Battles rage as peace talks begin

by our European Affairs correspondent

UNITED States President Barack Obama called Russian leader Vladimir Putin to discuss the Ukrainian crisis this week as fighting continues on all fronts in eastern Ukraine. Novorossiyan partisans have broken the Debaltsevo salient in two and they now control the only road into the besieged town. Puppet regime forces are pounding Donetsk and fascist “Naziguard” militiamen claim to have pushed the partisans back from the Black Sea port of Mariupol.

The Americans are openly talking about resupplying the ramshackle Ukrainian army but this is being openly opposed by Franco-German imperialism who now want to end the conflict through negotiations with Russia. Now the focus is on new peace talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

French President Francois Hollande says the talks with the leaders of Russia, Germany and Ukraine are the last chance for peace in the region. Franco-German imperialism is opposed to American escalation and the spiralling sanctions against Russia, which threaten the economic stability of the European Union as a whole.

But the EU leaders are still not ready to recognise Crimea’s return to the Russian Federation let alone the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics of Novorossiya. So no one expects any major breakthrough in Minsk apart from the establishment of a new ceasefire, which has already been accepted in principle by the Ukrainians and the Novorossiyan side.

If the French and Germans respond realistically to Russia’s proposals a new road-map could be agreed based on the old Minsk agreement that recognised the autonomy of the people’s republics in eastern Ukraine within the framework of a genuinely federal and non-aligned Ukrainian federation. Whether that will meet the demands of the anti-fascist movements that are fighting for independence is one thing. Whether it will deter the Americans from unilaterally escalating the conflict is another.

Obama again warned Putin of “rising costs” over what he called Russia’s continuing “aggressive actions” in eastern Ukraine, “including by sending troops, weapons and financing to support the separatists” — imperialist claims the Kremlin has always rejected.

Last week Putin said that his country would never accept a world order which is headed by one single government — and he clearly meant the United States. The Russian leader stated that Moscow will oppose any unipolar world order where an undisputed leader imposes his own will on the world.

There is an attempt to disguise the current world order that has taken shape over the past few decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a world order that is headed by one undisputed leader who wants to remain such,” Putin told a congress of the Independent Trade Unions Federation of Russia in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

Putin said that the current US-led sanctions have harmed Russia but added that such measures will never achieve their goals.

Russia is not at war and does not want a war Putin declared. “We don’t plan to fight a war with anyone; we plan to cooperate with everyone.”