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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Imperialism steps back

by our European Affairs correspondent

IMPERIALISM stepped back from the brink of war in Europe this week following intense Franco-German diplomatic efforts and a secret telephone discussion between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Though the Americans are still refusing to rule out NATO expansion into Ukraine they have offered to meet some of Russia’s legitimate security demands and Russian tanks are now pulling back from the Ukrainian border.

China’s President Xi Jinping has called for a political resolution to the crisis in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron this week. People’s China is urging all parties involved to resolve the crisis through dialogue and make full use of multilateral platforms including the Normandy format, an informal grouping set up by French, German, Russian and Ukrainian diplomats in 2014.

But the war hysteria triggered by the Western media has led to panic buying in Ukraine and an exodus of Ukraine’s oligarchs who piled into their private jets at Kiev’s international airport to flee the country last week.

In 2019 the puppet Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, signed a constitutional amendment committing the country to becoming a member of NATO and the European Union. But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says “the question of [Ukrainian] membership in alliances is practically not on the agenda” while the current Ukrainian leader Volodimir Zelensky himself concedes that joining NATO is now a remote “dream”.

Though the Americans have repeatedly rejected ruling out NATO membership for Ukraine – a key Russian security demand – they now say they will realistically consider other Russian security concerns.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that the Americans and their NATO allies have reacted positively to some of the Russian initiatives that they’ve been rejecting for years – including the Kremlin’s call for arms control treaties for Europe.

“The swiftness with which NATO has changed its position suggests that not everything is lost in relations with this bloc; [It indicates] that they can admit the obvious when they really want it”, Lavrov said.

The foreign minister recalled that Russia had declared a moratorium on deploying short and intermediate range missiles in Europe, following the demise of the INF Treaty which was torn up by the Trump administration in 2019. But no one wanted to “hear us out” back then when we offered to discuss new arms control measures, Lavrov said.

Lavrov was upbeat about a planned dialogue with NATO on Moscow’s less pressing security proposals, like arms control in Europe. “I think that, thanks to the efforts in all these areas combined, a very good package can be worked out as a result,” he said.

Lavrov said that Russia will continue the dialogue with the West to find out how determined they are to reach real agreements on security. He specifically said that matters of indivisible security, short and intermediate range armaments, as well as reducing the risks of war will be discussed during these negotiations.

Meanwhile the World Peace Council (WPC) expressed its deepest concerns about the escalating tensions in Eastern Europe and particularly around the Ukraine, caused primarily by the growing aggressive expansion of NATO towards Eastern Europe, its massive deployment of troops from the Baltic Sea to Bulgaria, and creating a belt aiming at the encirclement of the Russian Federation.

In the current situation, the WPC says “ the peace-loving people and forces in the world should denounce and condemn the imperialist war rhetoric and plans, demand the withdrawal of the NATO troops from the region around the Ukraine, and the de-escalation of the situation from all sides. The WPC, from its founding days, has been fighting against NATO, has called for its dissolution, and has supported the struggle of the peoples and their movements in the NATO states for the withdrawal from this alliance”.