Over the last month, Russia and NATO have been rattling their sabres over the future of the Ukraine. The bellicosity of the language is very worrying and working out a position from first principles of peace, democracy, human rights and justice seems quite hard; I have made some notes and found some links to help me work it out.

Background and Commentary

  1. Ukraine on wikipedia and Amnesty’s country report on Ukraine
  2. Unsplash pictures tagged kiev
  3. The conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is neither bluff nor  ultimatum from lefteast.org, dated 2 Jan 2022, indicated the seriousness of Russia’s concerns and the possibility that even if an invasion occurs the Russian people might have had enough.
  4. Futher armed conflict in Ukraine would have devastating-consequences for the human rights of millions by Amnesty International.
  5. Outrage in Germany ex-chancellor Schroder Gazprom board nomination from politico.eu, an inaccurate harbinger of Germany’s response.
  6. Statement by the Defence Secretary in the House of Commons dated 17 Jan 22 from HMG, a speech by Ben Wallace SoS Defence, he says, “They have put forward this outlandish notion that NATO is attempting to encircle Russia.”

  1. The Minsk Conundrum: Western Policy and Russia’s War in Eastern Ukraine, the Minsk agreements rest on two irreconcilable interpretations of Ukraine’s sovereignty: is Ukraine sovereign, as Ukrainians insist, or should its sovereignty be limited, as Russia demands? Instead of trying to resolve an unresolvable contradiction, Western policymakers should acknowledge the starkness of the Minsk conundrum from Chatham House
  2. The Minsk accords from Wikipedia
  3. Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe signed in 1990, agreeing that NATO would not send non-german soldiers to the dying East Germany.
  4. The Telegraph on Lenin and Ukrainian nationalism.
  5. Germany, sanctions, gas/gaz.
  6. EU shuts down airspace to Russia and will give weapons to Ukraine for first time from the Mirror, 27/2/2022

Shooting War

  1. Russia’s bid for rapid victory faces forceful Ukrainian response from the ft.com (-)
  2. Russia struggles to take Kyiv and Kharkiv but pushes across Black Sea coast from the FT (-)
  3. https://twitter.com/threadreaderapp/status/1498241291162955779
  4. https://warontherocks.com/2021/11/feeding-the-bear-a-closer-look-at-russian-army-logistics/
  5. Why will Russia lose the war? from twitter by Kamil Galeev, one reason being the Ukrainian Army is much stronger than it looks, but the Russian Army is inappropriately equipped for this mission.
  6. On youtube, this video essay argues, that ¾ of the Russian budget is inappropriate, i,e. the rocket force, the navy and the internal security forces have no useful role in an invasion, that the conscript army is inappropriate for an invasion, that a lot of their assets are soviet era and inappropriate for modern war, they have not been maintained and that their air-force doctrine , training and intelligence capability has undermined the power of Russia’s airforce. Also that Russian weapons concentrate too much on firepower and not enough on fuel and logistics economy.

Political response

  1. Russia vetoes the UNSC Resolution critical of its invasion
  2. In major shift for Europe, Germany to spend $113B on defense
  3. The ICC are opening investigations into war crimes but the Russian State.

Building a Peace Movement

  1. Putin is the product of a corrupt economic system that we must now reform by Mary Kaldor at Open Democracy, “Market fundamentalism encourages violence as well as theft. This war should mark a turning point for the world
  2. Why we need to unite for peace and human rights across the old divides by Dmitri Makarov and Mary Kaldor who call for solidarity and dialogue between anti-war movements across the divides of the Cold War.

.Political commentary mainly from the left

  1. Paul Mason writes on medium, https://paulmasonnews.medium.com/panic-stations-over-ukraine-d854ab40a837
  2. Phil BC writes http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com/2022/02/a-whiff-of-munich-in-air.html
  3. Me, I say don’t start from here.
  4. https://www.anothereurope.org/no-more-war-in-europe
  5. Mason again and an SWP reply
  6. Magathma on the Falklands, the bad guys are imperialists or imperialist bureaucracies supporting imperialism, even when they pretend to be anti-imperialists and the position of worker’s liberty today, well then.
  7. Socialist Appeal publishes the thoughts of its Russian Comrades.

Ratcheting it up, pre-invasion sparring

  1. Russian foreign minister stresses diplomatic ‘way forward’ in Ukraine crisis, from the FT, dated Feb 14.
  2. Putin leaves the west guessing as Ukraine crisis intensifies, from the FT, dated Feb 14.
  3. Putin, US intelligence and the global fight for the Ukraine narrative from the FT
  4. Russia-Ukraine: What’s happening on the border and why are tensions so high?, from Sky


UK sanctions have been slow and half hearted. Is this because of Russian Money in British Politics, there was an intelligence committee report, which is commented on in the Guardian.

Olga Chyzh also comments. She says sanctions won’t change politics in Russia.

British Stupidity

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/10/labour-nato-british-left-ukraine-keir-starmer
  2. Labour’s stupidity by Lammy & Healey in the Independent compounded by Lammy on C4, a videocast.
  3. Truss being even more stupid.
  4. Starmer and RT
  5. Boris Johnson announces UK sanctions against Russia, from the BBC, a follow up from earlier in the week when the sanctions were seen as insufficient, and flawed by the personal interests of cabinet members.

Boris goes to Poland for a photo-op

Trade Unions in Ukraine

There seem to be three families,

  1. Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, also affiliated to the ITUC, and in 2014 attacked by the far right. The biggest in Ukraine. It is being investigated for corruption.
  2. Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, affiliated to the ITUC and recognised as free and independent by the AFL-CIO
  3. National Confederation of the Trade-Union Organizations of Ukraine, a split from the Federation.
  4. All-Ukrainian Union of Workers’ Solidarity (VOST), an affiliate of the ITUC and WOW.
  5. Looking for info on VOST, I came accross this academic paper,
    Crowley, Stephen. “Between Class and Nation: Worker Politics in the New Ukraine.” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 28, no. 1 (1995): 43–69. http://www.jstor.org/stable/45301918. Also here and mirrored here.

What comes next?

Today I added a comment about the need to think abut the post war settlement, unfair and humiiaiting treaties do not last. The thinking about it needs to start now, and there needs to be a post war security architecture which includes Russia; I had a look at the previous attempt.

  1.  Forty years later, the signing of the Helsinki Final Act continues to have an impact on European security from LSE blogs, 2015
  2. The Helsinki final Act, 1975 from the US Government site, the Office of the Historian

Another view of Russia’s encirclement,

Dave Politics , ,

5 Replies

  1. On another video, the author argued that the Russian weakness was caused by the following,

    1. No GPS system
    2. Inadequate air force ground attack training
    3. Actually short of ammunition because they had used too much in Syria
    4. They are short on fuel
    5. Not enough soldiers to guard the logistics chain
  2. It seems I too am guilty of a sparrow’s attention. An attention grabbing entitled article, “The west is watching the war in Ukraine like it’s sport” looks at Kissinger’s comments about stopping the war through negotiation. They argue it’s inevitable, but timing is crucial; it took the Korean War three years before an armistice was created which led to very little gain for either side.

    I would add however, that I am concerned that the Russian invasion was an abrogation of the Minsk accords which themselves were more often breached than honoured. Kissinger wants to keep Chia out of Europe and seeks not to humiliate Russia. It’s a tricky equation but we all have a lot to learn and revisit, even Kissinger.

  3. I have been coming to some conclusions over the last year, some of its basic, I think Ukraine has the right to defend itself, and that Western Europe should support them and that NATO is only vehicle it has to express and manage that military support, which at the moment is arms and training. All good, but some are ignoring other aspects of the politics, they are silent on support for Russian civil society and are arguing for a complete defeat for Russia.

    What I have written above, I have been feeling for a while, but more recently, I watched a video where Mark Galetti was interviewed, and he made a point I rarely hear debated in the Labour movement. The war must end, and it will need a peace treaty. The treaty will need to include Russia in a pan-European security architecture, and Ukraine and its allies must recognise that humiliating peace treaties fail to keep the peace. It may be difficult to conclude a peace treaty, but it is something that needs to be done and the thinking needs to start now. This need, should inform military strategy.

    I have added some links on the Helsinki accords and the CSCE.

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