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RUSSIA-UKRAINE UPDATE: “Lasting quagmire, in whose interest?”
In This Dossier:
• UKRAINE: Who has an interest in “a violent quagmire that lasts for months”?
• 2023 U.S. military budget proposal: more than $2 billion a day
• RUSSIA: “There is no difference between a Ukrainian, Muscovite and New York oligarch!” (oligarch Oleg Deripaska)
• Weapons “Made in France” sold to Putin and used in Ukraine
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UKRAINE: Who has an interest in “a violent quagmire that lasts for months”?
In Ukraine, it’s a war with its procession of massacres and horror. In Bucha, a mass grave of 400 corpses, including many civilians, was discovered after the departure of Russian troops. The Ukrainian government accuses the Russian government of “war crimes,” while Russia denies this and speaks of “provocation.”
One thing is certain: Hundreds were massacred, adding to the heavy toll of destruction. There is only one way to put an end to this barbarism: an immediate and unconditional ceasefire!
With its army unable to take Kiev, Kharkiv and Mariupol – and the inability to control the occupied cities due to the resistance of the Ukrainian people – Putin’s regime has announced its “withdrawal” to eastern Ukraine. For his part, the Ukrainian president has almost officially announced that he will not join NATO.
But negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian governments in Turkey are stalling. Each step toward an agreement is reduced to nothing a few hours later.
On April 1, an attack on an oil depot in Belgorod, Russia, a few kilometers from the Ukrainian border, blocked any agreement. The next day, however, the Ukrainian negotiator announced that Russia “has given an official answer to all (Ukrainian) positions, namely that it accepts them, except for Crimea” (annexed by Putin in 2014). But again, the announcement of the discovery of the mass grave in Bucha has closed the door to an agreement.
The pro-imperialist U.S. media outlet Politico (April 4) notes that “more than a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, the White House is bracing for the possibility of a violent quagmire that would last for months or longer.”
U.S. leaders, according to Politico, have not chosen the option of “regime change” in Russia and intend to accommodate Putin: “The best solution, they [the White House] say, would be this: weaken Russia’s power by isolating it diplomatically, crushing its economy and demonstrating the weakness of its military. In the space of just one month, what was once seen as Moscow’s mighty war machine has been humiliated, while Putin’s aggression has strengthened the previously embattled NATO.”
Politico quotes Oleksandr Danylyuk, Ukraine’s former top national security official, who “suspects that the West’s strategy is mainly to bog Russia down inside Ukraine, not to help it defeat Moscow.” For U.S. imperialism, then, a long-term war in Europe is the scenario that best serves its interests.
The “best-case scenario”, but not without concern for imperialism: “A prolonged conflict would increase the likelihood of fuel shortages, which, according to top European leaders, could plunge the continent into recession. Global food shortages are also possible.”
And among the concerns of the U.S. capitalist class, expressed by Politico, is a revolt in Russia [read below] and also the class struggle in the United States: “U.S. officials fear that support for the war [i.e., support for Biden’s U.S. policies – ed. Note] will erode over time, especially if fuel prices remain high as we head into the midterm elections.” — D.F.
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2023 U.S. military budget proposal: more than $2 billion a day
On March 28, Joe Biden outlined his proposed 2023 budget proposal. Recalling “I’m a capitalist” to whom it may have escaped, he called for a “bipartisan unity program”, i.e., a union between the Democrats, of which he is a member, and the Republicans, the other major party of the capitalist class, in the common interest of the bourgeoisie of the United States.
While he has put forward certain guidelines for limiting public deficits, which he has attributed to his predecessor, Trump, Biden has ruled out that these cuts in public spending will affect the security budget, and in particular the military budget. On the contrary, Biden announced that the military budget would be up by more than 4 per cent from the 2022 defense budget, which was the highest in U.S. history. In 2023, if passed, the military budget would amount to $813 billion, more than $2 billion a day.
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RUSSIA: “There is no difference between a Ukrainian, Muscovite and New York oligarch!” (oligarch Oleg Deripaska)
What is the reason for the Kremlin’s about-face, announcing at the end of March that the Russian army is giving up on taking Kiev and Chernigiv and is repositioning itself in the Donbass, in eastern Ukraine?
According to the opposition media outlet Meduza, citing sources in the presidential administration, “the Russian military and Putin himself thought that the ‘special operation’ would go fairly smoothly and did not expect such resistance from the Ukrainians.” At the end of February, the same sources thought that the main problem for the Russian army would be, not to take the major cities, but to find volunteers there to form “new administrations. “In addition, these sources say that in late March, government officials showed Putin documents on the state of the Russian economy. According to the documents: the country will no longer be able to function normally with such sanctions.”
So, according to Meduza, Putin is torn between “the war party,” which advocates total war (Chechen leader Kadyrov and the Duma chairman Voloshin) and those, including some oligarchs, who advocate a return to calm to protect their businesses. Among them, the aluminum oligarch Deripaska, who issued new statements: “To our great regret, … peace will unfortunately not come in the next few months.” And the oligarch let out this cry: “When will everyone finally understand that there is no difference between a Ukrainian, a Muscovite and a New York oligarch!” (April 2).
If “at the top” the Kremlin has to deal with this gnashing of teeth, it must also take into account what is happening “below.” As the new conscripts were called up for military service on April 1, incidents in the army increased. Thus, almost all the soldiers of a battalion from South Ossetia refused to take part in the war in Ukraine.
This information was confirmed by the former president of this pro-Russian republic, Eduard Kokoity, who urged the soldiers’ parents to “refrain from any protest action.” In the Ostankino district (north of Moscow), three elected members of the city council launched a petition against the participation of conscript soldiers in military actions in Ukraine: “Today a fratricidal war is taking place in Ukraine in which the armed forces of our country are involved. We do not condemn any initiative to prevent our children from participating in these immoral actions”.
The Movement of Conscientious Objectors and the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers are circulating an appeal to conscripts: “Everyone knows that conscripts have been sent to Ukraine, some of them have been forced to sign a contract. … Do not trust any statement of the authorities! If you do not want to die on someone else’s land or take someone else’s life, contact us…” – Report from our correspondents
 Separatist republic linked to Russia on Georgian territory.
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Weapons “Made in France” sold to Putin and used in Ukraine
Between 2015 and 2020, at least 10 European Union member states sold 346 million euros worth of weapons to Russia, bypassing the European embargo that prohibited it, revealed Investigate Europe (March 17, 2022). These are the same governments that today call for more “sanctions” against Russia.
According to Investigate Europe, some of these weapons may be currently used in Ukraine. France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Finland, Slovakia and Spain have sold missiles, bombs, torpedoes, cannons and land vehicles and ships to Russia. The French government is responsible for the lion’s share with 152 million euros worth of military equipment, weapons and means to suppress demonstrations sold to Russia, according to Disclose.
It is not only in Yemen that military technology “made in France” is used to kill people: the Ukrainian people also receive bombs “Made in France”.
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