As the ink barely dry on the $40 billion arms and aid package signed May 21 by the Biden administration, the United States is still expanding the range of weapons it is flooding into Ukraine, creating the conditions for a vast expansion of the terrain on which the war is fought.
On Saturday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine had started taking delivery of the Harpoon anti-ship missile transferred from the United States via Denmark, as well as the M109 Paladin armored self-propelled howitzer directly the United States.
The M109, weighing nearly 30 tons, is capable of firing artillery shells, each weighing 100 pounds, at ranges of over 25 miles. The Harpoon, according to manufacturer Boeing, is “the most capable anti-ship missile in the world…capable of performing both land strike and anti-ship missions”.
Boeing writes, “The 500-pound explosive warhead provides lethal firepower against a wide variety of land targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities and ships in port.
The provision of these weapon systems means that Ukrainian forces will use the same anti-ship missiles and mobile artillery systems as the US Navy and Army.
Reznikov also announced that Ukraine recently received more than 100 drones. With the 25-mile firing range of the M109, the 77-mile range of the Harpoon, and US-purchased Bayraktar drones with a range of thousands of miles, the US has already provided Ukraine with the means to strike tens or hundreds of miles into Russian territory. .
Last week, a US official told Reuters that the United States does not impose any geographical limits on the use by Ukrainian forces of the weapons it supplies. “We have concerns about escalation and yet we still don’t want to impose geographic limits or tie their hands too much with what we give them,” the official said.
In other words, the US is effectively giving Ukraine a blank check for strikes inside Russian territory.
The Ukrainian army has already carried out multiple strikes in Russia, killing at least one civilian and injuring dozens. The Russian Defense Ministry has recently increased its troop and artillery deployments to the neighboring Kursk region of eastern Ukraine.
In addition to advanced weapons systems, the United States plans to supply Ukraine with longer-range weapons in the form of multiple rocket launchers potentially capable of striking deep inside Russia.
While Biden told reporters on Monday that the United States “was not going to send rocket systems capable of hitting Russia into Ukraine,” White House officials immediately clarified that Biden’s statement was largely meaningless.
According to the White House, this only applied to certain long-range munitions fired by systems the United States would supply, such as the MGM-140 ATACMS missile which has an effective range of up to 190 miles. These systems violate the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but the United States, which has killed thousands of people with cluster munitions in wars all over the world, is not respecting the treaty.
According to Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia, Ukraine “will always receive new shipments of precision-guided missiles with longer ranges than the Ukrainians currently have”.
Even Biden’s statement on the most minimal restrictions on arms transfers to Ukraine was immediately denounced in the media.
The the wall street journal was apoplectic, accusing Biden of wanting Ukraine “to just survive to sign a truce with more of its former territory under Russian control.”
Seemingly panicked, the Log warned that Russian forces were making “further military gains in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.” He accused the US president of “reassuring Vladimir Putin about what the US won’t do” and that “Biden’s ambivalence in helping Ukraine encourages the Russian to believe he can still win a victory.” strategic victory”.
Along the same lines, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accused Biden of perpetrating “a betrayal of Ukraine and of democracy itself.”
Although the the wall street journal is the most hysterical, war fever spreads throughout the political establishment. The apparent advances made by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine only push US officials to raise the bar, threatening an ever greater escalation of the war.
Liberal journalist Gideon Rachman, writing in the FinancialTimes Monday, wrote a hawkish column titled “West must keep its cool on Ukraine.” Condemning the isolated voices within the US political establishment that have raised the prospect of a diplomatic settlement of the conflict, Rachman insisted: “The momentum of war must return to Ukraine before there is any prospect of an acceptable peace settlement.
The expansion of the imperialist proxy war against Russia in Ukraine assumes its own logic, even as the United States actively escalates its conflict with China over Taiwan.
On March 11, Biden said again: “We will not wage a war against Russia in Ukraine. The direct conflict between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent.
Yet since then, day by day, the United States has taken one step after another toward direct confrontation with Russia. The United States increased its arms deliveries to Ukraine, first by ten, then by a hundred. On March 26, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot stay in power.” Last month, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin acknowledged that “we” were in a “fight” with Russia, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer openly said this month “We are at war”.
In an analysis of a series of simulations conducted by a group of think tanks, the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank warned of “a dangerous tendency to [geographic] escalation during a protracted conflict, even when participants said they wanted to limit the conflict to one country.
To see this dangerous trend in action, you have to look not at what is happening in the simulations, but on the ground in Ukraine.
By giving Ukrainian forces the ability to strike further and deeper inside Russian territory, the United States hopes to provoke a further escalation of the war.
The recklessness of US imperialism in escalating a war with a nuclear-armed power speaks to the massive domestic crisis it faces. Amid runaway inflation, falling wages, shortages of key commodities and a looming recession, there is a growing movement of the working class in the United States as part of a global rise in class struggle.
The entire American political establishment is united in the escalating war with Russia, which has already killed tens of thousands and threatens to kill millions. It is the task of the working class to end this war.