President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Picture: Ukrainian President office on Flickr)

Two years since it began, the war in Ukraine is at a bloody stalemate, with Russian and Ukrainian soldiers used as cannon fodder to benefit rival imperialisms.

A recent BBC report admitted, “Two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion, there’s no flood of Ukrainian volunteers to the front line anymore.

“Most of those who wanted to fight are either dead, injured or still stuck at the front waiting to be relieved by new recruits. Ukraine is exhausted.”

And in Russia the scale of the killing means there is also disenchantment. Men who sign up as “volunteers” to special army battalions for a wage are usually able to go home after six or nine months. But no time limit has been set for 300,000 recruits called up in September 2022.

Statements by Russian officials have gradually signalled that mobilised men are expected to keep fighting until the war ends. In response, recruits’ families are increasingly agitating for their return.

There needs to be a growth in the anti-war movement in Russia, Ukraine and from inside the Western countries fuelling the carnage.

Vladimir Putin launched his reactionary invasion to shore up his own power and boost his imperialist interests. But the Nato military alliance, whose expansion squeezed Russia, is using the fighting for its own ends.

Western leaders hoped to humiliate Russia and then move on to concentrate on its even bigger rivalry with China.

But instead the war is going nowhere for either side. 

Ukraine’s “spring offensive”, which continued throughout last year, gained only small parcels of territory at the cost of 100,000 Ukrainian troops.

Far from securing Ukraine’s independence, the war has made Ukraine ever more dependent on Western imperial ambitions. 

The Tories and Joe Biden are happy to fight to the last Ukrainian so long as it bleeds Russia.

Recently, in an effort to find a scapegoat, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky removed top military commander, general Valery Zaluzhny.

And this week Russia took full control of the city of Avdiivka.  It is Russia’s biggest gain since it captured Bakhmut in May last year. 

Both sides regard the city as being key to Russia’s aim of securing full control of the two eastern Donbas provinces—Donetsk and Luhansk.

Zelensky has blamed the loss on a lack of Western armaments. And the West is preparing even more sanctions against Russia after the death of Alexei Navalny (see box).

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Ukraine received a total of over £200 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid commitments between 24 January 2022 and 31 October 2023.

That figure has soared further since. That’s money that could have been used for health and education services and climate change action.

The bloody war serves only the rotten imperialist leaders East and West.

Navalny death seized on 

The death of Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison last Friday has been immediately integrated into a massive anti-Russia propaganda campaign by Joe Biden’s administration, Nato allies, and associated media outlets.

Without an autopsy the unified position from the Nato powers is “Putin killed Navalny”.

At the opening of the Munich Security Conference, Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, was invited to speak after the news broke.  She declared, “I want Putin, his entire entourage, Putin’s friends, his government to know that they will bear responsibility for what they did to our country, to my family, to my husband.”  Amid this propaganda offensive, it is first necessary to stress that there is no precise knowledge as to how Navalny died. 

This would not absolve the Russian government of culpability. Navalny died in a Russian prison that the Putin regime was responsible for.  

This, however, does not warrant the claim, in the absence of evidence, that Navalny was murdered.

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