US still backing Ukraine proxy war despite bloody cost

Even with the war in Ukraine stuck at a bloody impasse, the US and NATO are determined to keep the killing going to further their own interests in a proxy war with Russia.

Ukraine claimed its 2023 counter-offensive would seize back significant areas of the country and show that Russia could be defeated. The US and NATO poured in tens of billions of dollars worth of tanks, troop carriers and ammunition, and helped train tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.

Instead the counter-offensive has failed to retake significant territory, let alone reach the nominated goal of cutting off Russia’s land bridge to Crimea and reaching the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s military leadership vastly underestimated Russian defensive preparations. The latest reports indicate that even its few marginal successes such as recapturing Robotyne in the south, breaching Russian defensive lines, are being reversed.

Thousands of lives were spent assaulting fortified Russian positions with little to nothing to show for it. Those left on the ground holding and defending Ukrainian gains are in increasingly dire conditions.

Many argue the war is at a stalemate or deadlock, as Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny now says.

Much of the frontline consists of a trench system similar to those in the First World War. The onset of the muddy season means, “Ukrainian soldiers are also now dealing with mud and a rodent infestation that would also feel familiar to those who fought over a century ago,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

“They eat into beds, they eat clothes, and whatever they eat they damage, and whatever you do to cover yourself at night, they still get in,” one artillery commander said. The rodents are even devouring corpses left on the battlefield.

However a long war of attrition favours Russia, with its ruthless President Vladimir Putin able to draw a vastly greater population and economy and willing to throw away tens of thousands of lives.

Ukraine is totally reliant on NATO and US support to continue the war, increasingly hostage to decisions made in Washington.

The New York Times reported in December that the US is, “stepping up the face-to-face military advice it provides to Ukraine, dispatching a three-star general to Kyiv to spend considerable time on the ground.”

Ukraine is running short of artillery ammunition. Frontline units are having to ration shells, with one unit in eastern Ukraine telling the New York Times that, “during the offensive last summer, they had five times as much ammunition at their disposal”.

This is the result of a shortage of ammunition stockpiles in the US and Europe. Both are working to scale up production, but the European Union looks unlikely to meet its target of supplying one million shells in the year to March, with only one third of that amount delivered so far.

Russia is already outproducing the US and Europe, and has also sourced over a million shells from North Korea.

There are also increasing divisions in the US Congress over continuing to fund the war following Ukraine’s lack of success in the counter-offensive.

Far from opposition to the waste of lives and rising imperialist tensions caused by this proxy war, the Republicans are currently refusing to support more military aid unless US President Joe Biden agrees to stricter anti-immigration measures on the US border.

Set for war

Despite these woes, Zelensky and the Biden Administration are determined to maintain the conflict in Ukraine and have shown no interest in a negotiated peace.

The US’s belligerence has continued since even before the invasion.

In the run up to war it disregarded Russia’s insistence that Ukraine joining NATO was a red line.

This has been confirmed in a dramatic interview with David Arakhamia, the parliamentary leader of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, who led Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia shortly after its invasion.

In late November he confirmed that the two sides had been close to a peace deal where Ukraine accepted neutrality and dropped its effort to join NATO.

But then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Ukraine, encouraging the Ukrainians on behalf of the US and NATO to “make war”.

The US is perfectly willing for tens of thousands more Ukrainians to die simply to keep the war at a stalemate. Western imperialism hopes to grind down Russia’s economy and military strength by prolonging the war, and deal a blow to Russian power but also send a message to China.

This proxy war is not in the interests of either Ukrainian or Russian workers, who will also be sent to die in appalling numbers.

We need to demand an immediate end to the hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian military aid being sent by the Albanese government for the continuation of this bloody conflict—and an end to the senseless slaughter.

By Jack Stubley

Magazine

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