The military incursion of Russian forces into Ukraine has seriously ratcheted up tensions in the region, across Europe and internationally, and increased the danger of ‘great power’ confrontation and even nuclear war. This military action must end as quickly as possible, and with minimum loss of lives, especially among the civilian population, and a negotiated political settlement to the crisis must be sought and secured.
The Communist Party of Canada condemns the Canadian government’s role in stoking tensions leading to the outbreak of war in Europe, sending troops, arms, and funds to Ukraine while insisting that war between Russia and Ukraine is inevitable.
Instead of working to find a peaceful, negotiated political solution Canada’s government has once again taken its lead from the US and NATO, provoking the Russian Federation and ignoring Russia’s legitimate security concerns arising from NATO’s relentless Eastern expansion. The drive to war includes transmitting war propaganda as factual information on publicly owned media like CBC.
In 1990, the US then-Secretary of State James Baker made an agreement with USSR’s President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not extend its eastern reach beyond Germany’s borders, and then proceeded to do exactly that, in the process encircling Russia with NATO states, military encampments and weapons all pointing at Russia. The 2014 Maidan coup d’état installed a far-right nationalist government, with the open participation of fascist and Nazi elements in Ukraine. This was immediately followed by overt discriminatory attacks and threats against the large Russian-speaking minority in the country, and led directly to Crimea’s secession and the formation of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. It also further escalated tensions with its Russian neighbour to the north. This came to a head last Sunday when Ukraine’s President Zelensky told a NATO Security Summit that Ukraine sought immediate membership in NATO and would consider repeal of its non-nuclear status, opening the door to the installation of nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil by NATO.
This was immediately followed by last week’s shelling of the newly independent republics in the Eastern Donbas by Ukrainian military forces and fascist militias.
It seems more than likely that these events contributed to the Russian decision to respond with military force February 24th. Perhaps the loss of 27 million Soviet citizens in the last great European war had a bearing on this decision.
Whatever the reason, Canada could have acted to de-escalate the growing crisis long before war broke out, by insisting the agreement to limit NATO’s eastward expansion should be honoured; by repatriating Canadian troops stationed in Latvia; by refusing to send additional troops and arms to Ukraine; by insisting the Minsk agreements be honoured by the Kiev government; and by pressing for negotiations leading to a peaceful, political solution.
Today, Canada must act to put out the fire it has helped to set, before it grows and expands to involve all of Europe. The Canadian government must:
- Repatriate Canadian troops, arms and military equipment located in Europe
- Demand that the US, NATO and EU immediately withdraw from the region and the conflict, and honour the agreement to limit NATO’s eastern European border to Germany
- Press for a negotiated political solution between Russia, Ukraine and the republics in the Donbas The US, Canada and NATO are not the world’s police force.
Working people in Canada and around the world who support peace and political solutions- not military force – will need to act quickly to rebuild the powerful peace movements capable of stopping and preventing wars while holding governments to account. Canada’s immediate withdrawal from NATO would be a good first step towards its complete dissolution.
February 24, 2022