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Ireland: No to the proxy war in Ukraine!

by Bill O’Brien

one of the co-founders of the Irish Truth & Neutrality Alliance

The war in Ukraine has been going on for more then a year now and the left in Ireland are in a most confused state as they are in the rest of Europe and globally. Let's examine the issues involved and the different attitudes that prevail.

The history

Modern Ukraine became the state after the Russian Revolution when it was established. The commission of Nationalities chaired by Joseph Stalin established Ukraine, took the proposals to the Politburo where it was discussed and voted upon and agreed, then made official and stamped by Lenin.
    Previous to that the landmass of what is now the Ukraine was divided between different empires, mostly Polish, Hungarian and Russian.
    The new entity was to be economically viable, the existing big estates were to be nationalised and controlled by Soviets, production was to be collectivised, and the large estates amalgamated to increase the production of cereal crops. This continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union, when privatisation then took place.
    The Soviet republic of Ukraine guaranteed religious and civil liberties of all citizens. It incorporated two languages on equal footing within the state. In short, Ukraine had over 70 years of peaceful co-existence enjoyed by all Ukrainians. In 1953, Crimea was added to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev who was himself a Ukrainian from the Donbas. This was to increase the availability of hard-currency for the Ukrainian economy because most of the Black Sea holiday resorts, frequented by Western tourists, were on the Crimean peninsula.
    The Crimea had been for centuries part of Russia. In the 1860s a war was fought between the British Empire and the Russian Empire known as the Crimean War, no mention of Ukraine at that time, as it did not exist. A small part of what is now modern-day Ukraine was itself called Ukraine, which gave the name to the larger entity when that came into existence.

Genesis of the current crisis

After the collapse of the Soviet Union different forces in Ukraine began to come into being. Two schools of thought began to come into play. There were those who wanted to merge with the European Union and the other that wanted to merge with the Russian Federation. A general election was held and those who supported the Russian Federation got 52 per cent of the vote and those for the EU 48 per cent. This was an extremely divisive result. It also had a linguistic and geographical divide as the EU vote was concentrated mostly on the western side of the Ukraine, where Ukrainian was spoken, and the pro-Russian vote on the eastern side, where Russian was spoken.
    The American imperialists and the CIA organised a coup d'état and the elected Ukrainian president had to take refuge in Russia. This led the provinces in the Donbas separating away from the rest of Ukraine. An eight-year war between Donbas and the rest of Ukraine took place. There were at least 14,000 dead in that eight years.
    There was a peace agreement signed twice in Minsk but it was never honoured by NATO. A former German Chancellor, who was supposed to be the guarantor of the agreement, said they never had any intention of honouring it. The agreement was a way of playing for time till they built up an army. It became clear to the people of the Donbas that they were in mortal danger as just before the Russian intervention in 2022, the Ukrainians forces who had been trained in the most modern of warfare by NATO and were about to commence a genocidal war against them and their two provinces. Russia had to make its move.
    But Russia seriously under-estimated the determination and callousness of NATO and the West and initially were left unprepared. They did not believe that NATO and the EU would allow Ukraine to be totally sacrificed the way they did in order to get at Russia.
    Both the EU and the USA had agreed not to extend NATO forwards to the East to include Ukraine, this too was an undertaking that was not kept. The West had prepared themselves well and were initially able to repel the Donbas/Russian intervention. The situation has since been dramatically reversed.


A propaganda campaign to totally control the media in the West and particular those in Europe, which has not been seen since the 1950s and ‘60s during the height of the Cold War, had been prepared and ruthlessly put into action. No Russian media outlets are allowed.
    Russia Today was banned immediately. Even some diplomats from embassies were treated very hostile by the interviewers. There was never any mention of the 14,000 killed in the eight years previous to the intervention. Nor were there any comments made as to the type of Nazi state the Ukraine is and the corruption that was prevalent in it at the time of the Russian intervention.
    Programmes like Ukraine on Fire by Oliver Stone were taken off the Internet, as well as programmes exposing Nazism done by independent television in Britain. A Russophobic culture was created so that people were reluctant to question anything they heard from the media. Comments would not have been published in any event. That total censorship is only recently begging to be dispelled.
    All of the print media in Ireland is anti-Russian, social media such as Facebook is monitored extremely thoroughly. A lot of people, including Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians, have had their accounts suspended for posting information they received from the relatives back home.
    Ukrainian flags placed on all civic buildings, churches and city streets of the main towns, give the impression that there's a war going on between Ukraine and Russia and not a war between Russia and NATO, totally ignoring the civil war that is also going on in the Ukraine between Russian speakers and Ukrainian fascists.

Potential global conflict

As the war progresses vast portion of the population of Ukraine have fled the country. There's reports of between 2–3 million people moving to countries in Western Europe. Russia has also taken in four million but you don't hear about that in the Western press. It's believed that as many have gone to Russia if not more, that have come to Western Europe.
    Ukrainian casualties in this war have been horrendous, they have now turned to conscripting 16-year-olds, plus men up to the age of 60. It's believed also there are 20,000 Polish troops fighting in Ukrainian uniforms. The Polish government have ambitions of regaining some of their old Empire in western Ukraine in the final settlement of this war.
    The American armaments industry is making a fortune and testing their new technologies at the expense of the ordinary Ukrainian. One of the biggest dangers is that this could escalate into a nuclear war or that the Ukrainians fascists could make a dirty bomb, which is not beyond them.

The fascist state

Since the current regime came into power all opposition has been banned, including even Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and other Liberals. The Orthodox Church has had their churches desecrated and expensive valuables stolen. Orthodox convents have been desecrated and the nuns both young and old assaulted and sexually violated. Most of these nuns are elderly as young women have not been entering these congregations in recent years.
    The minorities have been discriminated against also, particularly Romany gypsies and Hungarians living in the extreme south-west of Ukraine. The Hungarian government made representations on their behalf in recent weeks.
    A very common occurrence in the streets of Kiev and other cities is to look for Russian speakers and ask questions in Ukrainian. When they are unable to answer they are tied with cling film and their faces are painted green to show they are septic to Ukrainian society. Romany gypsies are particularly prone to this treatment. A lot of these incidents were exposed on social media but none of the National media have taken them up. This is another example of biased censorship.
    Trade unions were also banned. On one occasion in the city of Odessa the trade union hall was burned to the ground causing 50 deaths and over 100 hundred serious injuries. This was done by a group called the Right Sector who have now been incorporated into the Ukrainian army, enforcing the regime's philosophy and idolatry.
    A large element within Ukraine has a long history of supporting Nazism. During the Second World War these people supported the German occupation. They carried out the extermination of Jews and Romany people plus Communist and other anti-fascists. They built and carried out many of the tasks in the concentration camps within Germany itself. The collaborator of the time, Stefan Bandera, who was assassinated in West Germany in 1959, now has monuments erected to him and main streets in the capital city Kiev called after him in recent years.
    Ukrainian soldiers wear Nazi decorations on their uniforms and are quite often seen doing the Nazi salute. Nazism is the idolatry and philosophy of the Ukrainian army. An army that is now being armed by NATO.

Opposition to war

The opposition to this war in Ireland has been very disappointing overall.There has been no serious focusing on the atrocities committed by the Right Sector, the Azov Battalion or any of the other fascist forces at play on behalf of the Ukrainian regime. Those who even attempt to raise these issues are accused of being pro-Russian and are subject to all kinds of derogatory remarks and name-calling. Nevertheless there appears to be growing awareness that something is not right and people are beginning to question the media narrative. Groups have emerged and held demonstrations against the war in both Dublin and Cork such as the Stop The War group, the Irish Neutrality League, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance and the Truth and Neutrality Alliance. Of these, the Truth and Neutrality Alliance has the most migrant support with Russian speakers from East Ukraine and Crimea.
    The Irish Neutrality League have been doing tremendous work in Cork by exposing the breach of our neutrality by allowing NATO warships to visit the city for courtesy calls and a bit of recreation for their sailors. They haven't missed picketing one of those ships in recent years. This is very much to their credit.
    The Peace and Neutrality alliance, which has been going for around 26 years, has held monthly demonstrations at Shannon airport against Americans travelling via Ireland to battle zones in the Far East. They also picket the Irish parliament, the Dáil, one day a month. They have produced pamphlets and leaflets and statements on neutrality, which is commendable.
    The Anti-War group is a group of individual young people not affiliated any party. They have demonstrated against the war on the streets and within social media, and should be commended and supported. The last demonstration at the spa was organised by them.
    The Truth and Neutrality Alliance is made up of various Republican and Socialist groupings. It has only going since the beginning of this war but it has some old hands who have over 50 years of experience in protesting against war. At least two of them were in the CND in England in the 1960s.
    They believed that truth is essential to the building of peace and the best foundation for the building of a peace movement. They have been exposing the type of regime that has been going on in Ukraine since the coup in 2014.
    They have a lot of of Russian speakers from the Crimea and from Ukraine itself, and therefore their particular knowledge is of critical importance getting the truth out regarding this war. They have held three demonstrations so far in central Dublin against the war. One was outside the British Embassy as it was Johnston who prevented a peace deal being accepted on more than one occasion.

The negative left

The people on the left whom we consider to be negative as they find it difficult to accept the actual truth coming out, never cease to amaze us.
    The Irish Anti-War Movement claims they are for peace when they’re clearly in support of NATO. They even had the cheek to distribute their leaflet amongst the supporters of our anti-war group, which included a lot of Russian-speaking Ukrainians. The first demand on the leaflet was “Russian Military out of Ukraine”. One Russian-speaking Ukrainian asked who was giving out that leaflet. I said he is a toffee-nosed Dublin architect and a member of the Socialist Workers Party/People Before Profit. She said has he any idea what's going on on the ground? It was pointed out to her that that man was living in the clouds for so long he wouldn't recognise the ground.

The Unions

The trade union movement has been extremely silent in all of this. When it makes soundings it always anti-Russian. The members of the Dublin district trades council and a full-time official from a British-based union involved themselves with a picket at the Russian embassy at the early stages of this war.
    All this despite the fact that their colleagues in Ukraine had been banned by the fascist regime and over 50 trade unionists were burnt alive in the trade union hall in Odessa after a May Day rally in 2014. There was no mention of that nor condemnation by the Irish union movement, which is to their shame.

The Irish Labour Party

The leadership of the Labour Party in Ireland have condemned Russia even though the social democrats have been banned by the fascists in the Ukraine. Do they not realise if they were in the Ukraine they too would most likely be jailed and their money and property confiscated?!

Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin have called for the expulsion of the Russian ambassador. An organisation that claims to be for Irish neutrality should be behaving in a neutral manner and inform themselves of the facts of what's going on within the Ukraine. It should be putting particular attention to the atrocities and bombings that took place previous to the start of the war in the Donbas.


Different campaign groups can take heart that all the opinion polls taken in recent months clearly state that the Irish people are very much in favour of neutrality. The campaign is growing and there is great potential to build a genuine anti-war movement. Truth is the main foundation for peace.
    If the fascists were to win in Ukraine, which thankfully is most unlikely, it will embolden fascism in other European countries and it will be the working class that will suffer.


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