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Volume 53 Number 3, January 28, 2023 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

No to NATO! No to War!

Latest Move of the Anglo-US and NATO Powers to Fuel the War in Ukraine

On January 14, it was reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had confirmed in a call with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Britain's intention was to provide a small number of Challenger 2 tanks to "help push back Russia's invasion". The reports also claimed that these 14 tanks "would make Britain the first western power to supply the Ukrainians with main battle tanks, which would be used to help train Ukrainian troops". The reports also say that the move was intended to put pressure on Germany, as the US and the Ukrainian regime has been trying to get Germany to allow its Leopard 2 tanks - used by armies such as Poland, Finland, the Netherlands and Spain - to be re-exported to Ukraine. The German government has now agreed within the last few days to supply some tanks and to authorise the export of these tanks from these other European countries. Furthermore, although the United States had previously declined to provide its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, arguing it would be "more productive" to send German Leopard 2 tanks "since many allies have them", on January 25, following the German government's announcement under pressure from the US, Britain and others, President Biden announced that the US would also send 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine.

US Army M1 Abrams tanks and German Leopard 2 on military exercises in Germany

The British Ministry of Defence also announced that 600 more Brimstone missiles and four batteries of AS90 self-propelled guns will be donated to the Ukrainian regime, "to boost its offensive capability, as well as air defence missiles". These are set to start arriving in Ukraine in the coming weeks. Defence secretary Ben Wallace lauded the most recent package of military aid for Kyiv as showing Britain was "leading international support for Ukraine", and urged allies to build on this momentum, claiming that it was to "ensure that Putin's illegal and unprovoked invasion fails".

Taken together, these moves are further fuelling the war in Ukraine, in the wake of the Anglo/US nuclear exercises "Steadfast Noon" [1] carried out at the end of last year to confront Russia as a nuclear power. They are a further provocation, blocking a peaceful solution, and further institutionalising the character of the Ukraine conflict as a proxy NATO war against Russia. As one commentator suggested, the number of tanks being supplied to Ukraine will in practical terms make little difference. Russia has the armaments to counteract them, and some may not even be supplied for months, or just used for training. However, the US and Britain are determined to break the "taboo" of supplying heavy weapons such as western battle tanks in order to open the door to further escalation and institutionalisation of the war. The latest escalation also seems to have come as an attempt by the British government to restore NATO morale following Russia's military operation to secure Soledar. This location, part of the Donetsk region of the Donbass, was seized by the Ukrainian military as its military front line since 2014 when Donetsk declared itself as a Republic in a referendum, having rejected the Maidan coup.

A research briefing in the House of Commons Library, "Military assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion" [2], confirms that "the UK, US and Poland have taken a leading role in co-ordinating international military assistance to Ukraine". It also confirms Britain's role in this latest escalation when it points out that Britain's commitments form part of the Tallinn Pledge [3], "which was announced by the UK and eight other European allies on 19 January 2023". That pledge "recognises the renewed effort that is now required to assist Ukraine" in "defeating Russia" and "to that end, the signatories of the pledge commit to collectively pursuing delivery of an unprecedented set of donations including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defence, ammunition, and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine's defence". It is worth noting that the countries that signed this pledge with Britain do not include any of the major powers in Europe and that the pledge has no formal standing among European countries.

The Library research briefing also reveals that so far the British government has committed "£2.3 billion in military assistance to Ukraine" as the second largest provider of the escalation of the NATO proxy war in Ukraine. It confirms that Britain is planning to "match, or exceed, that £2.3 billion of military assistance in 2023/24". Of course, it is the United States which is by far the largest benefactor, which, to "date, has provided $26.7 billion since February 2022".

For Britain to incite a handful of European nations to further escalate the war in Ukraine and use that to pressurise Germany to join in without any attempt to bring about a peaceful solution reveals much about the reactionary Anglo-US aims that are plunging Europe ever further into this proxy war in Ukraine, and much about the Anglo-US attitude to Europe in general and Germany in particular.

As has been shown so many times in European history, the problems and security of the peoples of Europe cannot be settled by escalating such conflicts but only by identifying just solutions and pursuing them peacefully. It is Britain's involvement in eastern Europe as the main ally of the US that is the real threat to peace as the Tallinn Pledge has confirmed. The British government also played a major role in the Maidan coup that brought to power a Russo-phobic government in 2014 that would pursue NATO's interests and glorify neo-Nazism. Since then, successive British governments have played a major role in provoking the war in Ukraine and ensuring that it is escalated.

Assessing NATO today, it can be seen that Britain has a key warmongering role in this military alliance. Britain refuses to stand for peaceful solutions to conflicts in the world, whether in the Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria Yemen, Libya or Palestine. Successive British regimes have played this same role following WWII. Britain and the US are the main powers behind expanding NATO in Europe, Africa, Asia and the East Pacific. Following their disastrous "war on terror" in the Middle East against smaller countries, they have now turned to military and economic provocations against major powers such as Russia and China, further endangering the peace of the peoples of the world.

Britain's participation in NATO must be brought to an end. Britain urgently needs an anti-war government. People cannot rely on any salvation from Westminster and its warmongering cartel party system. It is in the hands of the peace loving people to build the resistance to NATO. It is in the hands of a renewed anti-war movement that is prepared to take the lead in developing the discussion and actions of the working class and people of Britain to stop NATO and stop its drive to world war. No to NATO! No to War!

1. US and Britain and NATO Escalate Ukraine Crisis with Nuclear Rehearsal in Europe - Workers' Weekly, October 26, 2022
2. Research Briefing Military assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion - January 24, 2023
3. Tallinn Pledge. A joint statement by the defence ministers of Estonia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania; and the representatives of Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Slovakia - January 19, 2023


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