The European Union’s summit of foreign ministers this week formally committed the bloc to training Ukrainian military forces on EU territory to fight against Russia. That inescapably makes the 27-nation EU a party to war in Ukraine.

Nearly two months ago, in a previous Strategic Culture Foundation weekly editorial published on August 19, we postulated that the conflict in Ukraine had already metastasized into a Third World War. That warning has been corroborated by the dramatic escalation of military involvement by the United States-led NATO alliance and the European Union in Ukraine.

This week, the European Union’s Council on Foreign Affairs announced a Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM) to Ukraine which would involve training of up to 15,000 Ukrainian troops over the next two years. Germany and Poland are to be major training hubs. The headquarters for the EUMAM is to be in Brussels. This indicates long-term planning for war and, lamentably, the spurning of any kind of diplomatic solution.

The EU-wide training program is but the formal, comprehensive adoption of missions that had up to now been undertaken more discreetly at national, bilateral level. The United States, Canada and Britain have had military advisors in Ukraine since 2014 where they have been mentoring NeoNazi formations such as the Azov Battalion. Training of Ukrainian troops has also been conducted in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and the other Baltic states.

But what the EU foreign ministers have declared this week is a bloc-wide systematic participation in war in Ukraine against Russia. Legally speaking, the official training of troops on EU soil for active deployment in war makes the EU a party to war. This has grave implications for how Russia legitimately conducts its military forces. Potentially, European states have made themselves targets for Russian military strikes.

Arguably, this has already been the case at much earlier stage when European members of NATO have been joining with the United States in flooding Ukraine with more and more lethal weapons.

Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO weapons supplied to Ukraine have made the U.S.-led axis a war party. Thus, the conflict is no longer a proxy war, but a full-on confrontation.

Each passing week sees more announcements by the U.S. and its NATO allies of heavier weapons being delivered to Ukraine. It is estimated that a total of $42 billion in weaponry has been earmarked for Ukraine from Western powers, with nearly two-thirds of that ($28bn) from the United States.

In addition to ramping up training of Ukrainian military on EU soil, the EU also this week allocated an additional €500 million in assisting weapons supply to the Kiev regime. The funding mechanism has the Orwellian title of “European Peace Facility”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised new supplies of self-propelled howitzers, air defense systems and multiple rocket launcher systems. Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron also vowed more howitzers, air radar defenses and missiles.

The leaders of the European Union, as with those of the United States and NATO, seem to be criminally insane. The escalation of war in Ukraine against Russia came this week as the NATO bloc was carrying out nuclear war exercises in Europe targeting Russia. Moscow’s warnings that the warpath embarked on could lead to planetary catastrophe have been recklessly distorted by Western powers as Russia allegedly using “nuclear blackmail”.

The double-think by the United States and its European vassals is astounding. U.S. President Joe Biden has talked about the danger of “nuclear Armageddon”. European leaders like Scholz and Macron have purportedly cautioned against a direct confrontation with Russia. And yet these same Western politicians and their ilk continue to stoke the war in Ukraine to cataclysmic proportions.

Not one Western leader has proffered a diplomatic solution to settle the war in Ukraine nor address the background strategic security issues that instigated the conflict.

The political and economic chaos that is gripping Britain – with the forced resignation of the hapless Premier Liz Truss this week after just six weeks in Downing Street – is a telltale sign of the wider malaise afflicting Western states from the implosion of their economies. The United States, Britain and the European Union are undergoing a veritable economic meltdown owing to their bankrupt capitalist systems.

Figures showing unprecedented levels of poverty and social breakdown are off the charts. Public protests and industrial strikes against warmongering policies and cost-of-living emergencies are proliferating across European and American cities. The systemic meltdown has been underway for decades but is being accelerated by wrong-headed imperialist policies of trying to confront Russia (and China). The self-inflicted cutting off of Russian gas to Europe is the ultimate kamikaze drone – fired by European elites on their own people!

In reality, the war in Ukraine is a geopolitical showdown with Russia to prop up an old and dying U.S.-led Western order whereby Washington is the presumed hegemon served by sycophantic European satellites. The days are numbered for that imperialist order.

Two world wars over the past century have been incited as a way to salvage bankrupt Western capitalism. To a horrible degree, those wars partially succeeded in regenerating the system, or at least postponing nemesis.

Today, again, the Western system is facing an existential crisis. Ruling establishments are clawing desperately for survival amid legitimate fears about revolutionary social upheaval. This extreme situation is why Western political elites are making decisions that are criminally reckless and perversely risking catastrophic war – all in the hoary old guise of nobility of course.

The rulers of the United States and Europe want to start a war with Russia before their own people start a war at home. Fortunately, Russia is more than capable of defending itself. That doesn’t obviate a disastrous miscalculation, however.

The culprits for this infernal situation are the Western elites, their corporate masters and the moribund capitalist system. Western citizens should hold them to account in the fullest sense.