16 Jan 2023 • by Lindsey German https://www.stopwar.org.uk/
SENDING ARMS TO UKRAINE IS NOT HELPING THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY, BUT IS LIKELY TO MAKE WAR THERE LONGER AND MORE BLOODY WRITES LINDSEY GERMAN
There is a concerted effort going on to send large numbers of battle tanks to Ukraine in a major escalation of arms shipments there. Right at the centre of these efforts is the British government. It refuses to countenance peace in a country which has been shattered by war over the past year. Many thousands have died, millions more are displaced or refugees, and daily they fear the threat of further attacks.
The war is completely unjustified, the result of Vladimir Putin’s invasion last February. But continuing it and escalating the conflict almost certainly will not bring a speedy end to the war, but will prolong the suffering of ordinary people on both sides.
The Tory government under Boris Johnson was instrumental in preventing peace talks coming to fruition last year. Now it is leading the charge to send more arms. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly declared in the Sun last weekend that he wants to give Ukraine ‘the tools they need’ in order to ‘finish the job’ of defeating Russia. Cleverly has committed to sending 14 Challenger tanks – the main purpose in doing so is not military, but political. Britain’s role internationally is to put pressure on other countries to increase their shipments of arms to Ukraine. He says, ‘Now is the time to accelerate and go further and faster in giving Ukraine the support it needs.’
Cleverly and Defence Minister, Ben Wallace, are engaged in a diplomatic charm offensive designed to get Germany in particular to send more of its Leopard tanks – and to give permission to other countries which have bought those tanks to send them on to Ukraine. The major powers are meeting at Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday where they are to announce further support. NATO General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, told the German paper Handelsblatt that he expected more pledges for heavy weapons support.
The political fallout from all this is particularly clear in Germany, where the defence minister has just resigned from Olaf Schulz’s beleaguered government. He has repeatedly tried to hold the line against sending more heavy weapons but is under constant pressure, not least from the Ukrainian government itself, to send tanks and other weaponry. Both Germany and Japan, the two defeated powers who had major restrictions placed on rearmament after 1945, are embarked on major arms spending and military programmes as part of the new cold war against Russia and China.
We are seeing the remilitarisation of Europe on the biggest scale since that war, growing military conflict in the Pacific against China, and high levels of international instability caused by the war in Ukraine and tensions over Taiwan, plus the continuing expansion of NATO in Europe.
Sending arms to Ukraine is not helping the people of the country but is likely to make war there longer and more bloody. Nor should those who want to help the victims of war be taken in by the demands of this brutal Tory government which constantly demands more military spending, more weaponry and more war. They no more care about the interests of the Ukrainian people than they do of people here in Britain who face constant attacks on their living conditions and rights to join unions or to protest. Their aim is to defeat and seriously weaken Russia as much as possible – whatever the human cost. A ceasefire and peace talks do not solve all of the problems – but they are the precondition for beginning to do so.