Eastern European governments at forefront of NATO war drive against Russia

A Ukrainian serviceman runs to deliver ammunition to an armored fighting vehicle during a live fire exercise in a Joint Forces Operation controlled area in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

As the imperialist war drive against Russia intensifies, Eastern European regimes that have been turned into NATO strongholds in recent years are playing a leading role in the NATO proxy war in Ukraine.

Romania and Polish bourgeois classes, ruling over the largest countries on NATO’s eastern flank, are recklessly seeking to fan the flames of the conflict and advance their own predatory local interests.

On February 25, the leaders of the two countries organized a meeting of the so-called B9 format to denounce Russia. The B9 format is a military bloc that includes the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. It was formed on the initiative of Poland and Romania in 2015 under US auspices and on an explicitly anti-Russian basis. One of the main objectives since its formation has been further expansion of direct imperialist control eastwards, especially into Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, either through the B9, the EU or NATO in order to weaken and destabilize Russia.

The B9 bloc and its economic and logistical arm, the Three Seas Initiative (3SI or TSI), is a continuation of the Polish Intermarium, a predatory interwar project of the Polish bourgeoisie against Soviet Russia.

The two countries held a joint Government Meeting in Warsaw on Thursday to reinforce their direct collaboration. A Polish military contingent, it was announced, will be participating in the newly formed Romanian NATO Battle Group.

Romania President Klaus Iohannis maneuvered feverishly in the past week to be recognized by the imperialist powers as an important player in the Ukrainian conflict. On Thursday European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that Romania will open a so-called “humanitarian hub” in Romania that will be used to funnel weapons into Ukraine, similar to an existing structure in Poland.

The two countries are also hosting the components of the US “anti-missile shield.” The launch pad in Deveselu, Romania, which became operational in 2016, has since been repeatedly denounced by Russia as a threat to its security.

Iohannis is working closely with Maia Sandu, the president of neighboring Moldova. Moldova is a former Soviet republic, landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, and sharing linguistic and cultural ties to Romania. The territory has in the past been the scene of violent conflicts, including a brief war in the 1990s in which Romanian-backed Moldova fought Russian forces over what would become the breakaway territory of Transnistria.

Since independence from the USSR, the country’s internal life has been dominated by the attempt of US and EU imperialism to enlist it against Russia. This has included a color revolution in 2009, as well as internal turmoil in recent years. The regime now headed by Maia Sandu is a staunchly anti-Russian one. The country has in recent years moved to closer integration of its army with NATO forces stationed in the region, as well as to deepen its energy and logistic connections to Romania.

Iohannis has repeatedly suggested in recent months that Romania will “stand by” Moldova and offer its full support. Sandu has declared a state of alert in Moldova at the beginning of the war and has, together with Ukraine, cut off its energy links to Russia on the eve of the military conflict. Moldova continues to assert that the small Russian garrison in Transnistria constitutes an occupation force on its territory.

Moldova and Georgia officially announced their bid for EU membership on March 3.

In February Iohannis announced the formation of a Romanian NATO battle group, after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, who insisted on France being a “framework nation” in it. In a statement that is revealing of the way in which the population is kept in the dark of what are essentially military conspiracies, Iohannis stated, after explaining that all the details are in place and that “we know where it will be positioned” and that “in the end, when all is clarified and resolved, we will be able to make public statements about who is participating, where they will be positioned and other interesting details for the Romanian audience, but for the time being, no.”

French troops, part of NATO’s Response Force, have already made their way to Constanta County’s Mihail Kogălniceanu airbase, part of an initial contingent of 500 troops.

The SPD German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht met on March 3 with her Romanian counterpart Social Democrat Vasile Dincu on the Kogălniceanu airbase to inspect the German deployment there. According to the Romanian government’s sources, the German contingent comprises 75 servicemen and 6 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

At the end of February, Italy sent for more planes and now has 8 fighters based on the airfield. Spain has sent 4 fighters and 130 servicemen to Bulgaria.

Romania essentially serves as a launching pad for the U.S. Air Force at the Black Sea, with important US bases and installations dotted around the country.

Romania itself has acquired, since the 2016 intensification of anti-Russian actions, 17 F16 fighter jets to complement its fleet of older MiG-21 Lancers.

The “Enhanced air police” operations that these forces are engaged in, even before the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, consist of constant shadowing and harassing Russian planes and vessels in the Black Sea.

The Bulgaria government is also signaling its full support for the imperialist push against Russia. The country is now ruled by a staunchly anti-Russian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov. His pro-EU party is heading a shaky coalition which includes the BSP for Bulgaria. BSP for Bulgaria is an alliance of Stalinist, Green and pseudo-left organizations, dominated by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, successor of the ruling Bulgarian Communist Party.

Petkov sacked his Defense Minister Stefan Yanev over his insufficient condemnation of Russia. Yanev had suggested that Bulgaria abstain from adopting a “pro-Russian, pro-American or pro-European position.” A retired general and former prime minister of the country, Yanev was no doubt giving voice to sections of the Bulgarian oligarchy who believe Bulgaria would benefit more from taking on the role of a mediator between the NATO powers and the Russian regime.

Socialist Party MPs have sparred with the government in recent weeks over the exact nature and wording of Bulgaria’s direct aid to Ukraine, but nevertheless the party maintains full support for the government.

Workers in Eastern Europe must reject the imperialist drive to war, which threatens humanity with a nuclear catastrophe and join their class brothers and sisters in Ukraine, Russia and around the world to fight for the building an international anti-war movement.