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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Russian forces advance – peace talks continue

by our European Affairs correspondent

RUSSIAN forces have taken the major Black Sea port of Kherson and tightened their grip around several other Ukrainian cities including the capital, Kiev. The Russians have linked up with the Donbas militias to besiege the Black Sea port of Mariupol and are continuing to advance from Crimea into central Ukraine; and Russian servicemen have begun delivering humanitarian aid to civilians in the Kharkov region.

The Americans and the rest of the imperialist pack have stepped up their diplomatic offensive at the United Nations whilst piling on the sanctions against Russia, but they rejected Ukrainian calls for a NATO ‘no-fly zone’ that would certainly lead to an immediate confrontation with Russia. And the UN refugee agency says that nearly a million Ukrainians have now fled to Romania, Poland, Hungary and other neighbouring countries to escape the fighting.

Russian–Ukrainian peace talks resumed in Belarus this week, and the Kremlin says it’s ready to open talks with the West on security guarantees and strategic stability issues in Europe. Russian high command says that 498 Russian troops were killed in action and a further 1,597 wounded during the first week of the war.

At the UN the Americans and their lackeys voted to condemn the Russian intervention at the General Assembly this week. At the emergency session at the UN HQ in New York a total of 141 of the 193 member states voted for the resolution, 35 abstained and five voted against. Although only four – Belarus, Democratic Korea, Eritrea and Syria – stood with Russia to oppose the non-binding, symbolic resolution, the abstainers included People’s China, Cuba, Laos, Venezuela and Vietnam as well as the big guns of the Third World including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Iran, South Africa and Ethiopia.

Countries such as China have continued calling for diplomatic efforts to end the fighting, but the US-led Western bloc keeps fuelling the crisis with more extreme sanctions and aggressive rhetoric, which can only lead to more conflict, division and confrontation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that China has always supported and encouraged all diplomatic efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis and welcomes the launch of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. China hopes that the two sides will continue the process of dialogue and negotiation and seek a political solution that accommodates reasonable security concerns of both sides, serves the common security of Europe and is conducive to lasting peace and stability in Europe, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the opposition in the Duma, the Russian parliament, has denounced the pro-Western demonstrators that held “peace” protests across Russia last weekend. These, he called “fifth columnists” who defend the “out-and-out fascists and terrorists who have seized power in Ukraine and turned its citizens into hostages of their grisly Russophobia and anti-Sovietism”.

The leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) said: “America and the European Union are not struggling for Ukraine. They seek to use the local Nazis in a bid for the right to plunder Ukraine and turn it into a bridgehead for aggression against Russia. We call on the international community to understand the danger of this course for the cause of peace and genuine democracy in the world and to actively resist attempts to disrupt the process of political settlement in Ukraine.”