A war rages in Ukraine, of a kind and intensity not seen since the Korean and world wars. Countries in the US sphere of influence have levelled sanctions against Russia and materially support Ukraine by sending weapons to it, training its troops, having on ground coordinators, spies and special operation troops, providing relevant intelligence to its forces and being the source of volunteers.

One can accurately describe the war as one between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia; with Ukraine being NATO’s proxy.The Russian-Ukrainian conflict can be said to have begun in 2014 following an American backed revolution that removed Ukrainian pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, this led to attacks on pro-Russian demonstrators, annexation of Crimea by Russia in April of that year and declaration of independence by the Donetsk and Luhansk peoples’ republics. In the Donbas region of Ukraine, war raged between the separatists and Ukrainian authorities and on the 24th of February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine.

One may inquire; what caused this war? What factors lead to this war? Why did Russia invade Ukraine? What do they hope to achieve by this invasion? Conventional wisdom in the west places the blame for this war at Russia’s feet; they accuse Putin of being irredentist and revanchist, they even claim that he wishes to conquer all of Europe. In western opinion, the west is absolved of all culpability and Russia is solely to blame, but others like Pope Francis point out that the west may be responsible to some degree for this conflict.

On the 21st of February 2022, just three days before Russia invaded Ukraine, Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian Federation, in that address he gave various reasons for Russia’s actions regarding Ukraine. Putin and various Russian officials have given at many points in time reasons for their activities in Ukraine, these reasons differ greatly from those given by western officials and commentators and they place the blame for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict at the feet of the west; several western observers albeit a small percentage agree with them.

NATO expansion

One major factor responsible for the present conflict in Ukraine is NATO’S expansion. This has been stated by Russian officials and western commentators alike as being a chief reason for the conflict in Ukraine. NATO was established on the 4th of April 1949 to counter the then Soviet Union, its basic idea is collective defense.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany, there was a verbal agreement between Russia and NATO that NATO will not expand further. That obviously didn’t deter NATO as it expanded further; the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO in 1999, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined in 2004, Albania and Croatia joined in 2009, Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020. Russians view NATO as a threat to their existence as the stated aims of NATO are aimed at countering it.One may ask, why is Russia just now interested in countering NATO? Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Russia’s abandonment of the Warsaw pact. Russia felt that it had done enough to ease tensions with the west and even asked to join NATO. Russia like many other former soviet states was besieged with widespread poverty, unemployment and crime.

Various organized criminal groups operated with impunity, the educational level dropped and there was a mass exodus out of Russia; Russia was vulnerable and too weak to contend with the west. When the first set of post-Soviet dissolution NATO expansion happened in the 90’s, Boris Yeltsin the then president of Russia, considered by most as an American stooge, registered a complaint against such an expansion but Russian complains and concerns were disregarded by the west. Russia sees NATO’s movement of missiles and other offensive weapons into the Baltics and eastern Europe as a serious threat to its security and as railed consistently against that.

Some are of the opinion that Russia has no business with the weapon systems of their neighbors and the alliances they choose to join; such an opinion is either hypocritical or due to ignorance regarding great power politics. I will remind readers of the Cuba missile crisis and the tantrum that America threw when the then Soviet Union moved missiles into Cuba, I will also enjoin readers to look up the Monroe doctrine; a doctrine that basically describes the Americas as the backyard of the USA giving the US ability to meddle as they see fit in countries in this geographical space and preventing other powers from doing same. It then becomes easy to understand that Russia experiences an existential angst as NATO expands. NATO pronounced in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia would join NATO, a pronouncement that Vladimir Putin was vehemently opposed to. Russia invaded Georgia later that year which was probably a signal that Russia will not accept further NATO expansion. NATO on its part moved swiftly to integrate Ukraine into its military network; it trained Ukraine’s military, moved weapon systems into Ukraine, set up bases in Ukraine and even involved Ukraine in its numerous military exercises that were aimed against Russia; even going as far as carrying out such exercises in the black sea. Russia petitioned NATO and the US to stop their activities in Ukraine but their entreaties were ignored, when Russia saw that a diplomatic approach was ineffective they attempted to salvage the situation and prevent a war by setting forward the following proposals to NATO: That NATO stop any further expansion, that NATO stop deploying weapon systems on its borders and that NATO roll back its military capability and infrastructure in Europe to where they were in 1997, these proposals were ignored by NATO.

A new cold war and the advance of globalism

To those paying attention, it will not be news that the US has resumed its cold war with the main successor to the Soviet Union; Russia. Russophobia in the west is very high and some estimate that present levels surpass that present in the time of the Soviet Union. Russia gets accused everyday in the west and especially in USA of a multitude of crimes and malevolent actions; they are accused of election interference, being the cause of a rise in the far right in the west and a host of other actions each one more unbelievable than the former. Beneath this rampant Russophobia lies an even more sinister agenda in the US, one that is violently antagonistic to Russia and one that seeks to destroy it.

As the world leaves behind an era of multipolarity with the emergence of China as a great power and the resurgence of Russia under Vladimir Putin, the US yearns for a return to a unipolar world where it did as it pleased without repercussions and consequences; to this end it will wage war against Russia and China to assert its dominance. There are policy makers in the US who seek to balkanize Russia, thereby making it less powerful and less of a threat to the US.

The US is angered by Russia thwarting its imperial plans as they did in Syria and are presently doing in Ukraine. They wish to prevent Russia from doing so in the future. The stated aims of their recent sanctions and their proxy war in Ukraine is to severely weaken Russia economically and militarily in other to render them incapable of being a competitor to the US. The mechanism through which the US advances its empire and through it the interests of the globalists and by globalists I refer to international financiers and multinational companies. The US does this by carrying out color revolutions and coups in countries not aligned to it, it funds separatist groups and also dissidents; it encourages them to rebel and trains them to carry out revolutions. It aims to install in power in these countries rulers who are subservient to them and are willing recipients of their policies, they privatize the properties of this countries and sell them to multinational companies, they steal resources from these countries and enroll them into multinational organizations that further erode the sovereignty of these countries.

Russia is vehemently opposed to US imperialism and do not want to be plundered by the US. They have come to appreciate that due to their size and the huge natural resources they possess that they will forever be enemies of the US. They view any US coup, revolution, installation of weapon systems in eastern Europe and especially on their border as a provocation and a threat to which they are obligated to respond for the sake of their national security. It is no surprise then that a stronger Russia intervened in Ukraine when America carried out a coup in Ukraine and took over the running of it. They could not allow US to operate unchecked in a nation bordering them especially one with whom they share close ties. The Russians view it as an existential threat that the US are setting up weapon systems in Ukraine as they could easily set up nuclear weapons and seriously shorten Russia’s nuclear reaction time giving US the edge in the event of a nuclear war.

Even in the event of a conventional war between the US and Russia, the US having a foothold in Ukraine puts Russia at an immense disadvantage and the possible repercussions for Russia are immense. For a country such as the US and the west in general who are openly hostile to Russia and who seek its destruction, Russia can not allow them to gain a strategic military advantage over it.

An Opinion article by Emeasoba Sylvester