The escalation of the Russian-American conflict into a Russian-Ukrainian war is a tragic development.

The Workers’ Party of Ireland is mindful of the loss of human life and the destruction of valuable infrastructure and calls upon all parties, including the USA, to de-escalate, which it could easily do by instructing its vassal in Kiev to act accordingly.

Likewise we call upon the Russian Federation to halt its attack and offer immediate negotiations in order to restore peace. Ukraine is caught in the middle and should take the opportunity to escape its status as a vassal of the US in order to pursue a neutral path that negates the reason for future conflict.

Contrary to the mainstream western narrative, the conflict is not just an arbitrary one in which Russia has suddenly decided to act as a cartoon-like Hollywood bad guy. Rather, it is the culmination of long simmering and multiple conflicts between the USA and Russia. While it is always tempting to succumb to the media narrative that it is only the most recent actions by the enemy of the month that are the sole cause of the conflict, the reality is quite the opposite.

The Soviet Union, i.e., the predecessor state to Russia, took the historically unprecedented step of withdrawing its forces from Eastern Europe and permitting a very peaceful breakup into Russia and other states, including Ukraine. Its reward for that was its looting by western capitalists, widespread poverty, and a massive increase in the death rate.

The Soviet peace moves of 1989 and the early 1990s were wrongly taken as a Russian surrender by the Atlantic powers. Rather than disband NATO, as had occurred with the Soviet equivalent, the Warsaw Pact, the US-led alliance in fact expanded in contravention to assurances given to Russia that there would be no move east of Germany. This was clearly an aggressive move against Russia.

Nor has that expansion ceased. The USA wishes to incorporate Ukraine formally into NATO and, given that it installed a puppet regime in the anti-democratic 2014 Colour Revolution, it has had no trouble at all in ensuring its writ was followed in Kiev.

For it should not be forgotten that the post-2014 incarnation of the Ukrainian state was a puppet regime of Washington’s installed by a fake revolution financed to the tune of billions and midwifed by actual neo-Nazi militias. There is no doubt about this.

Victoria Nuland, the then US Secretary of European Affairs, is on record at the time in choosing the post-revolution President. These Neo-Nazi militias hunted pro-Russian groups, including in the infamous burning alive of dozens of trade unionists in Odessa. Washington spent hundreds of millions on its NGO pets and these Nazi militias (which seem to be of very little concern to so-called antifascists in the US and western Europe) to foment anti-Russian sentiment and to forcibly bring it into its orbit. It was a coup d’etat, not a democratic transition.

At every stage since the 1990s Russia objected to the US militarisation of Eastern Europe and pointed out, in increasingly stark tones, that it could not accept NATO’s further expansion if it wished to keep its sovereignty.

Washington’s desire to cripple and puppet Russia is, therefore, the crucial dynamic at the heart of their rivalry. Of course, this treatment is no different to that meted out by the US to pretty much every other state, whether capitalist or socialist, that hints at wanting to go its own way; the difference is that Russia has the capacity to meaningfully refuse and therefore fight against its subordination. Hence the current conflict.

This is the fundamental context in which the Russian invasion occurred. The combined effect of chauvinistic anti-Russian sentiment (to the degree that Nazism itself was integral part of the post-2014 state apparatus) and imminent danger of a US military presence presented Russia with a stark choice: accept being placed in a state of siege or strike before the American presence became too great.

In order to minimise the consequences of the invasion, the leaders of the relevant states should convene an immediate conference to discuss a long-term arrangement to secure peace in eastern Europe up to including de-militarisation and de-Nazification.

It would be preferable for Europeans to do so without the input of the USA as their demonstrable incapacity to maintain agreements is extremely disruptive to the peaceful settlement of disputes. The security of each state cannot be at the expense of other states as it will only ignite a round of escalating counter-measures, as the present situation illustrates. The example of a neutral post-war Austria should be the template for a settlement of the Ukraine issue.

The consequences of war are hard to predict, both in terms of its direct impact on life and property and the longer term implications for the balance of power. The demilitarisation of Ukraine and its consequent exit from the American sphere would be a positive development and is certainly worth pursuing at a peace conference.

The USA refused to engage in that but its abandonment of Ukraine should signal to Kiev that it needs to engage in negotiations without the expectation that the US will come to its rescue. It will not. As such it has good reason to offer to open serious negotiations about its status. Likewise it is incumbent on Russia to once again offer to negotiate a peaceful resolution now that Kiev’s illusions in America’s friendship should have been lifted.