Update of the war and our solidarity campaign

Putin’s “special operation” to subdue Ukraine in a few days did not achieve its goal due to resistance. Negotiations are taking place between the two sides. Meanwhile, Russian attacks on the civilian population are becoming increasingly savage. The political and social consequences are being felt around the epicenter of the conflict. The exodus of millions of Ukrainians causes a humanitarian drama. Europe is living in fear of nuclear disasters or the outbreak of a third world war. Western imperialism, mainly American, intervenes indirectly, since together with NATO it maintains its aggressive expansionist policy. The mobilization must open the way in a great movement for the “No to the war.” From the ISL we have begun a campaign of material support to the Union of Labor Protection “Zathsi Pratsi” from the call that it has made. We do so on the basis of a principled and independent policy that we raise with our comrades of the Ukrainian Socialist League: rejection to the invasion, support to the resistance and against all the imperialisms that take over Ukraine as the scene of their disputes, without placing confidence in the Zelensky government and confronting the far-right.

By Rubén Tzanoff

The invasion of the Russian imperialist troops did not achieve a blitzkrieg and is nearing its one-month anniversary. Vladimir Putin did not obtain the surrender of Volodymir Zelensky nor the establishment of a puppet government to replace him. The so-called “special operation” is actually an open war.

They are not “saviors” but invaders

The soldiers of Russian imperialism were not received as “saviors” but as what they really are, invaders. They did not find overwhelming support even in the regions where the Russian-speaking population is in the majority. Resistance spreads from the front lines to the rear. The Ukrainians organize themselves as best they can, even in inferior conditions.

Different war reports

There are military specialists and intelligence services of Western imperialism that point out serious miscalculations, logistical failures and underestimation of the effectiveness of the Ukrainian resistance on the part of the Russian army. Images of dead attackers and destroyed tanks are multiplying. A large number of casualties among the troops and even the death of six generals are mentioned, which, if true, would be unprecedented. In a war conflict everyone exaggerates and/or lies, that is why one cannot blindly trust the war reports of the warring sides. But the truth is that the Russian advance is not what they expected and neither is the Ukrainian resistance.

Difficult negotiations underway

Negotiations to reach a cease-fire, on the basis of a 15-point road map, are slow and difficult. In this framework, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assured that he is hopeful of reaching an agreement on “security guarantees”. “In the negotiations, there are absolutely concrete formulations which, in my opinion, are close to reaching an agreement.”

The head of the negotiating delegation Vladimir Medinsky and Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said that the possibility of neutrality for Ukraine is being discussed, based on a situation similar to that of Austria and Sweden. That is, “a neutral demilitarized state, with its own army and naval force,” without NATO extension. For Moscow there are also non-negotiable issues, such as the status of the Crimean peninsula and the Donbass.

Zelensky also encourages an agreement

Meanwhile, Zelensky said that Ukraine will not be able to achieve its constitutional goal of joining NATO and called the positions of the negotiating parties “more realistic.” He encouraged “further negotiations” because “every war ends in an agreement.”

The less progress is made, the angrier people get

Neither the eventual slowing down of the Russian advance, nor the start of negotiations stopped the war. Images of buildings, hospitals, schools, theaters and factories destroyed or seriously damaged by missiles are repeated all over the country. The horror is multiplied when civilian deaths appear in the streets. Humanitarian corridors are not respected either, so people fleeing are also targeted. News reports indicate that the Russian army has begun testing a new and lethal weapon: hypersonic missiles that evade defensive radars. Faced with difficulties on the ground, Putin’s army is increasingly savaging the civilian population.

Barbarism manifests itself in Mariupol

The main signs of barbarism are in the port city of Mariupol, where some 400,000 people remain. They no longer have water, food, nor medical care for the wounded in the hospital. Only 35,000 people managed to leave and approximately 2,500 dead are counted. The bombing destroyed the Azovstal metallurgical plant, one of the largest in Europe. Troops are in the center and there is battle street by street. Despite this, Ukraine rejected the ultimatum to leave the city. Specialists point out that even if Russia were to take Mariupol, it would need 800,000 troops, almost its entire active army, to control Ukraine for a prolonged period of time.

A doctor shows dead children at a bombed hospital in Mariupol

Fighting in the cities towards Kiev intensifies

The Russians took Kherson, on the Black Sea, with almost 300,000 inhabitants. The advance is slower in the north and is gaining ground in the coastal areas of the south of the country, a fundamental base to be able to advance towards the west. Russian forces are also encircling the Donbass. The Sea of Azov, which may remain in Moscow’s hands, is in dispute. Fighting continues around Kyiv and Mikolaiv. The cities of Kharkiv and Chernobyl are under heavy shelling. And Kiev is also under attack as it continues to prepare for the invasion. The resistance is very great, there are images of moving heroism. Some show how the invading tanks are greeted with a hail of Molotov cocktails thrown from the windows of buildings.

Millions of people were displaced from their homes

The most recent data put the number of people who have emigrated since the war began at 3.39 million. Their main destinations are: Poland (2.05 million people), Romania (527,000) and Moldova (362,000). 305,000 people have escaped across the Hungarian border and 245,000 across the Slovakian border. There are almost seven million Ukrainians who left their homes to take refuge in towns or villages in the interior of the country, which are not direct targets of the shelling. In two weeks, the number of displaced persons and refugees is approaching that of Syria in ten years. Europe is once again shaken by a humanitarian drama, the same as that experienced daily by millions of Africans who are rejected or left to their fate by the European imperialist bloc.

The fastest exodus of refugees in history

Fear of a nuclear catastrophe returned

Putin’s troops occupied Chernobyl. Then they attacked the Energodar nuclear power plant in the Zaporiyia region, the largest in Europe. A fire broke out there that sent the world into a frenzy. Military specialists do not rule out that Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons, if he does not obtain convincing military results. These dangers have placed the European population in a situation of permanent fear of a new nuclear catastrophe or aggression, with its devastating aftermath of death. The ambitions of the imperialists on both sides make it impossible to rule out the possibility of disaster.

Molotov cocktail at a Lviv factory

The extension of war is a latent threat

The other element that has millions of people on their toes is the possibility of a third world war. President Joe Biden has already said that U.S. troops will not fight in Ukraine unless Russia attacks a NATO member, which would trigger a third world war. On a daily basis, bombs fall a few kilometers from the border with Poland, a country that is a member of the Atlantic Alliance commanded by the Americans. As long as imperialist capitalism is in force, crises and wars are a latent possibility threatening humanity.

American expansionism is still at work

Although the Americans do not intervene in the direct confrontation with Putin, they do act. Biden announced that he will send 100 drones and 800 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles (totaling 1,400). The list is completed with anti-armor shells, anti-tank rocket launchers, small arms and bullets. He also ordered the shipment of 800 million dollars more for Ukrainian assistance. They did not and will not give up their expansionist policy in Eastern Europe, which is one of the reasons that fuels the war. Putin started the war, the presence of NATO and Western imperialism, in a region that he intends to influence in order to expand his markets, is a direct threat to peace.

Consequences that are already being felt

The hardest hit are the Ukrainian workers and people. Russian workers will also receive the war bill from their government. The effects of the war are already being felt in the EU and the shock wave will spread to other continents. Inflation, which set in before the war as a product of the crisis of the capitalist economy, continues to advance. Energy and food prices continue to rise and depreciate wages. To such an extent that, for example, in Spain, rural demonstrations and protests by truck drivers have begun to take place. For the first time in a long time, there is talk of the possibility of a social explosion.

Friends and accomplices of the invasion out of self-interest

In Europe, some luxury yachts were confiscated from oligarchs linked to the regime and other measures were taken as a sanction. But they do not fail to express the cynicism of the European bloc which does everything possible to dissociate the war from its commercial needs with Russia, mainly those of gas. There are also those who do not hide their support for Putin. At the UN, the giants India and China abstained in a vote of condemnation. Even among the countries that voted in favor, there are not many strict adherents to the sanctions that Washington and Brussels want to impose.

The Indian Oil Corporation has just acquired Russian oil at a 25% discount, and also buys 60% of its armaments from them. U.S. imperialism makes itself the champion of sanctions, but continues importing Russian uranium for its power plants. The Argentine President, Alberto Fernandez, offered Putin to take his country “as a gateway in Latin America” for trade. The reactionary Jair Bolsonaro shook Putin’s hand. The Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Jan, was received by the Kremlin, has not condemned the invasion and faces a motion of no confidence.

Russia is also rebuilding and expanding its relations in Africa. But the key point is that it counts China as an ally, albeit from a position that tries to be more moderate. Turkey and Israel criticize the invasion and call for respect for Ukraine’s integrity, but take no action against Russia because of their own interests at stake. The image of a commercially cornered Russia does not correspond to reality, at least in large regions of the planet.

A principled policy of the revolutionary and internationalist socialists

On the very day the invasion began there were mobilizations in the main Russian cities. They are holding despite the repression and imprisonments carried out by the regime. It is key that the protests spread and deepen throughout the world, to give shape to a great movement for the No to the war. From the ISL we reassert our political axes of intervention expressed in statements and notes. They are the rejection of the invasion of Russian imperialism, support for the resistance of the Ukrainian people, the demand for the withdrawal of NATO and the US from Eastern Europe. We place no confidence in the neo-liberal and pro-imperialist government of Zelensky, confronting the positions of the right and the far-right. We call for the mobilization of the Russian workers against Putin and for the mobilized solidarity of all the peoples of the world. This is the policy that we raise together with our comrades of the Ukrainian Socialist League who resist the invasion together with the people.

Solidarity campaign: “1 dollar/euro for the Ukrainian workers.”  We are going to continue the campaign of political support with actions, statements, events, talks, denunciations on social media and other initiatives. To these actions we have added a campaign of material support to the Union of Labor Protection “Zakhist Pratsi”, whose organization of miners of the company “Selidov-ugol” is in combat. We thus respond to the call made by the Independent Trade Union. The resisting workers need the solidarity of workers all over the world, youth, students, women and all people who do not want war. That is why we ask you to collaborate with “1 dollar/euro for the Ukrainian workers.” Each contribution that we send them will be a step forward in the struggle and solidarity of the internationalist class.