Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognised the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples’ Republic (DPR and LPR) in South Eastern Ukraine and sent Russian “peacekeeping” troops into both territories. This represents a significant escalation of the conflict between Russia and Western imperialism. What interests lie behind the conflict, and what should be the position of the international labour movement?

After the dramatic turn in events, with Russian President Vladimir Putin recognising the breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine followed by the sending in of Russian military forces, we are publishing a statement by the Russian IMT comrades, elaborated together with Marxists in Ukraine and the Donbas, in opposition to this inter-imperialist conflict.

The pandemic has sharpened and deepened what was an already existing crisis of capitalism. We are now facing the deepest social, economic and political crisis in decades. Despite a certain recovery, the measures the capitalists were forced to take in the last period (i.e. massive amounts of state spending) are now being felt in rising inflation, resulting in a growing cost of living crisis that is provoking resentment and instability all over the world.

On 3 February 1962, US president Kennedy signed proclamation 3447, decreeing an embargo on all trade with Cuba, which was to enter into effect on 7 February. This marked the official beginning of a 60-year blockade (though the imperialist assault had started earlier), which has progressively been strengthened and tightened.

On 23 January, soldiers led by lieutenant-colonel Paul-Henri Damiba seized control of a military base in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Shortly afterwards, gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence and several military barracks. Several hours later, President Roch Kaboré was reported to have been detained by the soldiers.

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