The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 5th September 2014
Ukrainian troops have been ordered to cease fire after talks with Russia following a partisan offensive that has driven puppet regime forces and the fascist militias out of much of eastern Ukraine. When the Kremlin renewed its call for a truce on Monday it was turned down by Kiev regime whose ministers vowed to continue the fight, saying a ceasefire would mark a Russian victory while claiming that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion and was threatening to use “tactical nuclear weapons” against them. Two days later they were all clearly having second thoughts.
Hundreds of Ukrainian troops have surrendered. Many more, some say thousands, have crossed over into Russia after handing over their weapons to the anti-fascist militias. Lugansk airport is back in partisan hands. The siege of Donetsk has been broken and rebel forces have surrounded the key port of Mariupol.
Meanwhile life is beginning to return to normal in Donetsk as people return to their shattered homes after weeks of continuous rocket and artillery bombardment. Volunteers are distributing Russian humanitarian aid to the people in the city while the partisans move to oust the last remaining Kiev junta troops from the airport.
“The airport is 95 per cent under our control,” partisan leader Alexander Tomofeyev told the media. “Some remaining Ukrainian troops need to be cleared. The
Ukrainian army is retreating. It’s more of a flight by now. Reasonable ones give up their weapons and go. Others stay in the ground for good.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a “permanent ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine after a telephone conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
The announcement came ahead of the Nato summit in Britain later this week which is expected to approve a 4,000-member force that could be rapidly deployed to eastern Europe in response to what the imperialists call “Russia’s aggressive behaviour”.
Rebel leaders doubt whether Poroshenko has the authority to rein in the fascist militias that have joined the Ukrainian army in the drive to crush the breakaway eastern provinces of Novorossiya and say that, in any case, they will not stop fighting until all Kiev forces leave the Donbas region. But their envoys are continuing to take part in talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk that are sponsored by the “Contact Group” which includes Russia, Ukraine and mediators from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The minimum demands of the breakaway People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk that form Novorossiya is for a cease-fire, the withdrawal of all central government troops and fascist militias and greater autonomy for all the regions within a democratic, federal Ukraine that remains outside Nato. But other rebels are calling for complete independence for Novorossiya.
Poroshenko, a Ukrainian oligarch who started off in the confectionery trade, had been banking on greater military and economic support from the Anglo- American and Franco-German imperialism to beef up his drive to crush the anti-fascist revolt before the winter comes. The collapse of his army and the failure of the fascist gangs to turn the tide in the east now threatens the stability of his own coalition in Kiev.
Most of the Ukrainian units that have surrendered to the partisans were running out of ammo, rations and medical supplies for their wounded. Kiev’s casualties have been high, and the stories the prisoners have told the rebels about the Ukrainian army field care are just horrible — like amputations without anaesthetic, and wounded soldiers being exploited to pay for supplies and care. Those fortunate enough to have families that could come to get them have brought the stories of corruption and incompetency back to the rear areas. The result was the big protests in Kiev last week with masses of women even lying down in the streets to block convoys.
Meanwhile the autonomous Crimean republic, now part of the Russian federation, has nationalised the property of a Ukrainian oligarch accused of murder and financing punitive raids against anti-fascists in eastern Ukraine.
Crimean deputies voted last week to nationalise the assets of Igor Kolomoyskyi, the governor of Ukraine’s eastern Dnipropetrovsk region whose ruthless suppression of the anti-fascist movements probably tipped off the neighbouring Donetsk and Lugansk regions into open revolt.
Kolomoyskyi is a banking tycoon who used some of his immense wealth to fund a private army to fight the rebels while living, like many of his fellow Ukrainian oligarchs, in Geneva.
The seized property of the billionaire sometimes called “Washington’s man in Ukraine” — which includes a chain of petrol stations and a hotel complex on Crimea’s south coast — will be sold at auction.