Ukrainian rebels counter attack!

by our European Affairs correspondent

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin says he is willing to “do everything” if a peace process to end the fighting in Ukraine’s war-torn east gets underway, following talks with the Ukrainian leader in the Belarusian capital of Minsk this week.

But the meeting that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed would decide “the fate of the world and Europe” has produced very little apart from vague talk of a “road map” to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

It’s been a disappointing week for Poroshenko, a Ukrainian oligarch who made his millions in the confectionery business. He had clearly hoped to have crushed the rebels. in time for the “victory” parades in Kiev and Odessa on Independence Day on Sunday. His troops and the neo-Nazi militias were pounding the rebel capitals of the breakaway republics of Novorossiya while a Russian humanitarian relief convoy was held for 10 days on the border by Kiev officials.

But puppet regime efforts to starve the besieged rebel cities of Lugansk and Donetsk into submission were foiled when the Russian lorries simply crossed over through rebel held-lines to deliver over 2,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Lugansk last week. And the military parade through Maidan Square was overshadowed by news of the counter parade in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, where around 100 captured regime soldiers were marched through the city as onlookers hurled garbage and empty bottles at them.

bowed heads

They looked dirty and unshaven and bowed their heads as the crowd jeered or chanted “fascists”, “child killers” and “murderers” as they were marched through Lenin Square by anti-fascist fighters with guns and bayonets fixed. Two street-cleaning machines followed the column, spraying water onto the street in a theatrical gesture to indicate that the men were unclean that goes back to Soviet traditions in the Second World War.

And this week Novorossiyan forces have pushed puppet regime troops and the neo-Nazi militias back on all fronts and gone over to the offensive in a drive to the southern port of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov. If the militias are victorious forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will gain access to the Sea of Azov, which is a northern extension of the Black Sea, while also taking control of a local checkpoint and forcing puppet regime troops away from the border with Russia.

Over the past few days the Novorossiyan forces say they have captured a lot of military hardware.

This has reportedly helped them get two tank battalions, three multiple-launcher rocket system batteries, two self-propelled howitzer batteries, three cannon battalions of various calibres and eight mortar batteries. All the new sub-units have joined the newly formed fighting force, the rebels said.

Three infantry brigades will be organised from the existing detachments of self-defence militia. A new volunteer regiment has also been formed consisting of miners from the Donbas region and officers and men from the Ukrainian army who have deserted and opted to side with the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Back in Moscow Communist MPs are preparing a Bill to end Russia’s membership of the World Trade Organisation, claiming that membership leads only to problems and promotes attempts at the “external management” of the national economy.

“Russia must quit the WTO agreement to protect its agriculture, manufacturing, and other branches of economy. Russia’s membership in the WTO in times when a great number of foreign countries are introducing stricter sanctions against our country is against common sense,” reads the explanatory note attached to the Bill that is being moved by members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

“In reality it is a noose around our country’s neck, and an attempt to introduce external management of Russia as a nation,” the head of the Communist Party’s legal department Vadim Solovyov declared.

The Communists also argue that Russia’s position in the WTO not only prevents it from vetoing some especially unfavourable decisions but does not allow even basic influence on the organisation’s rules and directives.