An Anti-Imperialist Position on the Crisis in Ukraine
Odessa Solidarity Campaign
(October 14, 2022) — The war in Ukraine is raging on with no end in sight. People are suffering, and fears are rising that the conflict could widen and even involve nuclear weapons. Many well-meaning people are calling for a ceasefire and negotiations.
We all want peace, but it does no good to promote solutions that don’t take into account what led up to the war in the first place:
- Back in 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the US government promised that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastward. But since then, all 14 new NATO members have been former Soviet states or allies. Sweden and Finland are expected to join soon. Both Georgia and Ukraine, which border Russia, have asked to join. That would complete the encirclement of Russia’s western flank. It would be as if Russia were building an anti-US military alliance of all South and Central American countries and was about to admit Mexico. Obviously, the US would see that as an existential threat.
- When Ukraine first became an independent state in 1991, Ukraine and Russia were at peace. But in 2014, the US backed a violent, right-wing coup that brought to power an anti-Russian government that openly embraced neo-Nazi, paramilitary militias hostile to Ukraine’s Russian minority.
- This new situation, which included the massacre on May 2, 2014, of at least 42 anti-coup protesters in Odessa by a fascist-led mob, was seen as gravely threatening by the heavily ethnic-Russian areas of eastern and southern Ukraine. The result was Crimea voting to rejoin Russia, which it had been part of until 1954, and Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbass region declaring themselves independent.
- Then Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk and Luhansk agreed to allow those two entities to become autonomous areas within a united Ukraine. But Ukraine never implemented the terms of those Minsk Agreements, and instead carried out a military campaign to retake the separatitst region, with the loss of some 15,000 lives.
- Meanwhile, since at least 2014, the US and other NATO countries have carried out regular, massive joint military exercises with Ukraine – land, sea and air – right up to Russia’s borders.
- In late 2021 and early 2022, President Putin of the Russian Federation offered to hold negotiations with the US and NATO to discuss Russia’s security concerns, but the offer was ignored. This was before Russia recognized the independent republics in the Donbass. Subsequent Russian offers to negotiate also were rejected.
- By February 2022, Ukraine was intensifying its war in the Donbass, leading Russia to intervene, with the stated purpose of defending the people of the Donbass and “demilitarizing” and “de-Nazifying” Ukraine. Whether people agree with that action or not, it was anything but “unprovoked.”
Since then, as of Sept. 18, the US Department of Defense admits to providing $16.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. Other estimates have it as high as $40 billion – not counting aid the US says is coming from 50 other allied countries – ensuring that the war will continue indefinitely. What began as a conflict between Russia and Ukraine has become a proxy war by the US and NATO against Russia, with Ukrainians as cannon fodder.
It isn’t necessary to endorse the Russian intervention in order to see that the real provocations for the war were the relentless eastward expansion of NATO; the US support for the right-wing, anti-Russian coup of 2014; and the continuing and expanding war by Ukraine to retake the Donbass.
This being the case, we call on all peace and antiwar activists around the world to demand:
- No to all US/NATO support for Ukraine!
- No to all US/NATO military actions in Ukraine!
- No to all US/NATO sanctions against Russia!
- No to NATO and all US wars and occupations everywhere in the world!
Leonid Ilderkin – Coordinating Council, Union of Political Emigrants & Political Prisoners of Ukraine, Russia
Bahman Azad – President, US Peace Council, USA
Matyas Benyik – President, ATTAC Hungary Association, Budapest, Hungary
Agneta Norberg – Former Chair, Swedish Peace Council; Women for Peace, Sweden
Heinrich Buecker – Coop Anti-War Cafe; Member, German Peace Council & World Beyond War, Berlin, Germany
John Steinbach – Coordinator, Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, USA
Leo Gabriel – Anthropologist, Journalist & Filmmaker, Austria
Sinia Benigassan – Bureau d’information Alba Granada North Africa, Tunis, Tunisia
Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, USA
Maren Cronsnest – Anti-Nato Gruppe Berlin, Germany
Ingrid Koschmieder – Freidenkermitglied, Berlin, Germany
Uta Mader – Freidenkermitglied, Bernau b. Berlin, Germany
Dr. Nancy Larenas Ojeda – Frente Unido América Latina, Berlin, Germany
Mauro Valderrama – PC Peru, Frente Unido America Latina, Berlin, Germany
Tobias Baumann – Translator & Historian, Berlin, Germany
Bärbel Brede – Artist, Teltow, Germany
Judy Bello – Rochester, NY, USA
Marie-Françoise Cordemans – Brussels, Belgium
Emma Lugo – Peace Activist. Oregon City, OR, USA
Polly Milner – Salisbury, U.K
Diane Nahas – Peace Activist, Village of Sands Point, NY, USA
Phil Runkel – Waukesha, WI, USA