Lead story

Ukraine: Debaltsevo troops surrender

by our European Affairs correspondent

NOVOROSSIYAN forces have liberated Debaltsevo following a final push into the town that led to the complete collapse of all puppet army resistance. It followed an appeal by Russian President Vladimir Putin urging the besieged Ukraine’s troops in Debaltsevo to surrender and save their lives.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said the offensive had put the renewed Minsk peace agreement at risk and urged Russia withdraw its forces, which he claimed were assisting the partisans, and to use all its influence on the “separatists” to make them respect the ceasefire. But the Russians and the Novorossiyans argue that as the town had been completely surrounded it was not covered by the truce.

At the United Nations the Security Council unanimously endorsed a Russian resolution approving the 13-point accord on ending the crisis agreed in the Belarusian capital last week. Meanwhile Russia had pledged even more help to rebuild war-torn eastern Ukraine. “We are already helping the residents of Donbas, first of all with humanitarian aid,” the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament told the media on Wednesday.

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Inquiry into benefit cut deaths dropped

LABOUR MP Debbie Abrahams last week said she was “shocked” that a senior civil servant will not be examining whether there is evidence that the Government was to blame over any of 49 deaths related to benefit cuts.

Disability News Service (DNS) informed her that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) does not intend to produce the information for her.

Last week Abrahams asked Chris Hayes, DWP’s labour market strategy director, whether any of 49 peer reviews of benefit- related deaths had found the department’s actions to have been “inappropriate or incorrect”.

He told her — during an evidence session held by the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee — that he would “have to look at the peer reviews in detail” in order to answer her question.

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Editorial

KKE standing strong

MANY left-wingers have recently been very critical of the position of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) because of its refusal to join an electoral alliance with Syriza, before, during and after the recent general election there. They accuse the KKE of standing aloof while Syriza, with its right-wing coalition allies, struggle with the bureaucrats of the European Union to win a better deal for Greece.

These are the people who welcomed Syriza’s electoral victory with great acclaim, expecting an overnight reversal of the dreadful austerity policies imposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund on the Greek people, a repudiation of the debt and a springtime of sunshine and joy.

How quickly that illusion is crumbling. It never was a real possibility and the KKE was wise to steer well clear of it. The KKE is a Marxist-Leninist Party that is well aware there is no solution for the Greek people under the heel of the EU — or under capitalism at all.

Syriza claims it is trying to wrest a better deal from the EU but that is like dealing with a pay-day loan company. You can get your debt rescheduled and stave off imminent bankruptcy but only at the cost of increasing your regular payments — and scrimp and scrape as you might you cannot even keep up with the existing repayments, never mind raising them.

The EU does not exist to make life easy for the working people of Europe any more than pay day loan companies exist to help low income workers sort out their debt problems. Whatever they claim both exist to make as much profit as they can for the bankers and that is the sole priority. Everything else is window dressing.

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