Ukraine Says NATO Only Way to End Donbass War, 37,000-Troop US-NATO War Games Aim at Confrontation With Russia

The Ukrainian government reports two more soldiers killed in ongoing fighting in the Donbass as Kiev withdraws from the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe meetings in the Belarusian capital of Minsk because of what it calls “hostile rhetoric” from the host nation, which it also accuses of being under Russian influence.

The Pentagon warned it was “aware of Russian troop movements” on or near the Donbass border as the State Department denounced what it called provocations by Russia, with Reuters paraphrasing State Department spokesman Ned Price as saying Washington “would be concerned by any effort by Moscow to intimidate Ukraine whether it occurred on Russian territory or within Ukraine.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov today informed reporters that “we have had contact with the US administration on the situation in the Donbass, and we have exhaustively explained to their side what is happening.” However, he reflected grave concerns on the Russian side over what he deemed increasingly belligerent rhetoric from the U.S. and its NATO allies over Ukraine, warning that “Washington should be concerned about the consequences of this coordinated policy.”

Today NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “express[ed] serious concern about Russia’s military activities in and around Ukraine & ongoing ceasefire violations,” adding that “NATO firmly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty & territorial integrity.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in referring to NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP), the final stage to full membership, said: “We are committed to reforming our army and the defense sector, but reforms alone cannot stop Russia. NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas. The MAP will be a real signal for Russia.”

Aleksey Arestovich, an advisor to the Ukrainian delegation to the now-suspended Trilateral Contact Group talks in Minsk, recently stated, “A large-scale NATO exercise has begun, called DefenderEurope 2021,” which is being conducted with as many as 37,000 troops from the U.S. and NATO member and partner nations, “from the waters of the Baltic to the Black Sea, to put it bluntly, [for] armed confrontation with Russia.”

Five hundred years ago the English poet John Skelton wrote that words may not break bones, but they break hearts. They also break trust. Words are not wars but they have caused wars. Certain words not retracted are a prescription for war. The language used for the past few days in regard to the worsening conflict in and near the Donbass had best not be matched by actions.

Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.