are using natural gas as a political weapon. The reason Biden lifted the sanctions that Trump had on that pipeline was on the condition that Germany could start using the pipeline and have gas flow but under the condition that if Russia attacks Ukraine militarily they would have to stop gas coming in.
In addition to this there is another motive to block Nordstrom 2 and gain profits from exporting US liquified natural gas to Europe and that is to prevent Russia from being further integrated into the rest of Europe. If you’re a dominant power and you thrive off constant confrontation and Russia is one of your prime enemies, then Russia is a deterrent to US dominance.
Russia being more integrated with the rest of Europe would be a disaster because it reduces the chance of conflict. It means European countries will be less likely to get on board when the US tries to impose more sanctions or even try to start a war. Blocking this gas pipeline is a high priority for US dominance, not only for their energy industry profits but because it helps enforce the US run global energy system (which is now under threat from China and Russia).
3. Ukraine torpedoes the Minsk Agreement and the Normandy Formula
The Minsk accords was the peace agreement that was established in 2015 to bring an end to the fighting in the Donbass. The agreement was for the Pro-Russian regions to demilitarize and give up their weapons – in exchange they would get autonomy. Basically Minsk would ensure peace in Ukraine. Now if the Donbass achieves autonomy this is a disadvantage for Washington neoconservatives and far-right fascists in Kiev because it means that Ukraine can’t join NATO.
Up until a few weeks ago there were talks under the Normandy formula to try to save Minsk. At the most recent round of talks Zelensky announced that he would refuse to negotiate any more with the rebels. Consequently the war continued in the Donbass and there was no peace. Contrary to what the Western Media was saying that Putin had sabotaged Minks it was actually Zelensky who decided to sabotage Minsk. He faces pressure at home from the far right pro-Nazi forces that have held demonstrations where they’ve threatened Zelensky if he makes peace.
The US if they wanted to could step in and support Zelensky’s endorsement of the Minsk accords and that would send a very strong signal to the far right to back off. Obviously the US has a lot more power than the pro-Nazi Ukrainian forces, but they haven’t leant on them or pushed Zelensky to support the Minsk accords.
Zelensky with Washington’s blessing sabotage diplomacy right up until the end even though Putin had all those troops massing on the border and there was the prospect of a Russian invasion. Unfortunately, the prospect of making peace with Russia and offering a neutral Ukraine just couldn’t be tolerated by Washington. Now the world is witnessing a disastrous war in the Ukraine which could easily spread.
To add fuel to the fire Zelensky went to the recent Munich security conference and stated that Ukraine could possibly pursue nuclear weapons once again. Which is a crazy and provocative message. No knows exactly what Putin had calculated with the Donbass and Ukraine, maybe he’d been planning to invade months ago. It’s also possible that in the end he had enough and decided that there’s no hope with these people and he just went ahead with the military invasion. The US had multiple opportunities to prevent the war and every step of the way they encouraged confrontation.
When Biden took office an interesting development took place inside Ukraine that received virtually no attention. Zelensky offered what has been described as ‘welcome gift’ to Biden which was the shutting down of the three main opposition TV networks, all of them aligned with Russia. Taking them off the air was a move that the US embassy at the time cheered as a wonderful move. Which is an odd action to undertake when supposedly Ukraine is a democracy.
This ‘welcome gift’ to Biden was to fit in with the US agenda. Around the same time the opposition leader of the pro-Russian party inside Ukraine was placed under house arrest. All this was done to please the Biden administration. Why would the Zelensky government go out of its way to do all this? The answer is the US administration wants a confrontation with Russia.
Clearly Putin saw this as a direct assault on him because his allies in Ukraine were being attacked and that’s when the first of the Russian military forces were sent to the border amassing in 2021. It is a fair speculation that the first Russian military forces started gathering on the border were a reaction to the crackdown inside Ukraine that was encouraged by the Biden administration.
Superpower destruction of Ukraine must stop!
Obviously, Russia wasn’t going to stand idly by as they lost ground in Ukraine. Putin has now taken advantage of these disturbing events in Ukraine since 2014 to invade and ‘rescue’ what they call ‘Novosti Russia’ (New Russia). None of this history justifies the current invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops which must be withdrawn so negotiations can take place for the future of Ukraine which includes peace and security for all the people of Ukraine including those in the Donbass region. One of the major contributing factors in the crisis is the refusal of the US and its allies to accept the notion of a neutral Ukraine.
Spirit of Eureka calls for solidarity with the people of Ukraine and Russia.
The Ukrainian people (which includes all national groups) must be allowed to decide their country’s destiny without interference from US/NATO and Russia.