The war in Ukraine is continuing to head in an even more dangerous direction as the U.S. government and its junior partners set the stage for a long-term proxy war against Russia. U.S. Defense Secretary Llyod Austin convened a meeting with 40 countries – mostly NATO states and their close allies – at the U.S. Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany yesterday. Austin pledged to “keep moving Heaven and Earth” to pump an unending supply of weapons into the war zone.
Secretary Austin said in his opening remarks that Ukraine has reached a turning point militarily and is entering a new phase, “Ukraine clearly believes it can win … Ukraine needs our help to win today and they will still need our help when the war is over.” This clearly reveals the United States’ long-term project to continue militarizing the region and escalating tensions with Russia during this current conflict and beyond.
Additionally, Germany has given in to pressure from the United States and other hardline governments to take on an increased role in supplying arms to Ukraine. German defense minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed Berlin’s agreement on delivering anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine. “Ukraine orders and Germany pays,” she said in subservient fashion.
The United States announced that the countries participating in the meeting would form a “contact group” that will be meeting monthly to coordinate arms shipments and other military matters relating to Ukraine. The United States has supplied $3.4 billion in weapons to Ukraine since February, with the latest $800 million package announced by Joe Biden last week. But even still, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said after the talks ended “We need weapons. Modern weapons. A large number of modern heavy weapons.” The same day, apparent Ukrainian strikes caused a massive fire at an ammunition depot in the Russian province of Belgorod, another significant escalation of fighting.
This meeting exposes the reality that the war in Ukraine is the United States and NATO’s proxy war with Russia. This meeting made it clear that the United States and NATO do not care one bit about the suffering of Ukrainians – they want the killing and the dying to go on as long as possible in order to “weaken” Russia, as Austin explicitly put it. And people around the world are shouldering the economic cost of the war through rising prices, inflation, food shortages, and more.
Just a few months ago, Ramstein Air Base was struggling with an influx of Afghan refugees after the United States’ utter defeat in the country. It is shameful that this is the location from which the Pentagon is driving another war taking a huge toll on human life and creating millions of refugees.
Russia responds to stepped up intervention
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview, “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.” He also remarked that weapons shipments from NATO countries to Ukraine, “will be a legitimate target for Russia’s military.”
Illustrating the extreme danger of the brinkmanship being pursued by the United States, Lavrov commented on the threat of a nuclear war breaking out, saying, “The danger is serious, real. It cannot be underestimated.” He argued that the current situation is even more dangerous than the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, widely regarded as the closest humanity has ever come to nuclear war. “In those years, there was a channel of communication that both leaders trusted.” Lavrov said, “Now there is no such channel. Nobody is trying to create it.”
The day after Lavrov’s comments, Russia announced that it would be ending gas payments to Poland and Bulgaria, two countries that rely heavily on Russian gas imports but are also heavily involved in the execution of the proxy war. The two had refused Russia’s condition that payments for gas shipments be made in the Russian currency instead of in U.S. dollars.
Instead of pushing for a peaceful deescalation, the United States, NATO and Ukraine want to prolong the war in an attempt to weaken Russia regardless of the mounting human toll. But the working class in the United States does not have the same interests as the government that speaks in our name. No more money should be wasted on weapons of war that sabotage hopes for peace in the region.