On Friday morning, the Washington Post reported that Russia has submitted a formal diplomatic note, protesting the US transfer of billions of dollars in military hardware to Ukraine, and raising the prospect of Russian retaliation against US/NATO arms shipments.
Russia’s diplomatic note accused the United States of “adding fuel” to the conflict and warned of “unpredictable consequences.”
It said, “We call on the United States and its allies to stop the irresponsible militarization of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security.”
Responding to these statements, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told CNN, “The Russians have said some things privately, they have said some things publicly; nothing will dissuade us from the strategy that we’ve embarked on.”
Price said that if Russia is concerned that the White House is “providing billions of dollars worth of security assistance to our Ukrainian partners … then we’re guilty as charged.”
These reckless statements came amid a major intensification of the war this week. On Thursday, the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, sank, after allegedly being struck by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles.
On Friday, the Pentagon backed the account of the Ukrainan government, saying the sinking of the vessel was the result of a Ukrainian strike, and not, as Russia had claimed, an accident.
A White House official told the Washington Post, “What the Russians are telling us privately is precisely what we’ve been telling the world publicly — that the massive amount of assistance that we’ve been providing our Ukrainian partners is proving extraordinarily effective.”
The Post also quoted George Beebe, former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and Russia adviser to former vice president Dick Cheney, as saying “They have targeted supply depots in Ukraine itself, where some of these supplies have been stored.”
Beebe continued, “The real question is do they go beyond attempting to target [the weapons] on Ukrainian territory, try to hit the supply convoys themselves and perhaps the NATO countries on the Ukrainian periphery” through which US supplies are transferred.
Beebe warned that if Russia suffers further military setbacks, “then I think the chances that Russia targets NATO supplies on NATO territory go up considerably… There has been an assumption on the part of a lot of us in the West that we could supply the Ukrainians really without limits and not bear significant risk of retaliation from Russia… I think the Russians want to send a message here that that’s not true.”
The US weapons being shipped to Ukraine include 300 “kamikaze drones” known as “Switchblades,” 300 armored vehicles, and 11 Mi-17 helicopters, as well as land mines, radar, thousands of anti-tank weapons and nuclear protective equipment. Announcing the action, the Pentagon declared, “The United States has now committed more than $3.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.” This includes $2.6 billion just within the past two months, since the beginning of the war.
The intensification of the war occurs against the backdrop of the militarization of Eastern Europe. Finland is “highly likely” to join NATO, the country’s Minister of European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen said in an interview on Friday, just days after Finland’s prime minister said the country would consider joining NATO in a matter of weeks.
On Friday, Reuters reported that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced another $2 billion in military spending, with over $432 million going to arms shipments to Ukraine.
In the aftermath of the sinking of the Moskva and Russian allegations of Ukrainian attacks on its soil, there were reports of missile strikes inside the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev.
As the war rapidly escalates, there is increasingly open talk of the use of nuclear weapons. On Thursday, William J. Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said Russia could respond to the escalation of the war with the use of nuclear weapons.
“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” Burns said at a question and answer session at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Asked to comment on Burn’s statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN Friday, “Not only me — all of the world, all of the countries have to be worried.”
The combination of Burn’s warning of the potential use of nuclear weapons and Price’s statement that “nothing will dissuade” the US from escalating the war paints a picture of staggering recklessness. The United States is massively expanding its aims in the conflict, seeking not just to “bleed Russia white” over months and years, but to impose a strategic defeat on Russia with the aim of overthrowing its government and installing a puppet regime.
A major contributing factor to the desperate and reckless policy of the Biden administration is the internal crisis in the United States. This week, Politico published an article entitled “Bidenworld projects calm about Covid but bite their nails in private,” which admitted that the Biden administration, having totally dismantled the infrastructure to track the COVID-19 pandemic in order to create a climate of “normalcy” has no idea how widespread the pandemic is in the US.
Prices are soaring, real wages are plummeting, and there is increasingly open talk of an imminent recession. Under these conditions, the Biden administration sees war as a desperate means to enforce “national unity” in the face of a growing movement of the working class not only in the United States, but internationally.
The Biden Administration’s intensification of US involvement in the war will, however, only deepen and intensify the crisis and spur the emergence of working-class opposition.