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War in Ukraine: Frequently Asked Questions

For more analysis and history of this situation, including several important articles by Bob Avakian (BA), go to The War in Ukraine: A Resource Page at, and articles linked in each response.

What started this war?

The war in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, when Russia staged a massive invasion of the neighboring country of Ukraine, and the U.S. and its imperialist allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) soon began to send tens of billions of dollars of military and intelligence support to Ukraine.

But “The actual roots of the present conflict are framed by the restoration of capitalism in 1956 in the Soviet Union and its emergence as a global capitalist-imperialist power in conflict with the capitalist-imperialist U.S. empire in what is called the ‘Cold War’. … The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact [a military alliance led by the Soviet Union], and the establishment of many independent nations out of what had been the Soviet Union. In 1991, Ukraine became an independent country. …

“Despite promises made by the U.S., NATO began expanding to the east. … The expansion of NATO, and the U.S. insistence on the ‘right’ to bring Ukraine into the NATO military alliance in Europe, is a major factor in the Ukraine crisis. Expanding NATO into Ukraine would potentially put U.S. forces and nuclear weapons on the borders of Russia.”

(FromRevolution’s “Background and Historical Timeline: A Hellish War in Ukraine: Where the Hell Did This Come From? See the section What is the immediate background to the current crisis?” for a thorough examination of events leading to this war.)

Is this war a “showdown between democracy and autocracy”?

Something which cannot be stressed too many times—especially given the lies and distortions in the relentless propaganda offensive by U.S. imperialism and its media—is the reality that the confrontation between the U.S./NATO on the one side, and Russia on the other, is not a conflict ‘between democracy and autocracy’ but between rival imperialists.

(From: Sean Penn’s Delirious Madness And the Danger of Nuclear War,” by Bob Avakian.)

It must be said and repeated: the U.S. imperialists are not acting, as they proclaim, as ‘guardians of democracy against authoritarianism’. No, they are pursuing their exploitative and murderous global imperialist interests. Doing so in our name. Seeking to rally our support for their crimes and for their empire. … Ukraine is not a battleground for democracy but a conflict zone of imperialist rivalry between Russian imperialism and U.S. and Western imperialism. … (the Russian) invasion is designed to bolster Russia's rivalry with the U.S.: to command more influence and create a rival Russian pole of power focused in Europe, central Asia, and the Middle East. For its part, the U.S. is arming Ukraine in order to weaken Russia and prevent Russia from consolidating further imperialist strength and posing greater imperialist challenges to the current world order that the U.S. dominates and of which it is the main beneficiary.”  

(From:Piercing the Lies, Digging Beneath the Surface—The Larger Dynamics of the World Imperialist System Driving the War in Ukraine... And a Lesson from When There Was a Genuinely Socialist Soviet Union,” by Raymond Lotta.)

Why is the U.S. involved in this war?

The motivation of the U.S. in supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia is not to help a weaker country defend itself against a more powerful aggressor (again, the U.S. itself by far holds the record for invading and waging war against weaker countries throughout its history, including the wars in recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan). The U.S. and its ‘allies’ are extensively arming Ukraine in order to use Ukraine as a means of furthering their own imperialist interests—weakening Russia (and those allied with it), while strengthening the ‘western’ imperialist alliance (NATO) headed by the U.S., which is itself a vehicle for military aggression”.

(From:Sean Penn’s Delirious Madness And the Danger of Nuclear War,” by Bob Avakian.)

The U.S. has armed the Ukrainians to fight the Russians, it has sent troops and advanced weapons systems to surrounding countries, and it is now moving to isolate and cripple the Russian economy. All this has nothing to do with ‘seeking peace,’ but is part of a strategy to both weaken Russia through enabling Ukraine to put up resistance while America, for now, stays out of direct battle; and it is a way for the U.S. to strengthen its grip on its alliance.”

(From Revolution’s “Background and Historical Timeline: A Hellish War in Ukraine: Where the Hell Did This Come From?)

Why shouldn’t we support a country fighting invaders?

“Of course, this act of imperialist aggression by Russia deserves to be condemned. But especially for people residing in this country—which, again, by far holds the record for such acts of aggression—it is a matter of basic principle and profound importance not to be echoing the positions and serving the aims of ‘our’ imperialists, and instead to be making very clear our opposition to the aims and actions of these (U.S.) imperialists, who are using opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, not as a way of promoting ‘peace,’ or ‘the right of nations to self-determination,’ but as means of furthering U.S. imperialist interests, in opposition to the rival Russian imperialists. So, in keeping with this crucial principle, any opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, particularly by people in this imperialist country, should be accompanied by a clear and definite stand of also opposing the role of the U.S. in the world, including the wars it continually wages, and other ways it violently interferes in other countries.”

(From: “Imperialist Parasitism and ‘Democracy’: Why So Many Liberals and Progressives Are Shameless Supporters of Their' Imperialism,” by Bob Avakian.)

Bob Avakian: Free Yourself from the GTF! The Great Tautological Fallacy

“As for the claim that it is wrong to see the Ukrainians now as mere ‘pawns’ in this present war between imperialists, it is unfortunately the case that this is what they have essentially become. Or, as Raymond Lotta has very sharply put it—in an interview in episode 99 of the YouTube RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Showthe Ukrainians have now become ‘cannon fodder’ for U.S. imperialist aims in the war in Ukraine (which, again, threatens to become a much wider and far more destructive war). This is one very important reason why everyone who really cares about the Ukrainian people, as well as humanity as a whole, should be actively demanding that this war, and the actions of the imperialists on both sides in this war, be stopped, before the destruction and terrible suffering it involves become far greater.”


Could this end up in nuclear war?

Regardless of intentions, however, as has been shown over and over again, events—especially the dynamics of war itself, once entered into—can ‘overtake intentions’ and lead to circumstances and consequences that neither side wanted or anticipated at the start. In the current situation, with the war in Ukraine, there is a very real danger that such a dynamic could ‘take over’ and lead to truly terrible consequences—the very real possibility of war between the U.S./NATO and Russia, with the use of nuclear weapons which could pose a very real threat to human civilization as a whole.


“The U.S. is now fighting a ‘war by proxy’ with Russia—waging economic war (through ‘sanctions’ against Russia), while at the same time massively arming Ukraine. And this involves a serious risk of things leading to direct warfare between the U.S./NATO and Russia—warfare that could set in motion a dynamic that neither side could really control, leading very possibly to a devastating nuclear war that could put an end to human civilization entirely.”


Ukraine is so far away—why should anyone here care about it?

“Instead of ‘staying in your lane,’ and ‘going for self,’ while this system is moving to even more decisively crush any hope for a world worth living in, people need to be looking at the bigger picture, focusing on the greater interests of humanity and the possibility for a far better world—and acting to make this a reality.”


“Stay in Your Lane? WTF UP!” from the Bob Avakian Interviews
The Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show.

What should people who care about this and want this war to stop do?

“…what I want (and what I have called for in the article in question, and others as well) is for the masses of people, on ‘both sides’ of this conflict—and in the world as a whole—to act in their own interests, as opposed to those of the imperialists on both sides of this conflict. As I strongly argued in another recent article:

All this emphasizes why it is vitally important for the masses of people, in this country, and other countries aligned with it, as well as in Russia—for people everywhere—to finally and fully wake up now, recognize the real, and profoundly heavy, stakes involved, and act in accordance with our actual interests—the interests of all of humanity: demanding that this war in Ukraine, and the involvement (direct and indirect) of the imperialists on both sides in this war, be STOPPED, before it not only causes even greater suffering for the people of Ukraine but possibly escalates into a far more terrible conflict which causes massive destruction and death, on a whole other level, and even possibly poses a threat to the very existence of humanity itself.


“What is called for, and urgently now, is to oppose all imperialist marauders and mass murderers, and all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation, while giving particular emphasis to opposing ‘our own’ imperialist oppressors who commit their monstrous crimes ‘in our name’ and seek to rally us to support them on the basis of a grotesque American chauvinism, which we must firmly reject and fiercely struggle against.” 

(From:A Basic Principle on the War in Ukraine,written by Bob Avakian shortly after the war began.)

The slogans below, which were raised in four cities across the U.S. in protests on April 2, 2023, concentrate what Bob Avakian expressed in the above quote and elsewhere. They can and must be raised and promoted by growing numbers of people, and are important in setting dividing lines around which masses of people should be rallied. 

No U.S./NATO War with Russia!
Stop U.S. Threats Against China!

No World War 3!
It’s This System, Not Humanity, That Needs to Become Extinct!

We Don’t Accept Their Future—
It’s Time to Get Organized for a Real Revolution

(From:National Protests: Sunday, April 2”; also see videos from the rally in Los Angeles, and pictures from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York here.)

Can this horrible situation really be changed?

“Shaping up before us now are two fundamentally opposed futures: Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating. And this truth rings out now more powerfully than ever: Which future we get depends to a great extent on what we do.

“So we are determined:

“To seize on this ‘rare time’ to develop the basis to actually make revolution—to finally defeat the violent enforcers of this monstrous system. This means organizing for this revolution now, among the most bitterly oppressed, and from all parts of society, first in the thousands and then in the millions, and doing so consistently with a country-wide perspective... politically impacting all of society and changing the terms of how masses of people see things and how every institution in society has to respond... developing the conscious, organized revolutionary forces to the point where, with millions won to revolution, it will then be possible to have a real chance to win.”

(From the Proclamation:WE ARE THE REVCOMS (REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNISTS) ... To everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human...”)

WE ARE THE REVCOMS (revolutionary communists)


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From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

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