Faced With Donbass Defeat, US & UK Up the Ante in Ukraine

As Russia presses victory in the Donbass, U.S. and U.K. missiles threaten a new stage in the conflict, writes Christopher Nineham.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, meeting Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, April 9. (Ukraine government)

By Christopher Nineham
Stop the War

The British government, as ever following the U.S.  lead, is sending longer range missile systems to Ukraine for the first time. The government described the M270 weapon system they are despatching as a “cutting edge” military asset which can strike targets up to 80 kilometres away “with pinpoint accuracy.” Ukrainian soldiers are due to be brought to Britain for training in how to use the missiles.

As even some of the mainstream media point out, on top of the four precision-guided, medium-range rocket systems sent by the U.S. last week, this decision marks a new stage in the war in which the West is prepared to provide the Ukrainian military with the capacity to strike deep in to Russian territory, something they previously carefully avoided.

This is one in a series of escalations on the part of the Western powers. It provoked immediate retaliation in words and deeds from Russian President Vladimir Putin — including the first bombardment of Kiev for five weeks — as Western leaders must have known it would.

It underlines the fact that the West is still pushing for nothing less than the complete defeat of Russia while Russian troops continue their offensive.

As British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement announcing the new weapons shipment, “If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.”

U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during a press conference at the British Embassy in Moscow on Feb. 11. (U.K. government)

As part of this policy of proxy war, the West has been deliberately trying to head off moves towards serious negotiations. The leading pro–Western Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda reported recently that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself appeared in Kiev early in May almost without warning, urging Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky not to negotiate with Putin.

“If you are ready to sign some guarantee agreements with him, we are not,” Johnson said, insisting it was instead the time to “press him.” Johnson later confirmed to French President Emmanuel Macron that he had “urged against any negotiations with Russia on terms that gave credence to the Kremlin’s false narrative for the invasion.”

It is first and foremost the Ukrainians who will suffer from this approach, as the conflict turns into a terrible war of attrition. But the war has global implications and the risks of a frightening military clash between nuclear armed great powers are higher than at any time for half a century.

To understand this situation and to be able to challenge it, we have to see beyond the West’s simplistic story that this is a war between the Western values of freedom and democracy and Russian despotism.

The anti-war movement opposed the Russian invasion from the start. But the West bears a heavy responsibility for this disaster. Senior U.S.  foreign policy figures from Henry Kissinger to Madeline Albright and from George Kennan to William J. Burns, the current head of the C.I.A., have advised that the eastward expansion of NATO up to the Russian borders would be deeply provocative to the Russian ruling class. NATO decision makers knew this, but carried on regardless.

Last minute diplomacy might well have averted the war. Many senior former U.S. diplomats and Russia experts urged the U.S.  to accept Vladimir Putin’s offer of talks before the invasion took place in January. The advice was rejected. As Ivan Katchanovski, a Ukrainian professor of political studies at the University of Ottawa argues, “The U.S.  and U.K. governments show no efforts or desire to achieve peaceful settlement of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”

Now Britain and the U.S.  appear to have abandoned even the limited military restraint they showed early on in the war. Their policy of pumping in the weapons and pushing for outright victory risks disaster.

Christopher Mark Nineham is a British political activist and founder member of the Stop the War Coalition serving as national officer and deputy chair of the Stop the War Coalition in the U.K. He served under Jeremy Corbyn from 2011 to 2015.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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32 comments for “Faced With Donbass Defeat, US & UK Up the Ante in Ukraine

  1. robert e williamson jr
    June 11, 2022 at 11:52

    The imperial mind defies all reason.

  2. Carl Zaisser
    June 11, 2022 at 04:29

    Escalation: Okay, let’s just cut to the chase and start dropping the nukes. But first, make everyone in the British Parliament and on the US Capitol Hill read John Wyndham’s “The Chrysalids” for a different take on a post-nuclear world.

  3. Moi
    June 10, 2022 at 16:41

    The cost of living is rising around the world, in large part because of Nato sanctions on Russia. The majority of people in the US are more concerned about the cost of living than they are about anything else and, with the mid-terms coming up, Biden is looking at losing his majority. Because of Russia.

    Meanwhile his Capitol Riots pogrom may very well get the previous President criminally convicted of (to be advised) because their previous anti-Russian neo-McCarthyism didn’t stick.

    By contrast, the Russian people have become largely self-sufficient due to previous Western sanctions. In an ironic sort of reverse regime change, Putin’s popularity has soared in Russia while Biden tanks in the US.

    Russia is making a killing. The ruble has increased in value by 40% since January. They are pumping more oil at double the price and selling less gas but at far higher prices than in January. The US is spending $100m per day in Ukraine while Russia makes $100m extra per day due to sanctions.

    Russia is still making battlefield advances in Ukraine. Who is sponsoring what is entirely open to conjecture but by any metric Russia is winning and Nato is losing very badly indeed.

    It remains to be seen how long Nato will persist with their lunacy and whether they’re prepared to drag the world into an economic depression, or even WW3, just to save face.

    • Thot
      June 11, 2022 at 01:58

      Surtout, les USA sont surendettés et ne paieront jamais, la Russie est endettée à 15%. On voit de suite qu’en Russie les économistes ont dix longueur d’avance sur les américains débiles ! sans le racket du dollar, ce pays de merde, les usa, n’est pas grand chose, en retard sur tout, absolument tout, rien chez eux n’est correct, ce pays de merde n’est là que pour engraisser ceux qui volent, massacrent, spolient d’autres êtres humains Ce pays qui n’a même pas 300 ans d’existence est débile, il devrait apprendre de ses sœurs, les vraies civilisations, ce pays arriéré a tué plus de gens que les conflits mondiaux, ses gouvernants doivent tous passer sur la chaise électrique !! pour le monde entier, les usa SONT LE CANCER DU MONDE!Espérons que la chimio interviendra très bientôt, ce pays a causé assez de malheur sur cette terre ! et les américains laissent faire, ils sont en partie complices, comme nous les français sommes complices de macron quand il envoie des chars chez les nazis ukrainiens

  4. Lez
    June 10, 2022 at 09:03

    This US-NATO-UK Proxy War is lost.

    The Western leadership has a major difficulty in confronting their respective publics with seemingly impossible truths.
    The leadership of The West are desperate, yet they face powerful enemies of their own creations. Russia and China.

    The Decline of The West, by their own hand, discussed here . . . hxxps://les7eb.substack.com/p/ukraine-notes-the-long-proxy-war?s=w

  5. Westley Wood
    June 10, 2022 at 08:49

    Dumbs down the catastrophe that awaits the entire world.
    We need a huge dose of human ghastliness together with
    pinpointing the monsters who think to risk us all.
    Who the H are they?

    • Thot
      June 11, 2022 at 02:05

      ils sont américains, bien sûr, vous êtes les seuls à faire des guerre d’agression ( ah, il y a aussi la crotte de nez, israel) depuis votre petite existence, votre pays agresse les autres depuis toujours. Qu’est-ce qu’un pays qui passe son temps à aller tuer, voler, piller les autres ? vous avez de la chance, vu comme votre pays est dangereux pour l’humanité, on pourrait décider le le faire disparaitre, ce qui serait un bien universel, plus d”usa, plus de problèmes, en fait !!! le caïd va t-il enfin fermer sa gueule de cowboy inculte, immature, dégénéré ?

  6. Robert Emmett
    June 9, 2022 at 20:29

    Photo at top: “Fat Gut Parade”

    Hey, mop-top, playboy-clown, what makes you want to double-down with that fat-gut?
    Risk it all for your quid pro quo, why not shuffle-off to Buffalo instead?
    Big boys like you don’t parley-voo, let others count the dead.
    Stand your ground, out of sight & sound, recite what you are told.
    Like that little boy, Lord Fauntleroy get ready to steal the show.

    Oh, golden lad in royal blue R U ready to tie one on?
    Toss back a quickie, slip Zelicky a mickey, then get ready to shift the blame.
    When it all comes-a-cropper and they’ve call in the coppers to decide where to send the bill, he’ll think of the Brit with the Bulgar name when he swallows that poison pill.

    And his over-wrought forces scattered in pieces, not to be brought together again, even if all for nil,

    now would say:
    of course, we were always in your pay & we just enjoy fuckin’ with Russkies that way & we prob’ly always will.

  7. sam
    June 9, 2022 at 15:20

    What do I know, but four MLRS systems from the US, and according to the BBC three from the UK — that doesn’t seem to add up to a particularly huge game changer. Just seems like the next line of not very well thought out fantasy talk we get from the losing side every few days.

    • Thot
      June 11, 2022 at 02:13

      vous devriez plutôt avoir peur, la Russie vous est largement supérieure ( plus de 15 ans d’avance technologique)et si votre gouvernement continue, pour la première fois de votre pauvre existence, vous allez connaitre les horreurs que vous faites aux autres ! je pense que cela est nécessaire. Les usa ont trop tué sans jamais payer. cela me fait mal au coeur pour le peuple mais il faudrait que vous preniez quelques bombes sur le museau, ça vous calmerait et le monde entier applaudirait des deux mains pourvu que vous cessiez d’emmerder, de tuer, accaparer, violer dans tous les pays (faibles bien sûr, les usa s’en prennet aux faibles, jamais aux forts, ces lâches)!On n’en peut plus de votre pays de voyous, de fumiers, de drogués et dégénérés comme l’autre clinton et le biden, deux momies complètement camées et très certainement pédophiles, quand est-ce que vous allez enfin vous en occuper ??.de toute façon, les usa ont fait trop de mal dans le monde entier et méritent une punition exemplaire pour le empêcher de recommencer. Vous avez soutenu hitler, vous soutenez ZE, oui, il vous faut une bonne leçon qui je l’espère ne va pas tarder

  8. Tim N
    June 9, 2022 at 11:27

    I suppose it’s possible that a desperate imbecile like Bojo or that idiot Wallace actually think Ukraine will somehow “win” the war if sold enough hardware. But our own warmongering idiot, Cracker Joe, let the cat out of the bag on the subject a while ago. Oh, and the new missiles have “pinpoint accuracy?” Bullshit.

  9. Alan
    June 9, 2022 at 10:58

    Here are some possible consequences that will follow the use of these missiles to strike targets inside Russia:

    1. The missiles will be intercepted by Russia’s highly advanced air defense system.
    2. The launch sites will be destroyed with pinpoint accuracy by Russian missiles.
    3. Russian longe-range hypersonic missiles will land on military sites within the UK.

    With regard to number 3, Vladimir Putin has already hinted at such an eventuality, so the West cannot claim that they weren’t warned.

    No doubt, this move by the UK (aka America’s poodle) represents a serious escalation. It is an act of desperation on the part of the losing side. A price will be paid.

  10. John F Maier
    June 9, 2022 at 09:55

    We all work for Burisma now!

  11. Duane
    June 9, 2022 at 09:31

    “…U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself appeared in Kiev early in May almost without warning, urging Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky not to negotiate with Putin. ‘If you are ready to sign some guarantee agreements with him, we are not,’ Johnson said, insisting it was instead the time to ‘press him.’ Johnson later confirmed to French President Emmanuel Macron that he had ‘urged against any negotiations with Russia on terms that gave credence to the Kremlin’s false narrative for the invasion.’ ”

    Well, thank you to Boris Johnson for making it clear who’s pulling the strings on Volodymyr Zelensky. In case anyone reading these pages still had a doubt. Not that it will make much of a dent in the public awareness, given the level of ongoing propaganda.

  12. June 9, 2022 at 09:17

    Christopher Mark Nineham writes that “the war has global implications and the risks of a frightening military clash between nuclear armed great powers are higher than at any time for half a century.” This is not exactly true; the Soviet Union was never really a threat to the world, or western nuclear armed nations. The West (NATO, the US, and the UK) was responsible for stirring up the Russia (communist) phobia because it was good for the Military Industrial Complex business, and it provided an excuse to wage wars of aggression all over the world. The USSR, exhausted by WW2 and trying to rebuild, wanted nothing more than peaceful relations with the West.

  13. Mikael Andersson
    June 9, 2022 at 09:13

    Russian forces will soon close the Severodonetsk pocket in Luhansk (hxxps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/13951/production/_125290208_ukraine_closer_up_severodonetsk_05_06_2x640-nc.png). The Luhansk People’s Republic can then begin to recover. Russia will continue to assist the Donetsk People’s Republic to end the conflict in its territory. There is nothing that Ukraine can do to avoid these outcomes. The future must then include defences on the western borders of the two republics sufficient to stop anticipated Ukrainian attacks / incursions / bombardments. When one’s enemies abandon even limited military restraint one should follow their example. If that necessitates reducing a DMZ on the Ukrainian side to rubble so be it. I anticipate the likely end state to be a long-term stand off similar to that between North and South Korea. The war between those countries continues to this day. Russia will have neutral regimes along its western borders. If the regimes currently in those regions will not agree then new regimes can be created.

  14. Henry Smith
    June 9, 2022 at 08:06

    Maybe it’s time Russia sanctioned the UK and USA directly, actually stop all oil, gas and grain exports ?

    • June 10, 2022 at 18:01

      Indeed the wisest solution to peace a speedy and final end to western delusions of grandeur

  15. mgr
    June 9, 2022 at 06:00

    Joe Biden and Boris Johnson are truly depraved as well as self-serving dullards. As had been foretold from day one, the Ukrainian army is effectively broken (see moonofalabama who has accurately predicted the course of the conflict from even before it started). As a result, many of the Ukrainian troops on the front are now local, home defense troops with little or no experience who are being rushed to the front lines for no purpose other than to put on a desperate show with their deaths. Biden and Johnson are united in sacrificing these Ukrainian husbands and fathers in order to try to salvage their own fading political careers. The utter banality of evil.

    Who knew that the way to quickly bring the American empire to its knees was simply to install a couple of facile administrators who were depraved and/or stupid enough to take their neocon/neodem advisors seriously.

    I cannot help but think that Zelenski’s constant plea for more weapons now is not for fighting but for selling. While ordinary Ukrainian and Russian troops are fighting and dying, everyone else, it seems, is trying to make a profit off the misery of this conflict. Biden is outdoing the stupid depravity of the Bush/Obama era (error) while Johnson is a sick little circus clown leading his own nation into pathos.

    May all these pathetic dreams of empire quickly fade into history. Perhaps humanity still has a chance.

  16. Wildsilver
    June 9, 2022 at 04:43

    Doubling down on a losing hand sure sounds like the West we know.
    Not only is NATO facing an embarrassing defeat in the civil war between Kiev and the Donbas, the same outcome with the Special Military Operation between Ukraine and Russia is also guaranteed.
    We’re barely three months in and already the West is seeking a negotiated peace.
    Surely we must be winning hands down?
    Perhaps the real battle of NATO vs Russia is also a cascading failure we need to pull back from, before the truth takes wider hold?
    Or is that already over too…..watch this space.


  17. speedster
    June 9, 2022 at 04:21

    I stand confirmed my comment regarding the authors socialism inclination, having served under Jeremy Corbin, who was unelectable being the closest British politician to a communist in the uk political system.

    Ps. The communists have changed hands to the green party to overcome the negative reputation attached to the former name.

    • Tim N
      June 9, 2022 at 11:07

      What on earth are you on about?

    • Ian Stevenson
      June 9, 2022 at 13:16

      I voted for Jeremy Corbyn. (not Corbin) More for his program than the man . He is a decent man who means well, quite unlike the narcissistic chancer who won the election. He is a campaigner but I think lacked the skills to manage a modern economy . However, there were people around him who do that for him. The advantages of a cabinet system over the Presidential model.
      Most of the policies would not be out of place in a Nordic country. Not a Communist, except in the deliberate smear campaign of he Tory press. In fact, his finance minister accepted the ‘maxed out credit card’ analysis of the Conservatives. He avoided any mention of modern Monetary theory or alternative ways of thinking about public expenditure.

    • Gene Poole
      June 9, 2022 at 16:00

      Sir, you need to stop reading the Sun, go back to school, and re-learn your anticommunist talking points. And above all, stop posting on sites where you are out of your depth. Or at least try to read the article you’re posting on.

  18. speedster
    June 9, 2022 at 04:16

    The article is prejudiced and loaded with comments which swallow Russian propaganda about security guarantees. The problem is the authors commentating security guarantee for Russia, contrasts strangely with Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine where it has stolen ukraine grain and shipped it out of the country. Reading the authors comments and style of language it is easy to spot the author used a strong inclination to socialism in all its negative connotations.

    • Jams O'Donnell
      June 10, 2022 at 15:23

      A bit of evidence is required from you for ‘stolen Ukranian grain’. As for the rest of your post, it is simply incoherent and naive. I don’t imagine you have ever managed to read any works on socialist or communist theory in your life – you seem merely to be parroting a received opinion.

    • Martin
      June 10, 2022 at 17:38

      The UN could not confirm that Russia was stealing grain from Ukrainian ports and then selling it.

  19. Realist
    June 9, 2022 at 01:59

    This has never been a war between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine has always been Washington’s pawn in a proxy war against Russia. Starting with the Maidan coup in 2014 (and, of course, the stoked public unrest beforehand that only $5 billion in US support could buy), this campaign has been one of incessant American aggression against Russia, not just on the battlefields in the Donbas, but in world trade, banking, finances, energy supplies, food supplies and anywhere else Washington thought it could exert leverage over Moscow to turn back the clock to the 1990’s when American vulture capitalists basically ruled the remnants of the old Soviet Union–the inhabitants be damned.

    Washington wants its predatory privileges back and will force the entire globe to the brink of nuclear war to accomplish this. Actually, I think the fools believe they can win a nuclear first strike against Russia and are so arranging the chess pieces with each successive policy outrage to make such a thing happen. Just examining the spiral of escalations, one can clearly see that eventually Russia will be forced to use its hypersonic missiles to defend itself directly against the Western aggressors. This means targeting American and Nato military assets in Europe which are staging grounds for attacks upon Russia. Washington will then use this as their green light to launch a full nuclear first strike. As Paul Craig Roberts analyses, Russia is far too slow and strictly reactive to launch a first nuclear strike. They fools always hope that Washington will see the truth and finally make the right choice to de-escalate. The Russians believe too much American propaganda and will never learn that rational action is simply not in Washington’s nature.

    Russia will, however, ultimately retaliate against American nukes with their own nukes, and the story will be over. No, not just the American-instigated war, I mean the human race will become extinct in the course of a single day. Not just the American fools will be culpable, but the craven European cowards who dare not dissent one iota from their marching orders to perdition from the god-damned United States. Defying this American death wish and death sentence upon our planet would be the one sane and honorable thing the Europeans could do, but they will refuse until we are all in our communal graves. Yeah, Nuland had it right: fuck the EU, but for a quite different reason than that fiend ever had in her sick little mind. Or that jackass Boris Johnson shown prancing around in front of the cameras with would-be Napoleon, Volodymyr Zelensky, delirious with the power his Western backers were able to secure for him as their pawn to bring about the end of the world. It is as clear as the nose on your face that the sole world power everyone should be allied against to stop this madness in the USA. Don’t expect it though, when so much money and effort continues to go into sheltering the world from this stark truth.

  20. Jeff Harrison
    June 9, 2022 at 00:57

    It doesn’t risk disaster; it will cause disaster. It will be Britain, Germany, France and possibly the US that will be on the receiving end. Russia has called this an existential threat. Listen up assholes. I don’t think they’re kidding. If they think they have nothing more to lose, major portions of Britain, France, Germany, and possibly the US will be turned into glass parking lots. Sure, you can turn major portions of the RF into glass parking lots, too. Oh, isn’t that special? But frankly, the RF is bigger than all four of you lot put together. Russia will probably do what they have historically done – retreat to the East. So the old colonial powers (who probably deserve to be liquidated) will probably be reduced to radioactive ash along with their master, the US. Russia sets up shop somewhere in Central Asia and presses ahead with their buddy China. None of the other four jerks can do the same.

  21. Piotr Berman
    June 8, 2022 at 23:32

    “U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, meeting Urkaine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, April 9. (Ukraine …”

    Urka means a bandit in Russian, so Urkaine President may be a pun, referring to Johnson looking in the photo like a bandit leader, and Zelensky like his honcho, with “the muscle” behind them. Or it is a typo. Anyway, brotherhood of Uk- countries seems forever.

  22. June 8, 2022 at 20:09

    “1984-March 1985: US and Pakistan Begin Training Afghans to Attack Inside Soviet Union

    Following a March 1985 directive signed by President Reagan that sharply escalates US covert action in Afghanistan, the Pakistani ISI begins training Afghans to launch strikes directly into Soviet territory. Apparently the idea originated with CIA Director William Casey who first proposed harassing Soviet territory in 1984 (see October 1984). According to Graham Fuller, a senior US intelligence official, most top US officials consider such military raids “an incredible escalation” and fear a large-scale Soviet response if they are carried out. The Reagan administration decides not to give Pakistan detailed satellite photographs of military targets inside the Soviet Union. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/19/1992] Mohammad Yousaf, a high-ranking ISI officer, will later claim that the training actually began in 1984. “During this period we were specifically to train and dispatch hundreds of mujaheddin up to 25 kilometers deep inside the Soviet Union. They were probably the most secret and sensitive operations of the war.” He notes that, “By 1985, it became obvious that the United States had got cold feet. Somebody at the top in the American administration was getting frightened.” But, he claims, “the CIA, and others, gave us every encouragement unofficially to take the war into the Soviet Union.” [DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 286-287] Casey will approve of such attacks and the first attack inside the Soviet Union will take place in 1985 (see 1985-1987).


    1985-1987: US Helps Afghan Allies Launch Attacks into Soviet Union

    In 1985, the CIA, MI6 (Britain’s intelligence agency), and the Pakistani ISI agree to launch guerrilla attacks from Afghanistan into then Soviet-controlled Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, attacking military installations, factories, and storage depots within Soviet territory. Some Afghans have been trained for this purpose since 1984 (see 1984-March 1985). The task is given to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord closely linked to the ISI. According to an account in the Washington Post, in March 1987, small units cross from bases in northern Afghanistan into Tajikistan and launched their first rocket attacks against villages there. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/19/1992; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/23/2001] However, Mohammad Yousaf, a high-ranking ISI officer at the time, will later write a well regarded book about the Soviet-Afghan war and will give a different account. He will claim the attacks in the Soviet Union actually begin in 1985 and are much more numerous. He says, “These cross-border strikes were at their peak in 1986. Scores of attacks were made across the Amu (River)… Sometimes Soviet citizens joined in these operations, or came back into Afghanistan to join the mujaheddin… That we were hitting a sore spot was confirmed by the ferocity of the Soviets’ reaction. Virtually every incursion provoked massive aerial bombing and gunship attacks on all villages south of the river in the vicinity of our strike.” [DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 286] By all accounts, these secret attacks are strongly backed by CIA Director William Casey and come to an end when he dies later in 1987. [WASHINGTON POST, 7/19/1992; DREYFUSS, 2005, PP. 285-286]”

    History Commons

    • Lester Arbusto
      June 9, 2022 at 16:10

      Thank you. The fact that this is now being done openly by the media and in the US and UK legislatures should frighten us. One difference is that there were real journalists in the mainstream then. Today the last real journalists are being hounded out of existence, of which there is no better example than PayPal’s banning Consortium News. Boycott.

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