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Some Facts on the Ukraine war

The following article was originally published by Irish Foreign Affairs under the title “Some facts on Ukraine you possibly do not know” and is reproduced with thanks to the author and editors. You can read and subscribe to this informative magazine using the links.

by Anthony Coughlan

SIX TIMES IN THE PAST 200 YEARS THE WEST HAS ATTACKED OR INVADED RUSSIA. Four times since 1900 alone. In none of the accompanying wars did Russia initiate the aggression.  “The West” includes Japan of course, although it is situated in the Far East.  In 1812 Napoleonic France invaded Russia. In 1854 Britain and France invaded Crimea in the Crimean War of that year. In 1905 Japan, supported politically by Britain, defeated Russia and sank most of its navy in the Russo-Japanese war of that year. In 1914 Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm invaded Russia in World War 1. In 1918-20 Britain, France, Poland and Japan sent expeditionary forces to Russia to try to overthrow the Bolsheviks in the civil war then being waged there. In 1941 Hitler’s Germany invaded the USSR in World War 2 and caused 20 million Soviet deaths.

THE LEGAL BOUNDARIES OF THE UKRAINIAN STATE WERE ESTABLISHED BY THE USSR, THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, a State that was divided into 15 successor States when it dissolved in 1991. No change was made in the boundaries of the 15 former Soviet Republics when these became international State frontiers virtually overnight in December that year. The previous March a referendum conducted by Mikhail Gorbachev showed that a big majority in all 15 Soviet Republics wanted the USSR to continue in being. Crimea, which had been part of Russia since the 18th century and whose people were overwhelmingly Russian-speaking, had been put into Soviet Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, who was himself Ukrainian, in 1954 to increase its Russian-speaking population. This mattered little when they were all Soviet citizens. But in 1991 people who had been Soviet citizens for over 70 years were told that henceforth they must be loyal citizens of Ukraine, Estonia, Georgia and the dozen other USSR successor States. One third of Ukrainian citizens spoke Russian as their native language. The new Ukrainian State was divided internally between the nationalist, Catholic, Ukrainian-speaking West Ukrainians and the Orthodox, Russian-speaking Easterners.  Clearly Ukraine could only hold together within its Soviet-based internationally recognised State frontiers by acting as a bridge between West and East – not wholly aligned with one side or the other. But that was not to be because of the interference of the USA and the EU.

NATO EXISTS TO KEEP RUSSIA OUT, AMERICA IN AND GERMANY DOWN. The truth of this old witticism is underlined by the Ukraine crisis.  America set up NATO in 1949 to oppose the USSR at the start of the Cold War. The USSR’s Warsaw Pact was set up in 1955, six years later, following West Germany’s accession to NATO. The dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact in 1991, when  Gorbachev proposed a “Common European House”, made NATO obsolete. But like all bureaucracies the giant military bureaucracy that ran NATO desired to continue in being. The generals and colonels needed new enemies to justify their existence. The American military-industrial complex, which US Republican President Eisenhower warned the world against in 1961, requires continual wars and war tensions to keep the arms orders flowing in – and the accompanying profits. NATO has now become the instrument of those in America who aspire to military, political and economic dominance of the globe. They need Russia as an enemy in order to “save Europe”, which is another way of saying, in order to continue to dominate Europe. They want a unipolar, not a multipolar, world.  The USA and NATO maintain some 750 military bases in  80 countries today – in  two-fifths of the world’s near 200 States. Since 1990 NATO has bombed Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. It has launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, resulting in close to a million deaths and some  40 million people driven from their homes.

When East and West Germany were reunited in 1991 the USA gave Gorbachev oral promises that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe. Since then 14 Central and East European countries have joined the alliance.  One can imagine how America would react if Canada or Mexico joined a Russian-led alliance and the Russians proposed to put Russian bases in Canada or Mexico!  The 1962 Cuban missile crisis showed that. Yet Russia is expected to welcome all her neighbours joining NATO and having US weaponry on their soil. By launching a new Cold War with China and Russia, the USA prevents Germany and the EU developing peaceful trade relations across the Eurasian landmass, with America on the outside looking in. A new Cold War will keep the USA in Europe indefinitely and dominant over the Europeans. That is what the Ukraine crisis is fundamentally about.  It is why the America deliberately instigated this crisis.

Instead of fostering a world based on diplomacy, respect for spheres of influence and mutual cooperation, the USA and NATO have evolved into a global war machine which is now fighting a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. By doing this they hold before mankind the prospect of a world wracked  by superpower conflict for decades to come, with serious dangers of a real World War.

VLADIMIR PUTIN’S WAR AIMS ARE TO PREVENT A UNITED UKRAINIAN STATE JOINING NATO AND TO SAFEGUARD THE RIGHTS OF THE RUSSIAN-SPEAKING EAST UKRAINIANS. It is absurd to suggest that Putin wants to take over the whole of Ukraine or revive the USSR.  One does not do that with an initial attack force of 150,000 men! When Vladimir Putin was first elected Russian President, he indicated that Russia would like to join NATO and the EU, but he was rebuffed. He cooperated with America for years in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hoping that the West would treat Russia as a friend rather than an enemy. At that time the West looked positively on Putin. But he discovered the hard way that the military-industrial complex which fundamentally decides USA and NATO foreign policy, needs Russia and China as enemies.

In 2008 America under President George W. Bush said that Ukraine and Georgia would be welcome to join NATO. This understandably crossed a red line for Russia. In 2014 the USA, supported by the EU and with the help of Nazi-oriented local elements, organised the Maidan coup in Kyiv that overthrew the lawfully elected Russian-oriented Ukrainian Government and put in its place an ultra-Nationalist regime dominated by West Ukrainians who were oriented to joining NATO and the EU. This passed laws discriminating against Russian-language speakers in Ukraine, banned their political parties and launched military assaults on the Russian-speaking Donbas area in which some 14,000 people died between 2014 and 2022 and some 1.5 million people were displaced. This conflict went virtually ignored in the West, while in those years the USA and NATO built up the Ukrainian army to regain the Donbas region and maybe even Crimea. The new regime in Kyiv put the aim of joining NATO into Ukraine’s Constitution. In 2019 Volodymyr Zelensky became Ukraine President on a programme of repairing relations with its Russian-speaking Donbas citizens, but both the Americans and the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists around him made clear they did not want that. Zelensky then gave in to them and in effect became their puppet.

In the first weeks of February 2022 Ukrainian bombardment of the Donbas area increased dramatically, as confirmed by the OSCE observer mission on the spot, although that report was scarcely mentioned in the West. This had dire effects on the Donbas Russian-speakers, who were legally all still Ukrainian citizens. It was a provocation aimed at goading Russia into war. At the same time at the 2022 Munich Security Conference Zelensky called on the West to abandon its policy of what he called “appeasement” of Russia  and reiterated Ukraine’s  NATO aspirations. On 24 February Putin sent his troops into Ukraine, quoting Article 51 of the UN Charter as justification.  While the UN Charter prohibits unilateral acts of war, it also provides, in Article 51, that “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence…” This right of self-defence and the associated principle of  the right to protect civilian non-combatants, has been interpreted as permitting countries to respond, not only to actual armed attacks, but also to the threat of imminent attack. It has been used by the USA to excuse several of its own foreign military incursions.  Putin held that international law was on his side.

IN THE LIGHT OF THESE FACTS IT IS HARD TO DENY THAT PUTIN’S INCURSION INTO UKRAINE WAS UNDERSTANDABLE AND JUSTIFIABLE; WHETHER IT WAS WISE, NOW THAT IT HAS LED TO A PROXY WAR BETWEEN THE US/NATO AND RUSSIA AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UKRAINIANS,  ONLY THE OUTCOME OF THE WAR ITSELF WILL TELL. 

ARTICLE 29 OF THE IRISH CONSTITUTION PROVIDES THAT “IRELAND AFFIRMS ITS ADHERENCE TO THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL DISPUTES.”  Yet we are currently assisting Ukraine militarily while imposing economic sanctions on Russia.  That is what EU policy demands of us as it subordinates Europe’s interest to America’s in the latter’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. The triple lock mechanism that is required to make Irish foreign military involvements lawful, requires that these shall take place only if authorised by a United Nations resolution. Yet no such resolution exists in this case.

Irish politicians and journalists of integrity will base their views on Ukraine on the above facts rather than on the melange of US/EU propaganda, fake news and one-sided reporting that has characterised  most coverage of this crisis over the past year.

The progressive policy for Ireland would be for the Government to call for an immediate armistice in Ukraine to permit negotiations between the two sides, to cease Ireland’s military involvement and withdraw from EU economic sanctions and to stop playing pathetic word-games about being “militarily but not politically neutral”.

Ireland should join the Non-Aligned Movement, which is a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations the Non-Aligned Movement is the largest grouping of States worldwide. It holds periodic meetings to coordinate its policies.

As Pat Walsh wrote in last December’s “Irish Political Review” : “Most of Europe is composed of former imperial powers, with residual interests in their former colonies. Ireland does not have these, having been anti-colonial and an inspiration to anti-colonial peoples in the past. It is different and unique in Europe in this respect. Membership of the Non-Aligned Movement would be a big and ambitious statement in the world by Ireland. We would be the first Western Europeans to join the non-aligned nations. We would be the inspiration to the World that we formerly were when peoples fought for their independence and looked on us as an example. That would be to give Irish neutrality the substance that it lacks today.”

2 thoughts on “Some Facts on the Ukraine war

  1. I find it very difficult to relay the real politics and history of Ukraine and Russia to most people in Britain. They simply do not want to know anything beyond the propaganda that the state has pumped into us. But it is important to keep challenging the false narrative.

  2. The iron curtain was created by the West ( imperialists of this compass point and also the major one) to keep the split up of European peoples of it’s continent which Hitler started. Russia wanted some European unity but when met with Triueman s doctrine Containing Communism” had to out Trueman Trueman and go for Viz wheelerdealering Roumania and Greece re who s sphere of influence with Truman’s subaltern Churchill. .In a word , if Russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine the new iron curtain of say visa card applicability – would be Ukraine’s northern border , not Poland’s with Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation.

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