Nuclear war or a new front line: what the Ukraine annexations could mean

Ukrainian soldier aims an NLAW
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Russian president Vladimir Putin is set to annex large areas of Ukraine. But, US president Joe Biden says the US will never recognise such territories as Russian. The eventual outcomes are unclear but an India-Pakistan style nuclear stand-off is a possibility.

The Guardian surmised that the areas Putin plans to annex make up 15% of Ukraine. The paper claims that the Russian constitution means they could never be returned once claimed:

The BBC reported the Kremlin’s claims that Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson had “backed annexation in five-day referendums”. But that the “so-called votes” have been “widely condemned outside Russia as a sham”.

Read on...

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The BBC said:

None of the four occupied regions that Russia aims to incorporate are under its full control. It can only lay claim to 60% of Donetsk while Zaporizhzhia’s regional capital remains in Ukrainian hands.

Russian ambitions

Speaking on Friday, Joe Biden told reporters that the annexation would never be recognised by the US:

The United States, I want to be very clear about this, United States will never, never, never recognize Russia’s claims on Ukraine sovereign territory.

He announced new sanctions and blasted what he called Russia’s “imperial ambitions”:

Russia’s assault on Ukraine in pursuit of imperial ambitions is a flagrant, flagrant violation of the UN Charter, and the basic principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Strong words, though it is worth remembering US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan to mention just two. A third could be the US’s longstanding bankrolling of Israel.


It is hard to predict how the annexation matter will play out. Both Russia and Ukraine’s biggest ally, the US, is a nuclear power. Yet, excepting a disastrous error, it seems unlikely either will pull the trigger. More likely, the continuation of a high-intensity war, or even ongoing proxy war in the annexed regions.

Whichever way the war plays out, those of us with a genuine interest in peace are not served by backing either the US or Russia in the form of bizarre modern-day campism (uncritical backing of either the US or Russia) which has played out since March.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, cropped to 770 x 403, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

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  • Show Comments
    1. The unfortunate fact is that those of with a genuine interest in peace simply don’t have much of a say in this war. Fundamentally, the problem is that insofar as there’s a button marked ‘press here to deescelate conflict’, the only person who can push it is Putin; there have BEEN talks, there have BEEN negotiations – heck, China and India put pressure on Putin to come back to the table only days ago.

      The problem is that Putin has never really changed his war goals, and those goals amount to the dissolution of Ukraine as a state, almost certainly along with the destruction of Ukraine as a culture, and the massacre of at least a plurality of Ukraine as a population. This is a fascist invasion of an autonomous state; if the invaders give up, the war ends there, if the defenders give up, then demonstratably the slaughter begins.

      You can’t just like, Do A Diplomacy and expect things to get better, y’know? There has to be some actual willingness to give and take on the part of the people involved, or at least to take a foot off the pedal marked ‘military escalation’, and Putin, for whatever reason, consistently seems to regard any willingness to give him an off-ramp as a signal that the other party lacks the will to play geopolitical chicken, and it is therefore safe for him to keep pushing.

    2. Of COURSE the Imperialistic USA is “never never never” going to accept the annexations. The USA has now spent over $100,000,000,000+ couping, arming, and now ensuring this war goes ahead – they sure as fuck aren’t going to back down now they have what they wanted ALL ALONG.

      There is NOTHING PUTIN CAN DO to end this bloodbath, the US has ensured Zelhitler cannot negotiate, and there is equally NO WAY RUSSIA WILL BACK DOWN LEAVING THOSE FUCKING NAZIS EXTERMINATING DONBASS.

      So what IS the game plan here? Russia is hooked, there is sweet FA they can do now except be reeled in to a war Russia desperately did not want or need.

      The US’s quite clear game-plan, and the destruction of the Nordstream makes crystal, is a rerun of 1940, a US/NATO controlled German invasion of Russian territory. Because there is no other way now that Germany can avoid massive de-industrialisation by the determined Overlord, Washington DC. Ordered through the local overlord, the EU.

      FWIW, Putin also knew that was the intended game-plan all along, which is why he held most forces back in reserve. And prayed the “special operation” succeeded and avoided this crisis through a lightning strike.

      Well, he badly fucked up.

      Joe, if you fondly imagine the Untied States DOESN’T WANT a nuclear “accident” in Europe, I have a bridge to sell you, Johnson built it across the Thames honest guv.

      Think of matters this way: Americans have had nukes pointing at Europe since 1945, where they were originally going to be used against Berlin as the Soviet crack troops entered the German capital. You know, “sending messages”. The Anglo countries LOVE “Sending such messages”. “Look how psychopathic we are, bend down and kneel” is the usual meaning.

      America doesn’t give two shits about Europeans, and never (or rarely) has. We ARE “America’s God’s Battleground”.

      When you realise that is all we are to them, throwaway pawns they are drooling TO throwaway, one heck of a lot starts to make sense.

      So no, “America isn’t going to back down”. Why WOULD they? It isn’t THEM DYING. It’s us Europeans. And we are doing it to ourselves, for THEIR benefit.

      And when/IF they blow up nuclear plants, they will crack a cheer or two, and some private champers.

      People need to Get Fucking Real about the psychopathic USA, and before it’s too late for us all.

      Most of the people in those areas would happily prefer to be part of Russia, and EVERYONE knows it, (Who has a brain cell, apparently rare these days), not least because “their” regime has been SHELLING them. If London was shelling Glasgow, I’m fairly sure the Indie Ref would be to leave. The Scots aren’t stupid, and nor are the the inhabitants of those territories. And ALL of the people in those territories, Russian or Ukrainian-identifying, would prefer NOT to be in a hot warzone between NATO and Russia.

      Needless to say, the USA also doesn’t really care two shits about the people there.

      After al, the most common method for US-styler “Liberation” is precisely dropping bombs upon their heads, hitting busses and wedding parties with missiles, and destroying all civilian infrastructure.

      The USA has waged war exactly like the WW2 German Nazis ever since… WW2. Funny that.

      1. The hell are you smoking? Of course Putin wanted this war, he’s the one who started it as a Russian imperialist expansion, he just didn’t want to be losing it.

        And, ‘most of the people in those areas would happily prefer to be part of Russia’? Get real, Ukraine surprised everybody by how staunchly they were opposed to Russian occupation.

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