Monday, June 10, 2024

Ukraine: NATO in deep crisis as the dangers to Zelensky grow

IUAFS solidarity with Donbas
 by Theo Russell

The current direction of the war in Ukraine has created an acute crisis in Western capitals, above all in Washington, and the position of Vladimir Zelensky, the president elected on a promise to end the war in Eastern Ukraine, now hangs by a thread.
We must make clear here that this is not a war between Ukraine and Russia; this is a war forced on Russia by the NATO alliance. Ukraine is merely a proxy for NATO and is paying a horrific price for this war.
The weaknesses of the once mighty NATO alliance have been exposed: after decades of relocating factories to developing countries they have now discovered that they are no longer able to produce sufficient weapons for a major sustained war.
In contrast Russia, which Western experts love to claim has a GDP the size of Italy, has proved to be a manufacturing superpower with a highly skilled workforce and mighty technological and scientific resources.
Russia has not only increased arms production, from bullets to hypersonic missiles, by several times, but has developed and improved those weapons during the fighting in Ukraine, while maintaining growth at 3.2 per cent, according to the IMF.
Ukraine’s military have discovered that Soviet-era arms, whose designs date back to the 1980s, have proved more effective on the battlefield than the vast amounts of Western weapons supplied since 2022.
Zelensky’s presidential term officially ended on 25th  March, and Russian officials have now declared that under Ukraine’s constitution he has been replaced by the speaker of the Kiev Rada as Ukraine’s highest representative.
Zelensky has become increasingly erratic and unstable as the direction of the war has turned sharply against him. By ruling out any talks with the Russian Federation, and continuing to insist on totally unrealistic terms for peace negotiations, he has clearly become an obstacle to Washington’s requirements.
His constant demands for weapons which NATO has actually run out of, and frequent attacks on his most important allies, have done nothing to improve his chances of survival.
The growing dangers for Zelensky have now been spelt out in an extraordinary article in the Financial Times (FT) on 30 May, “US to offer Ukraine security pact as tensions rise between allies”. The FT has been a leading source of inside news on Ukraine, and is believed to have very high level contacts in Washington.
The article reports detailed and open criticism of Zelensky’s actions from “more than a dozen current and former Ukrainian officials and G7 country diplomats in Kyiv”.
The high level group of officials and diplomats questioned “the removal of top government and military officials the US had worked closely with”, including the firing of commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny in February and infrastructure minister Alexander Kubrakov, both of whom “… enjoyed close working relationships with US and EU officials”. The FT reveals that “G7 ambassadors have warned Zelensky’s government about what they see as disruptive and inexplicable moves.”
It goes on: “A senior Ukrainian official said Zelensky has grown more ‘emotional and nervous’ over the situation on the battlefield and what they say the president sees as Washington’s eagerness to start negotiations with Russia”.
Another Ukrainian official raised Zelensky’s obsession with the US-inspired “peace summit” in Switzerland on 15-16 June, which has already been abandoned by all the major players.
Zelensky is desperately clinging to the futile hope that presidents Biden and Xi will attend the summit, and asking his officials to put pressure on them. But after hearing that Biden has decided that a Democrat fund-raising dinner is more important, Zelensky publicly criticised him.
“Several members of Zelensky’s own government,” the article says, “expressed worries about Zelensky’s attacks on US officials – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken after his recent visit to Kiev. One of them spelt it out: “What do you say in America? Do not bite the hand that feeds you.”
Such veiled criticisms by very senior Ukrainian politicians do not bode well for Zelensky’s immediate future. In fact this effective group denunciation of Zelensky suggests the he has effectively outlived his usefulness to his masters in Washington.
Evidence of Zelensky’s growing instability has also come from Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who says that in late April in meetings with foreign ambassadors “he spent most of the time improvising hectically and almost hysterically to demand support for his 'peace formula' as a means of forcing Russia to its knees".
US media reports describe Zelensky screaming at his generals –  convinced he was being lied to about the fighting near Kharkov – conjuring up images of Hitler in his Berlin bunker.
Meanwhile Beijing, which has played a major neutral role in encouraging Ukraine peace talks, has explained China’s decision not to join the Swiss summit.
On 31st  May Mao Ning, a senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official, said that although China “attaches great importance to Switzerland organizing the first summit on peace in Ukraine,” the conference “needs to meet the three important elements: recognition from both Russia and Ukraine, equal participation of all parties, and fair discussion of all peace plans, otherwise the peace conference can hardly play a substantive role for restoring peace”.
Mao said this was the position “Jointly issued by China and Brazil recently, and reflects the universal concern of the international community, especially the vast developing countries based on what we have heard from various parties.
She said China “Will continue to promote talks for peace in our own way, and maintain communication with all parties.”
In March Sergey Lavrov said that president Putin “has repeatedly spoken about our readiness to start serious talks”. However both Putin and Lavrov have made it clear that any negotiations must be based on realistic proposals, and above all must recognise Russia’s fundamental security interests.
The truth is that ever since February 2014 Western leaders have blatantly lied about Ukraine and sabotaged every opportunity for peace.
They lied about a “Russian invasion” in 2014, they pushed Ukraine into starting the war by launching the Anti-Terrorist Operation, a huge military offensive to crush the anti-Maidan uprisings in eastern Ukraine, and they used the Minsk peace process to deceive Russia while arming and training Ukrainian forces.
Five days before the start of Russia’s Special Military Operation, Ukraine launched another massive offensive against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Then in late March 2022 NATO wrecked the Ukraine-Russia peace plan, since then over 100,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or injured.
Incredibly, these talks were initiated by Zelensky himself, who asked the then Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to contact Vladimir Putin, backed by Turkish President Erdogan and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
Schröder later told the media: “The Ukrainians did not agree to peace because they were not allowed to. They first had to ask the Americans about everything they discussed. My impression was that nothing could happen because everything was decided in Washington.”
According to senior UN official Michael von der Schulenburg, “NATO had already decided at a special summit on March 24 2022, not to support these peace negotiations”.
On April 5  2022 the Washington Post reported: “For some in NATO, it’s better for Ukrainians to keep fighting and dying than to achieve a peace that comes too soon or at too high a price for Kiev and the rest of Europe.”
The truth is that the Russian Federation did everything possible to avoid a full-scale war in Ukraine, spending eight years supporting the Minsk process plan, involving simple autonomy for the then Donetsk and Lugansk Republics, while Ukraine, with NATO’s support, broke ceasefire after ceasefire and thousands of civilians in those republics died in constant Ukrainian attacks.
The aim of the NATO alliance all along has been to force war on the Russian Federation, and now the whole world can see the terrible price which has been paid for a war which could so easily have been avoided.

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