U.S. ramps up war talk as it points more missiles at Russia
At a sealed military installation in the Polish town of Redzikowo, the U.S. has stationed its Aegis missile defense system, designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. A violation of past weapons control treaties between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the missile system is a threat to military stability in Europe. | Mark Wright / Missile Defense Agency via AP

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken went on national television Thursday morning to declare, again, that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could start at any moment. His dire prediction was yet another in the endless string of declarations by the U.S. that war could start at any moment. It followed by only a day the passing of February 16, the date the U.S. said last week would be the day of a likely Russian invasion.

Nevertheless, Blinken did say there would be further talks with the Russians. He mentioned, for the first time, that the Minsk Protocols of 2014 should be a basis for those talks. Russia has been insisting for months that those accords, agreed to by both Ukraine and Russia, be implemented. They call for autonomy for Donetsk and Lugansk, the two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine, while leaving the government in Kiev a say on foreign policy regarding them. The U.S. interprets the agreements differently, however, so where the discussions on the Minsk Protocols lead is unknown.

Protesters march through the town of Slupsk, northern Poland, March 29, 2008. They were rallying against U.S. plans to build a missile base on the outskirts of Slupsk, in the shuttered Redzikowo airbase. The placard reads, ‘No to U.S.A. base.’ The base was built and is now operational. | AP

President Joe Biden poured oil on the fire Thursday by rejecting announcements by Russia that it was withdrawing additional troops from its border areas with Ukraine, on top of the 10,000 it said it was withdrawing earlier this week. Biden dismissed the idea there have been any Russian troop withdrawals and insisted he still expects an invasion any day.

Biden’s remarks followed apparent additional shelling of the breakaway Russian-speaking areas in eastern Ukraine by Ukrainian troops stationed along the borders of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics and by what the West says was shelling of the Ukrainian side by the separatists.

Regardless of the veracity of the conflicting reports, there can be no argument with the fact that some 18,000 Russian-speaking civilians in the breakaway republics have been killed by the Ukrainian troops stationed along their borders. So far, President Vladimir Putin has resisted votes by his own parliament that Russia recognize them as independent countries.

The media in the U.S. was obsessed more than ever Thursday with trying to “figure out the motives” of Putin as if that was the secret to achieving peace. Stopping NATO encirclement of Russia as the means to achieve peace appears to never cross the minds of the media talking heads.

In this vein, Putin is concerned with recent moves by the U.S. to step up its placement of offensive missiles with nuclear capabilities, first in Slovakia and now in Poland.

In the latter country, where the U.S. has just sent 3,000 additional troops to top off the 5,000 already there, there is now a fully-equipped U.S. missile base in Redzikowo, just 300 miles from the Russian border. Previously enforced with anti-ballistic missiles that can shoot down any kind of rocket launched from anywhere in the world, the Redzikow base has now been equipped with the capability to launch offensive nuclear missiles that can reach Moscow in minutes.

The same moves were made earlier this week at two military bases that the U.S. took over in Slovakia, which borders Ukraine. Putin condemned the U.S. for “bringing nuclear missiles right to our home, on our doorstep.”

People in the Polish and Slovak towns involved have been protesting the placement of U.S. weapons near their homes. Very few see NATO membership worth the cost of having themselves put in perhaps the most dangerous hot seats on the planet.

Speaking about the danger of war to the New York Times, Beatrice Jurysz, the mayor of Redzikowo said, “If something happens we will be the first to know, unfortunately.”

The U.S. missile placements in Slovakia and Poland, of course, give the lie to Biden and Blinken claims that NATO is not a threat to Russia.

Thanks to the placement of U.S. weapons at an abandoned airbase, the Polish village of Redzikowo is now on the frontlines of any future war. | Alik Keplicz / AP

Not left out of the plans of the U.S. militarists for years now are the Baltic States, which have hosted U.S. troops for even longer than Poland and Slovakia. People’s World covered the effects of anti-Russia U.S. deployments in Latvia already back in 2016 when it interviewed a leading member of that country’s Socialist Party. The name of the leader is withheld here because of threats against them by the Latvian government.

Latvia is a member of the EU which supposedly only admits democracies to membership. The “democratic” government of Latvia has banned numerous political parties, including the Communist Party in that country.

The Latvian Socialist Party member told People’s World that dealing with NATO and the EU, for people in her country, means dealing with profoundly undemocratic organizations.

“NATO and the EU are responsible for installing missiles on the borders of Russia,” she said. “In our country, we deal constantly with NATO military maneuvers, tanks, jeeps, and soldiers marching through the streets of Riga [the capital of Latvia].”

U.S. Army troops congregate during a NATO military exercise, in Riga, Latvia. | Oksana Dzadan / AP

She described how U.S.-backed NATO military maneuvers are kept secret from people in towns where they are about to occur. “I received a call last week from a friend in a town outside Riga. She was frightened and upset, describing how armed soldiers were running through the streets of her town, shouting and yelling and banging on doors. It went on for hours; people hid in their houses. In Riga, we would not have known about those maneuvers had it not been for word-of-mouth telling of the news.”

She scoffed at the idea that the EU or NATO provides protection for democratic rights. “In my country, they do nothing to protect democracy. The textbooks in our schools have been rewritten to remove anything positive about the Soviet Union; it is a crime to even speak publicly anything positive about the Soviet Union. The Communist Party has been banned; it is a criminal offense to be a communist.”

When the Nazis occupied Latvia in the early 1940s, they set up a network of concentration camps all over the country. “They even took the words for concentration camps out of our textbooks,” the Latvian socialist told People’s World. “They describe them instead as work camps.”


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. John Wojcik es editor en jefe de People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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