East Ukraine resists Kiev

by our European Affairs correspondent

FIERCE fighting continues across a wide front in eastern Ukraine as Ukrainian puppet regime forces struggle to push the anti-fascist resistance back to the rebel-held city of Donetsk. But the partisans are continuing to hold the line while the people of Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Novorossiya republic, are banking on the arrival of a Russian aid convoy waiting for clearance to cross the border and deliver vital supplies to the beleaguered civilian population.

At least 12 Ukrainian fascist thugs have been killed and an unknown number taken prisoner in clashes with partisans outside Donetsk when a bus-load of Right Sector militiamen was ambushed on Wednesday. Eleven puppet regime troops were also killed and 41 wounded in the fighting this week amid reports that the Kiev regime forces have abandoned control of over 100 km of their border with Russia after a prolonged struggle against relentless partisan attacks.

Russian lorries, packed with relief supplies for south-eastern Ukraine, have approached the Ukrainian frontier and are awaiting the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow them to distribute aid to civilians across the war-torn east of the country.

The convoy of 280 white trucks is said to be more than 3km long and carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian supplies. The aid includes 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medication, power generators and 12,000 sleeping bags.

Last week Russia urged the United Nations Security Council to sanction a Russian humanitarian aid mission to eastern Ukraine under the auspices of the International Red Cross (ICRC). The mission was endorsed by the Red Cross and the Ukrainian puppet government on Monday. But the Kiev regime changed its tune following American objections and it is now unclear whether the convoy will be able to cross over with official Ukrainian support.

The Red Cross says that situation is critical as reports say that thousands in eastern Ukraine now have no access to water, electricity and medical aid. But US officials claim Russia could be using the convoy as a pretext to smuggle in arms to the rebels.

“We are concerned that Russia could try to use a humanitarian or peacekeeping operation as a pretence for inserting elements of its military force into Ukraine,” an unnamed White House official told the media on Tuesday. This was echoed by State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf who said: “Russia has no right to move into Ukraine unilaterally, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without Kiev’s permission.”

Meanwhile the Kremlin has responded to the wave of imperialist economic sanctions with a tranche of their own. This week Russia slapped a year-long ban on all food and agricultural imports from the US, the European Union, Norway, Canada and Australia. This could cost the European Union a trillion euros in lost trade which Russia will likely make up by imports from Turkey, China and other parts of Asia.

And it could cost the EU and the Americans a lot more if the Russian parliament adopts a call from the communist bloc to impose sanctions on tobacco, alcohol and soft drinks from all countries that support sanctions against Russia.

Members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation bloc in the Duma, the Russian parliament, argue that a new package of sanctions should ban the import of western tobacco, beers, wine and spirits and carbonated drinks containing sugar, such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Pepsi-Cola.

“Including these products in the sanctions list would allow us to strengthen domestic producers with their long-established standards of quality and support the industry in Crimea. But most importantly it will protect the Russian gene pool against the low quality drinks that had been supplied to our country for years,” the communists say.

In addition, the communists are calling on the Russian government and civil service to lead by example and only supply Russian- made drinks to canteens and kiosks in the offices of various bodies of federal, regional and municipal power.