No. 8July 21, 2023
U.S./NATO Proxy War in Ukraine
More U.S. Weapons for Ukraine
The United States has announced that it will provide an additional $1.3 billion in weapons aid for Ukraine, deepening its involvement in the war in defiance of repeated warnings by Russia. The package, announced on July 19, includes air defence systems and related munitions, anti-tank missiles, drones and other military equipment. It will be supplied through the U.S. arms industry. The U.S. has provided more than $42 billion in arms and military services to Ukraine since Russia launched its special military operation in late February 2022.
The U.S. convened the 14th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, held virtually, on July 18 after which U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley held a joint press conference, to keep peddling the U.S./NATO narrative that has nothing to do with reality. “We’re following on the heels of a highly-successful NATO Summit in Vilnius last week,” Milley said. “Now, we’re all – we’re seeing Ukraine make progress, and Russia loses – Russia’s losses continue to mount,” he said, even though no one else is seeing it. They reportedly discussed plans to ramp up production to meet Ukraine’s urgent ammunition needs and a “comprehensive training plan” for the coalition of 11 countries that will train Ukrainians on the U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, headed by Denmark and the Netherlands and that includes Canada. It was also announced that Sweden and France have both signed bilateral agreements with Ukraine for defence procurements.
Defense Secretary Austin said that as Ukraine “continues its counteroffensive, we are reminded that real war is not war on paper. Real war is unpredictable, it’s filled with fear and fog and friction. Real war is brutal. The crucible of combat has enormous costs, in terms of killed, wounded, displaced persons and refugees, and yet despite the enormous costs, the Ukrainians are advancing steadily and deliberately, braving brutal and bloody battles to reclaim their homeland. As we publicly said weeks ago, this offensive will be slow, it’ll be difficult and it’ll come at a high cost. This battle continues as the Ukrainians fight through dense minefields and obstacles while a robust Ukrainian reserve force lies in wait to be committed at the optimal time and place of Ukrainian choosing. […] Right now, they are preserving their combat power and they are slowly and deliberately and steadily working their way through all these minefields.”
However, European media sources have reported Ukrainian forces abandoning the European provided tanks in the minefields and trying to walk back to their own lines. “It’s a tough fight.” Milley said. “It’s a very difficult fight.”
In response to a question about when and what role F-16 jets would play in the Ukraine conflict, Milley said that providing Ukraine with just 10 F-16s would cost U.S.$2 billion. “The Russians,” he said, “have hundreds of fourth- and fifth-generation airframes. So if they’re going to try to match the Russians one for one, or even, you know, two-to-one, you’re talking about a large number of aircraft. That’s going to take years to train the pilots, years to do the maintenance and sustainment, years to generate that degree of financial support to do that. You’re talking way more billions of dollars than has already been generated.”
Russia Terminates Grain Transit Deal Due to Sabotage and Non-Compliance
On July 17, the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation announced that Russia has terminated its participation in the Grain Transit arrangement which guaranteed safe passage of grain shipments from Ukraine via the Black Sea. It cited failure by the UN to fulfil any obligations to Russia under the agreement. The statement said:
“The blatant sabotage of the Istanbul agreements defeats the purpose of continuing the Black Sea Initiative which did not live up to its humanitarian rationale.
“In accordance with paragraph H of the agreement, Russia objects to an extension, of which the Turkish and Ukrainian sides, as well as the UN Secretariat, were officially informed today. This means revoking safe navigation guarantees, curtailing the maritime humanitarian corridor, resuming the status of a temporarily dangerous area in the northwestern Black Sea and disbanding the JCC in Istanbul. Without Russia, the Black Sea Initiative will cease to operate as of July 18.”
The UN admitted that it could not meet any of the obligations to Russia under the agreement, such as facilitating the transfer of Russian ammonia through the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline to Russia, Ukraine and Türkiye or the removal of restrictions by the EU and U.S. on exports of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers. Russian ammonia is an important feedstock for nitrate fertilizer producers in Morocco, Turkey, Southeast Asia and Africa, the production of which the UN claims to be concerned about to address worldwide food shortages. Russia had twice extended the transit agreement giving the UN the opportunity to meet the terms of the agreement, to no avail. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres did not mention any of this when he decried Russia’s termination of the agreement and, on the contrary, went on a rant against Russia.
Despite the claims of the U.S., EU and Ukraine that Russia’s withdrawal is weaponizing food and depriving countries most in need of Ukrainian grain, the facts speak for themselves. The statement of the Russian Federation points out: “For the duration of the Black Sea initiative a total of 32.8 million tons of cargoes were delivered, of which more than 70 per cent (26.3 million tons) were supplied to countries with high and above average levels of income, including EU countries. The poorest countries, Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia in particular, accounted for less than 3 per cent, or 922,092 tons.” “Western corporations Cargill, DuPont and [Bayer]” own “the bulk of Ukrainian farmland,” the statement pointed out. “On the other hand, the Europeans that buy Ukrainian food at artificially lowered prices later process it at their facilities to be further resold as ready products with high added value. In fact, the West makes double – on sale and on processing grain. Moreover, the U.S. and the EU cash in on prices by creating artificial shortages of goods and squeezing Russian agricultural products out from global markets by introducing illegal unilateral sanctions,” the Ministry noted.
Russia stated that its grain and agricultural products will continue to be shipped using alternative routes and that it would return to the Black Sea grain transit arrangement only when the U.S. and EU complied with the spirit and letter of the agreement and lifted their restrictions on sales and deliveries of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers.
Ukrainian President Zelensky argued that “Ukraine, the UN and Türkiye together can ensure the operation of a food corridor and vessel inspections.” He proposed transit routes that keep to the territorial waters of various Black Sea coastal countries. Türkiye rejected Ukraine’s proposal that its navy escort grain transport vessels.
Meanwhile, five central European countries, having experienced mass protests by grain producing farmers in their own countries after Ukrainian grain flooded their domestic markets, jointly asked the EU to prolong the ban on Ukrainian agricultural imports beyond the initial September 15 expiry date. On May 2, following farmers protests in these countries, the European Commission put in place a month-long ban on wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds to “alleviate logistical bottlenecks” related to these goods in the five countries. The ban was extended on June 5, set to expire by September 15. In exchange, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia pledged to cancel their unilateral limits on these and other products from Ukraine. They are still obligated to transport these products elsewhere.
All attempts to blame Russia for food shortages in Europe and for food aid not reaching African countries in need are bogus and self-serving to cover up the role of the conglomerates such as Cargill, DuPont and Bayer and of the role U.S. and European states are playing in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Counter-Offensive Fails
Two mechanized brigades said to represent a “top-level NATO-level capability” were deployed in early June to achieve victory against the Russian armed forces prior to the Vilnius NATO Summit, but they failed completely, former UN weapons inspector and U.S. Marines intelligence expert Scott Ritter informs. Equipped with modern Western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, supported by Western-supplied artillery, and using NATO-specific tactics shaped by NATO-provided intelligence and NATO operational planning, the result was a scene of U.S. M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and German-made Leopard 2A6 tanks “abandoned and burning on the Ukrainian steppe.” The harsh truth of the failure to achieve the strategic defeat of Russia is starting to sink in, Ritter writes.
According to Ritter: “The reality, however, is that Ukraine was never going to achieve its stated objective of punching through the Russian defences to sever the land bridge connecting Crimea with Russia proper. This was pie-in-the-sky thinking promulgated by Ukraine’s Western supporters to motivate the Ukrainians into committing the equivalent of mass suicide to inflict similarly prohibitive casualties among the Russian defenders.
“The Western hope was that Russia would become demoralized by these casualties and accept a negotiated end to the conflict on terms acceptable to both Ukraine and its Western allies.
“So far, Ukraine and its Western allies have failed.”
Ritter attributes the failure to two things: “First, the low opinion Ukraine and their NATO allies had regarding the combat capabilities of the Russian army, and in particular those forces deployed in the Zaporozhye region, and second, the unrealistic expectations assigned to NATO training and equipment that had been provided to the Ukrainian forces assigned the task of breaking through the Russian defences.”
Ritter explains that “the place chosen by NATO and Ukrainian intelligence as the ‘weak spot’ in the Russian defensive scheme was designed by Russia’s top specialist in defensive combat and placed under his direct command.” This refers to Colonel General Alexander Romanchuk, “the man who is responsible for conceiving modern Russian defensive doctrine.” He writes:
“In April 2023, Romanchuk, who at that time was serving as the Rector of the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (the equivalent of the United States Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth), co-authored an article titled ‘Prospects for Improving the Efficiency of Army Defensive Operations.’
“In the article, Romanchuk noted that the main mission of a defending force ‘is to neutralize the initiative of the advancing enemy, i.e., to bring him to the state of impossibility to continue advancing with deployed forces. Ultimately, this allows you to reduce his activity and seize the initiative by going over to a decisive counter-offensive to defeat the enemy with shock groups.'”
According to Ritter, “NATO and Ukraine gambled that Russia lacked the military capacity to successfully implement its own military doctrine, believing that Russian command staffs lacked the communications necessary to coordinate the complex operations necessary to implement this doctrine, and that the Russian forces — especially those who were recently mobilized — lacked both the training and morale needed to perform well under stressful combat conditions.
“They were wrong on both counts.”
He explains what happened as follows:
“U.S. ‘experts’ like Mark Hertling, a retired U.S. Army general, believed that the combination of advanced western military equipment and superior NATO-style tactics ‘will allow Ukraine’s emerging combined-arms teams to conduct high-tempo manoeuvre[s]’ capable of overwhelming the Russian defenders in Ukraine.
“He was wrong.
“Hertling and his active-duty NATO brethren would have done well to listen to the words of General Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, when speaking before a Swedish defence conference this past January.
“‘The scale of this war [i.e., the Russian-Ukraine conflict] is out of proportion with all of our recent thinking,’ Cavoli noted.”
Ritter concludes: “The takeaway from this revelation is that NATO is neither trained nor equipped to fight the kind of fight they are demanding Ukraine execute against Russia.” He writes “…NATO lacks the ability, both in terms of equipment and doctrine, to successfully defeat Russia in a force-on-force confrontation, especially one which has Russia playing to its doctrinal strength (defensive operations) while NATO seeks to do something (an assault against prepared defences) that it has no experience in doing.
“Moreover, NATO and the Ukrainian high command threw the Ukrainian brigades into the teeth of the Russian defensive buzzsaw without adequate fire support, meaning that the Russians were free to maximize their superiority in artillery and air power to neutralize and destroy the Ukrainian attacking forces before they could generate the momentum expected from ‘high-tempo manoeuvre.’
“The end result: Russian reality trumped NATO theory on the battlefield, and it is Ukraine’s military that once again paid the heaviest price. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that this situation will change anytime soon, if ever, a fact that bodes poorly for the future of Ukraine and NATO going forward.”
The full article can be accessed here: Sputnik International, June 10, 2023.
U.S. Contempt for Human Beings and the Rule of Law
Destruction of U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile and Shipment of Cluster Munitions to Ukraine
On July 7, the U.S. President announced in a White House statement, “Today, I am proud to announce that the United States has safely destroyed the final munition in that stockpile – bringing us one step closer to a world free from the horrors of chemical weapons. […] Russia and Syria should return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC] and admit their undeclared programs, which have been used to commit brazen atrocities and attacks.”
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) states on its website: “The last chemical munition of the United States of America’s declared [emphasis added] chemical weapons stockpile was irreversibly destroyed in accordance with the CWC on Friday, July 7, 2023 at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Kentucky.”
On that same day, in an exclusive television interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN, Joe Biden defended his decision to send Ukraine cluster munitions, which are prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The text of the Convention was adopted by 107 states on May 30, 2008 and signed by 94 states on December 3-4, 2008. The United States and Ukraine are not parties to it. Biden said, “It was a very difficult decision on my part. And by the way, I discussed it with our allies, I discussed it with our friends on the Hill.” He added, “The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.”
CNN reports, “The cluster munitions that the U.S. will send to Ukraine will be compatible with U.S.-provided 155mm howitzers.” None of Biden, Zakaria nor CNN have seen fit to point out that the export of these weapons is prohibited by the U.S. Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 111-8) and that the President is therefore violating the law.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will continue to argue strongly that cluster bombs “should not be used.” He was quick to add that he “understands countries are sending as many munitions as they can to Kyiv.”
As far as chemical weapons are concerned, the stockpile that is being talked about is what the U.S. is willing to declare. No one questions that there is an undeclared stockpile on clandestine sites or in foreign countries. Let’s not forget that the U.S. has a long history of using chemical weapons, including Agent Orange during the Vietnam War between 1961 and 1971.
And we must remember too that the U.S. flooded Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with cluster munitions during its wars of aggression. Eighty million of the 260 million cluster bombs dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973 failed to explode and they continue to injure and kill thousands of people every year.
All this took place just days before the July 11-12 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. The biggest warmongers hoped to save themselves by condemning others and to divert attention from their own war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Torturer-in-Chief Decries Use of Torture
On June 26, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. “reaffirms our condemnation of torture wherever and whenever it occurs and stands in solidarity with victims and survivors of torture around the world. The absolute prohibition of torture is a human right enshrined in U.S. and international law. We recognize the bravery, humanity, and dignity of torture survivors around the world.
Twelve days earlier, on June 14, the UN Special Rapporteur reported on the technical visit to the United States and the U.S. detention facility at the U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The territory rightfully belongs to Cuba but has been operating as an off-shore black ops facility and torture chamber where the U.S. claims it can do whatever it likes because U.S. law does not apply. The visit was comprised of three parts: the rights of victims of terrorism, the rights of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, and the rights of former detainees.