NATO-Russia Conflict: Is this the Beginning of the War in the Ukraine?


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 19 February 2022,




There are increasing indications that the war in the Ukraine is about to start. For two days, artillery fire is exchanged between the Ukrainian army and the militias of the so-called Donbass “Republics”. Monitors from the OSCE reported more than 600 explosions in the east of Ukraine on Friday. [1] Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, the heads of these two self-proclaimed states, have ordered a full military mobilization. [2] They also announced they want to evacuate hundreds of thousands of civilians to Russia. By Saturday morning, more than 6,600 residents of these areas did already arrive in Russia’s Rostov province. Moscow declared the state of emergency in this province.




Russia and its proxies are mobilizing for war




These development have to be seen in combination with the recent resolution of the State Duma - Russia’s parliament – which calls the government to officially recognize the two Donbass “Republics”. This bill has been, as we reported, introduced by the Stalinist KPRF and received support from Putin’s government party. [3] Such a diplomatic recognition would formally sanction the splitting away of a part of the east Ukraine. Consequently, it would equal a declaration of war against the Ukraine.


Gennady Zyuganov, the long-time leader of the KPRF, said that Putin will announce soon such recognition of the Donbass “Republics”. According to Russian media, Putin is supposed to give a speech on TV tomorrow evening.


Alexei Zhuravlev, a deputy of the State Duma and chairman of the bourgeois-chauvinist Rodina party, has issued a declaration: “The homeland is in danger! We must protect the Russian world”. He calls for the formation of units of Russian volunteers to join the war in Donbass.


There are also other signs that Putin tries to prepare the population for war respectively its consequences. At a press conference following talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin said yesterday: “Sanctions will be imposed in any case. Whether they have a reason today, for example, in connection with the events in Ukraine, or there is no such reason - it will be found, because the goal is different, in this case the goal is to slow down the development of Russia and Belarus.[4]


All these developments take place in the context of Russia’s concentration of up to 190,000 troops at the borders to the Ukraine where they did hold repeated military drills in the past weeks. This is, according to the U.S., the biggest mobilization of troops since World War II.




The same militaristic development takes place in the NATO camp




We see a similar process of warmongering on the other side. In the past weeks, the Ukrainian army has mobilized about 125,000 troops mostly in the area around the Donbass “Republics”. Furthermore, there are agency reports that the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will announce general mobilization on his return from the security conference in Munich.


Since weeks U.S. President Biden claims that a war in the Ukraine could start “at any time”. In a speech delivered yesterday, he said that his is now “convinced” that Putin plans to invade the Ukraine. [5] In the past weeks, NATO deployed several thousand additional troops to Eastern European countries which border Russia respectively Belorussia.


NATO sent weapons worth billions of dollars to the Ukraine, Poland and other countries. The U.S. also added Tomahawk missiles that can be fitted for nuclear weapons to a military base in Poland, just 300 miles from the Russian border. After a highly controversial debate in the parliament in Bratislava, the U.S. took over two military bases in Slovakia. Furthermore, the U.S. threatened Moscow repeatedly with “unprecedented financial and economic sanctions”.




Down with imperialist Great Powers and reactionary regimes – in East and West!




Of course, we are not in a position to verify all these reports. And, true, in such dramatic hours, the internet is full of truths, semi-truths and hoaxes. We have no crystal ball and sudden turns are always possible – particularly in a world situation which is so instable like the current one. But if we assemble the hard facts and the inner logic of the past weeks and months filled with war-mongering by both camps – taken all this together it seems to us that quantity is about to transform into quality, that warmongering is about to transform into actual war.


This dramatic escalation is the result of the massive acceleration of the rivalry between the Great Powers in East and West. In the context of economic decay and political instability all imperialist powers try to expand their sphere of influence at the cost of their rivals. At the same they need they whip up chauvinism in order to confuse the popular masses at home and to increase their domestic reputation.


In these hours of dramatic warmongering our tendency – the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) – reminds to our warnings that this conflict is not the result of “bad decisions “ by “evil leaders”. This is the clash of antagonistic interests by reactionary regimes and imperialist Great Powers. These regimes represent the interests of small elites which desperately try to keep power in a period in which their system – the capitalist system of exploitation and imperialist domination – is in decay.


In such a war, there exists no good side. We repeat what we outlined in a number of RCIT documents: This is a conflict in between two imperialist camps – NATO as well as Russia. Hence both sides, respectively their proxies in the Ukraine, as thoroughly reactionary. Consequently, socialists oppose both sides in this conflict. [6] The RCIT therefore advocates a program of revolutionary defeatism, i.e. working towards the defeat of the respective governments and the transformation of this conflict into a revolutionary crisis at home. [7]


In the coming hours and days, it will be important more than ever that socialists are ready to swim against the stream of militarism and chauvinism! In such times, internationalist unity is crucial so that we can prepare the tomorrow – the downfall of the warmongering regimes and the opening of the road towards socialism and peace!




[1] Vladimir Isachenkov, Yuras Karmanau, Aamer Madhani and Zeke Miller: Biden now ‘convinced’ Russia will launch invasion of Ukraine, Associated Press, 19.2.2022,

[2] TASS: Lugansk and Donetsk republics head orders general mobilization 19 February 2022,; see also Julian Borger: Last piece of Putin’s puzzle slots into place: preparing Russians for war, 18 February 2022,

[3] See on this e.g. the pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: Putin’s Poodles (Apologies to All Dogs). The pro-Russian Stalinist parties and their arguments in the current NATO-Russia Conflict, 9 February 2022,

[4] TASS: West will introduce sanctions against Russia in any case, Putin says, 18 February 2022,

[5] Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour: Biden ‘convinced’ Putin plans to invade but says diplomacy ‘always a possibility’, 18 February 2022,

[6] See on this e.g. a joint platform on the NATO-Russia conflict which has been jointly elaborated by activists in Russia and the Ukraine and which the RCIT fully endorses. It can be read in Russian, Ukrainian and English language here:

[7] We refer readers to a special page on our website where all RCIT documents on the current NATO-Russia conflict are compiled:; our two key statements are: Neither NATO nor Russia! Down with all Imperialist Warmongers! No support for either imperialist camp or its proxies in the Ukraine and Donbass! Unite the workers and oppressed for an independent struggle for liberation! 25 January 2022,; The Current NATO-Russia Conflict and the Anti-Imperialist Tasks of Revolutionaries. Down with all Great Powers and their proxies! For an independent and socialist Ukraine! 29 January 2022, Most of our documents have been translated in several languages.