The Ukrainian resistance – its armed forces and territorial defenses, the latter concealed by the bourgeois press – achieved what seemed impossible: to force the Russian troops to retreat from the capital Kyiv and Kharkiv, the second-largest city of the country, and to concentrate in the Southeast. To win the war, the Ukrainians need heavy weapons to expel the Russian troops from Donbas, but neither the United States nor Germany nor France are sending these weapons because they want neither a military defeat of Putin nor the sovereignty of Ukraine.

By: João Ricardo Soares

As we write this article, a tough battle is being fought in the Donbas for every inch of land: Severodonetsk may become Mariupol. Despite the Ukrainian forces’ lack of offensive weapons, Putin’s troops are meeting stiff resistance. However, when the fate of the war seemed to be concentrated exclusively in the Donbas, Russian missiles once again terrorize the population of the two main cities of the country (Kyiv and Kharkiv); moreover, Putin places medium-range surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery systems in Belarus, along the Ukrainian border [1]. Putin’s “message” seems obvious to us: while the US, Germany, and France refuse to provide Ukraine with the offensive weapons that would allow them to fight in the Donbas with any chance, Putin continues with the destruction of the country and the genocide started in February.

Many wonder what would be the reasons for the current impasse and the refusal of the United States to send weapons for the offensive, after a hundred days of war, of all the setbacks suffered by the invaders, of the unequivocal demonstration of rejection of the Ukrainian people demonstrated by their participation in the war.

Perhaps the Ukrainian sergeant Vladislav Goncharenko explains it better than the analysts of the bourgeois press. The sergeant says that in order to advance it is necessary to overcome the Russian artillery, and without the necessary weapons “I, as a rifleman, cannot fight.”

While Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz continue with their media show, announcing the dispatch of offensive weapons that do not arrive, and Zelensky reinforces the battlefront with territorial defenses to be shot down by Russian artillery, the reporters of the German magazine Der Spiegel [2] develop the novel: Scholz and his government are clearly buying time. Initially, they did not believe that the Ukrainians had a chance against Russia and sent… 5,000 helmets. However, the irony of history is worth noting: without the Soviet armament the Vietnamese fighters would hardly have put an end to the American army, but now, with the aggression of the Russian capitalist state in Ukraine, and despite all the announcements and the increase of military budgets in the United States and the European Union, the Ukrainian fighters still lack the material conditions to fight.

While Putin, entrenched in the Donbas, must maintain the mobilization of an army without morale and worn out, German military intelligence throws into Scholz’s oblivion (sic.) that although the Russians are moving much more slowly than at the beginning of the war, they can conquer small pieces of territory every day… At this rate, they can bring the whole Donbas under their control until August. While the shipment of weapons is announced by the press, and the armed forces of Europe clean the garbage from their stocks by sending it to Ukraine, the times of war take their toll. It is not the same for Sergeant Goncharenko to have them now or, at best, sometime in August, if they were to be sent.

An “honorable” exit for Putin?

While the heads of the imperialist states affirm that the Ukrainian resistance “has already gone too far” because inflation is still on its heels, French President Macron and former US Secretary of State Kissinger are trying to find an “honorable way out” for the genocidal Putin. Kissinger cries to the four winds, in Davos: “Russia’s help is essential to balance the power structure at crucial moments.” For the barons of imperialism “saving the honor” of the new “knight in shining armor” means preserving Putin’s role as an auxiliary force of imperialist counterrevolution.

The meaning of “crucial moments” should be read as follows: the services rendered by Putin in his support to Assad and the destruction of the insurrection in Syria, Putin’s recent intervention in Kazakhstan, and the sustaining of Lukashenko’s dictatorship in Belarus must be preserved; that implies recognizing that in the countries bordering Russia the stick is Putin’s, in the end, he already has it and uses it, let us make the praxis protests, but let us not touch our “bad boy.”

Thus, in order to preserve this counter-revolutionary front, they show that at no time were they ready to defend neither the sovereignty nor the territorial integrity of Ukraine. They only use it to strategically weaken Putin, but not to the point of destroying him and destabilizing the autocratic Russian regime.

“It is possible to drive the Russians out of the city of Severodonetsk.”

This is what the governor of the Luhansk Oblast, Lysychansk, affirms, while he testifies to the tragedy of the population, which is losing its homes and is confined to concentration camps. With one hand and Putin’s artillery, American and European imperialism redraw the map of Ukraine, and, with the other hand, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in Davos, announces an ambitious plan for the colonization of post-war Ukraine: “ambitious reforms, such as the modernization of the administration, the firm establishment of the rule of law and… the fight against corruption and the oligarchs.”

The Russian bourgeoisie participates in the feast of profits generated by the export of fossil fuel by the state-owned Gazprom, not only in the exploitation but in innumerable subsidiary companies requiring less capital, in charge of the distribution for residence and companies, designated by the national states, for the transit of fuels. In addition to the repression of the mass movement, the stability of Putin’s regime also rests on the favoring of Russian capitals which depend on submissive regimes, so Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, in addition to weakening it, opens the way for the European onslaught [3].

But, while Putin’s war raises energy prices, this rise finances the war itself, and as if that were not enough, Russia even increased its exports to Europe, according to Argus Media by 14% between January and April [4], doubling export revenues by almost 62 billion euros [5]. Meanwhile, European imperialism claims to send Ukraine at most 2 billion between “military and social aid” [6]. Putin is probably relying on the rising production costs of the German monopolies and the increased production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the United States to occupy the European market, which is unacceptable for Germany, as it would leave it energetically subordinated to the United States.

That is why the embargo on Russian oil and gas was limited to the maritime and easy substitution route, but the German production machine (and its satellites: Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary) receives the fuel in its entirety through pipelines, such as the Druzhba pipeline. It cannot take any effective measure on the import of Russian fuels without affecting the profit of its monopolies; thus, the effect of the embargo as the arms shipment is purely mediatic, to “unite the nation” and to extinguish the interests of the European proletariat in this war of aggression. They also count on the complicity of the trade union bureaucracy and of the European “left”, which are unwilling to mobilize the workers for an action independent of their governments. However, the real effect of the embargo is speculative inflation and an increase in demand for Russian oil by more than 100,000 barrels a day.

Zelensky’s limits in conducting the war for Ukrainian sovereignty

In a strike, class interests are apparently clearer, but in a war, they are disturbed by the bourgeoisie and its agents within the mass movement. Trotsky explains: “if it is true that war is the continuation of politics only by other means… an army is the continuation and culmination of the State and of social organization… only with the bayonet in front.” Thus, the methods and measures necessary to win are related to the “structure of society as a whole and, first of all, to the character of its ruling class” [7] (emphasis added).

Zelensky, in expressing the subordinate character of the ruling class, will he take the political-military measures demanded? So far, everything indicates the contrary.

In the blockades of the ports, he uses the Turkish Erdogan to broker an agreement with Putin, prioritizing the export of the harvest and not the supply of the population, he sows hunger in the winter or more debts; he carries out a second labor reform in the middle of the war, authorizing the enterprises not to pay wages to the fighters, and leaving their families in misery and degradation; he did not take any measures against the Russian economic interests in Ukraine.

Without the development of its political independence, the Ukrainian proletariat will be at the mercy of the ties that bind the semi-colonial bourgeoisies to their oppressors, who dismantle the rearguard while demoralizing the front and withdrawing the means to fight.

Without the necessary budget for the war in the Southeast and without any other factor to offset the balance of forces, Zelensky is in the hands of imperialism and of the “agreement” for an “honorable” exit by helping Putin’s strategic defeat to avoid the crisis of Russian domination in his environment and in his own regime.

Never, then, was it so necessary: Weapons for Ukraine!

Notes:

[1] https://kyivindependent.com/news-archive/

[2] https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/olaf-scholz-and-ukraine-why-has-germany-been-so-slow-to-deliver-weapons-a-7cc8397b-2448-49e6-afa5-00311c8fedce

[3] The participation of autonomous companies (whether private, mixed or state-owned), whose cross-ownership between Russian and local shareholders in the distribution of Ukrainian gas, integrates the Ukrainian economic and political fabric, whose plunder of the State and banditry follow the same steps of the formation of the European bourgeoisie, illustrated in the trajectory of the “oligarch” Yulia Tymoshenko. In 2001, after being imprisoned in Russia for financial fraud, she returned to Ukraine and led the opposition to President Leonid Kuchma, then became Prime Minister. After cuts in Gazprom’s supply, claiming debts, theft in the measurement of the shipment by Ukraine, Putin, in 2009, convened the “Gas Conference” in Moscow, between Russia, Ukraine and the EU, without agreement between the parties. But the crisis is closed with a bilateral agreement, for Russian benefit, between Putin and Tymoshenko, who ends her mandate with one of the largest fortunes in the country and is sentenced (in 2011) to seven years in prison and the payment of 188 million dollars. In the same period, a Russian-owned company obtains the gas distribution monopoly for companies, and prices fall after Yanukovich’s election.

[4] https://veja.abril.com.br/economia/como-a-russia-aumentou-exportacao-de-petroleo-a-europa-em-plena-guerra/

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/27/russia-doubles-fossil-fuel-revenues-since-invasion-of-ukraine-began

[6] https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/stronger-europe-world/eu-solidarity-ukraine/eu-assistance-ukraine_en

[7] Military doctrine or pseudo-military doctrine? How the Revolution Armed, Vol. 5, 1921-1923, New Park Publications, London, 1981, p. 312.