Two years on, the war in Ukraine rages on.

Two years ago, the Workers’ Group joined the international community in condemning the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, escalating the hybrid war Putin waged since 2014. The demand of that day, the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from all Ukrainian-occupied territory, stands today.

In these two years we have witnessed untold amounts of destruction and suffering: estimates mount to more than 120,000 and 70,000 soldiers dead, from Russia and Ukraine, respectively. Almost 20,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, some in what has been described as war crimes. Millions have been displaced. Cities have been razed and arable lands in one of the most productive agricultural soils on Earth lost.

Two years on, inflation has soared, energy prices have gone up and food has followed, increasing malnutrition in poorer countries, and straining the budgets of hundreds of millions in richer ones. Russians critical of the war have in many cases left the country, been silenced, or disappeared in Gulags.

Ukrainians, however, have fought valiantly, stopping the Russian aggression: much of the initial land grab was reversed, and the quick operation Putin dreamt about became an attrition war. The EU has managed to provide a unified answer, although the quick depletion of defence stock has shown how defenceless EU countries are, fully reliant on the US for security. EU assistance has been fundamental in giving the Ukrainians means and time to defend their country.

Two years on, Russia stands isolated from the West, but many gaps in our sanction systems have been found. From support from some EU governments to blatant bypass of export restrictions (such as the suspicious 495% increase of German exports to Kyrgyzstan in 2022). The far right is on the rise in Europe ahead of the EU elections in June. Trump could likely become the next EU president.

As the war rages on, tens of thousands of citizens and workers will keep dying. Western countries are talking about rearmament and conscription (and environmental goals are being sidelined). Russia and China assess their chances for a change in the world order. In the meantime, we slowly but steadily slide closer and closer to an open confrontation that might well explode into nuclear war, from one of the many seams (from the killing in Gaza and the blockade of the Red Sea by Iranian proxies to the tensions around Taiwan).

The European Union must continue its united and unwavering support for Ukraine, if nothing else because Putin is not likely to stop there, particularly now that he has transformed Russia into a war economy. If Russia retreats, the war ends. If Ukraine retreats, Ukraine ceases to exist. In the best cases, hundreds of thousands will have died, and millions will suffer the aftermath. In the worst, we might just destroy Human civilisation.

The Workers’ Group calls again for a peace treaty and the return to pre-2014 borders, and will continue to work with independent civil society and Trade Unions on both sides, to stop the war, for the sake of everyone.

Work organisation