The truth about the war in Ukraine – straight from the horse’s mouth

Retired German general lays out a few key facts for the hard of learning.

Proletarian writers

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German chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Russian president Vladimir Putin signed the Minsk accords aimed at bringing an end to war in Ukraine back in 2015. Now Merkel and Poroshenko have both openly stated that they only ever meant to ‘buy time’ for Ukraine to militarise. Despite the fact that so many imperialist lies concerning the proxy war against Russia have been exposed, politicians and media continue to try to palm us off with a narrative that doesn’t stand even the most casual scrutiny. And the shameful fact is that most of the self-identifying ‘left’ and ‘antiwar’ forces in Britain and other imperialist countries continue to parrot from the same discredited script.

If you want to know what is really going on in Ukraine, don’t bother asking Stop the War, the Trotskyites, the revisionist left or any other ‘politically correct’ denizens of the Guardian-reading swamp. All they can do is trot out the same slavish nonsense: “Putin is a dictator, Russia is imperialist, support neither Washington nor Moscow, pray for peace.”

No, if you want to know what is going on, straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, then listen to the testimony of a witness with impeccable imperialist credentials. Before he retired, General Harald Kujat was head of the German army from 2000 to 2002, going on later to chair the Nato military committee. No peacenik he. But here is some of what he told a Swiss newspaper on 18 January. 

How Boris Johnson sabotaged the Istanbul peace agreement in April

“The longer the war lasts, the more difficult it becomes to achieve a negotiated peace … That is why I found it so regrettable that negotiations in Istanbul in March were broken off despite great progress and a thoroughly positive outcome for Ukraine.

“In the Istanbul negotiations, Russia had apparently agreed to withdraw its forces to the line of 23 February, ie, before the attack on Ukraine began. Now complete withdrawal is repeatedly demanded as a prerequisite for negotiations …

“Ukraine had pledged to renounce Nato membership and not allow the stationing of any foreign troops or military installations. In return it would receive security guarantees from any states of its choice.

“The future of the occupied territories was to be resolved diplomatically within 15 years, with the explicit renunciation of military force …

“According to reliable information, then British prime minister Boris Johnson intervened in Kiev on 9 April and prevented a signing. His reasoning was that the west was not ready for an end to the war …

“It is outrageous that the gullible citizen has no idea about what was being played here. The negotiations in Istanbul were well-known publicly, and that an agreement was on the verge of being signed; but from one day to the next, not another word was heard about it.”

How Russia is responding to Nato expansionism

“No, this war is not about our freedom. The core problems causing the war to begin and still to continue today, although it could have ended long ago, are quite different …

“Russia wants to prevent its geopolitical rival, the USA, from gaining a strategic superiority that threatens Russia’s security. Be it through Ukraine’s membership in US-led Nato, be it through the stationing of American troops, the relocation of military infrastructure or joint Nato manoeuvres.

“The deployment of American systems of Nato’s ballistic missile defence system in Poland and Romania is also a thorn in Russia’s side, because Russia is convinced that the USA could eliminate Russian intercontinental strategic systems from these launch facilities and thus endanger the nuclear strategic balance.”

How new arms shipments needlessly prolong and broaden the war

“The longer the war lasts, the greater the risk of expansion or escalation … Both warring parties are currently in a stalemate again [Really? – Ed] … So now would be the right time to resume the broken negotiations.

“But the arms shipments mean the opposite: namely, that the war is senselessly prolonged, with even more deaths on both sides and the continuation of the destruction of the country. But also with the consequence that we are drawn even deeper into this war.

“Even the Nato secretary general recently warned against an escalation of the fighting into a war between Nato and Russia. And according to US joint chief of staff General Mark Milley, Ukraine has achieved whatever it could militarily. More is not possible.

“That is why diplomatic efforts should be made now to achieve a negotiated peace. I share this view.”

Imperialist deceit over Minsk 2 agreement

“What Mrs Merkel said in an interview is clear. The Minsk 2 agreement was negotiated only to buy time for Ukraine. And Ukraine used the time to rearm militarily …

“Russia understandably calls this fraud. And Merkel has confirmed that Russia was deliberately deceived. You can judge that any way you like, but it is a blatant breach of trust and a question of political reliability.

“It cannot be disputed that the refusal of the Ukrainian government – aware of this intended deception – to implement the peace agreement, just a few days before the start of the war, was one of the triggers for the war.

“It was … a breach of international law, that is clear. The damage is immense. You have to imagine the situation today. The people who wanted to wage war from the beginning, and still want to do so, have taken the view that ‘You cannot negotiate with Putin. No matter what, he does not comply with agreements.’

“But now it turns out that we are the ones who do not comply with international agreements …

“As far as I know, the Russians are keeping to their treaties … I have had many negotiations with Russia … They are tough negotiating partners, but if you come to a common position, then that stands and applies.” (Animal crackers: Berlin Bulletin 207 by Victor Grossman, Monthly Review, 5 February 2023)

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