U.S. Neocon Rushes to Ukraine to Manage Crises

NATO planning how to move weapons quickly through Europe to fight Russia
NATO planning how to move weapons quickly through Europe to fight Russia.

By David Sole

On January 31 Victoria Nuland, Acting Deputy Secretary of State, rushed to Kiev to meet with top political and military Ukrainian officials. Amid worsening battlefront news and reports that Ukraine President Zelensky was going to dismiss his top military commander, Nuland stepped in to try to manage the situation. Nuland herself was a key player in engineering the 2014 right-wing coup d’etat in Ukraine that began the drive to the proxy war against the Russian Federation.

Of course western media made no big deal of this news. But it must reflect a growing fear in Washington and its NATO allies that their puppets cannot continue much longer. Respected news outlets like CNN and the Washington Post gave details about meetings in Kiev where President Zelensky announced he was firing General Zaluzhny.

The utter failure of Ukraine’s much touted Spring offensive, with the accompanying loss of tens of thousands of soldiers’ lives and destruction of huge amounts of US/NATO supplied heavy weapons, was a situation that demanded a scapegoat.

As of this writing, however, Zaluzhny remains in command. But the military situation across hundreds of miles of front lines worsens for Ukraine every day. Depleted of fresh troops and running low on weapons and ammunition, Russian forces are pressing hard. The heavily fortified city of Adveyevka, held by Kiev’s troops since 2014, is in the process of being surrounded. Russian troops have entered the southern section of that city and are reported to also have penetrated into the northwest area.

Gen. Zaluzhny was criticized last fall by Zelensky for publicly stating that the war was at a “stalemate” after the end of the “Spring offensive.” The truth is that the situation is not at a stalemate at all. Russia, with superior numbers and a huge advantage in heavy weaponry, air power and ammunition, is pressing Ukraine’s defenses in the southern and northeastern areas as well.

The Ukrainian leaders are also unable, so far, to agree on a massive conscription campaign to raise another 500,000 troops, fearing it will bring on social unrest. Western weapons supplies have been slowing down, leaving the troops in the field unable to fight effectively. Even if fresh troops are inducted it would take months to train them properly. And even if more western heavy weapons were available, delivery and training would also take many months.

The situation, therefore, is becoming untenable for the Ukrainians. With the failure of their major offensive that ran from June through September 2023, strategists announced Ukraine would dig in for defensive warfare. But without needed troops and weaponry, Ukrainian defenses are crumbling. The prospect staring Ukrainian leaders and their U.S./NATO masters in the face is: what will happen if, or perhaps when, the Russian Federation launches a major offensive in one or more points in the front?

Nuland’s trip to Ukraine also underscores the danger of U.S./NATO escalation in the conflict. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 16, “acknowledge[ed] that the battlefield situation is “extremely difficult”, with the Russians “now pushing on many frontlines.”

President Biden, along with his neo-conservative State Department officials like Nuland, shows no signs of supporting any negotiations with Russia to end this proxy war. Escalation is a very possible option. It should be noted with alarm that several countries in Europe have agreed to establish a “corridor for rushing NATO troops eastward.”

Defense News reported on January 31 that “Germany, the Netherlands and Poland plan to develop a military corridor that would make it easier to move troops and equipment between Europe’s North Sea ports and NATO’s eastern flank, at a time of growing hostility with Russia.” This involves “plans to tackle infrastructure choke points, such as low bridges, and slash bureaucracy around permits for cross-border transport of ammunition and other dangerous goods…” and will “study how military rail transports can be prioritized over routine civilian traffic.”

NATO has also been carrying out the largest “war games” in Europe since the end of the Cold War. Defense News reports that it involves 90,000 troops from all the NATO allies plus Sweden and clearly aims “to show our adversaries, especially the Russian Federation, that we are ready for this.”

Anti-war forces have been divided in the U.S. and other countries, with some supporting the U.S./NATO imperialism’s Ukraine adventure. It is urgent that poor and working people unite to oppose this proxy war.

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