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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Russia insists no occupation of Ukraine

by our European Affairs correspondent

RUSSIAN FORCES and the people’s militias of the Donbas are continuing to advance in the south and east of Ukraine. Russian claims about secret US germ warfare laboratories in Ukraine were confirmed by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland this week when she admitted that Ukraine hosts what she called “biological research facilities”; and a temporary cease-fire is holding around a number of Ukrainian cities to provide humanitarian corridors along roads to allow civilians to escape the fighting.

Although three rounds of peace talks in Belarus have produced nothing more than the humanitarian corridors, more talks are planned. The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers are meeting on the side-lines of an international conference in Turkey this week and Israeli premier Naftali Bennett has been acting as a go-between, holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and German Chancellor Scholz in Berlin.

The Biden administration has now banned all Russian oil imports, but Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are refusing to boost oil production to put a lid on the soaring spot price for oil. And whilst the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, takes on a Churchillian pose during a video address to the House of Commons diplomatic efforts to end the fighting are stepping up in the corridors of power.

This week the Kremlin again stressed that it had no intention of occupying Ukraine and that the Ukrainians could stop the fighting immediately if they declared permanent neutrality, accepted Crimea’s decision to join the Russian Federation and recognised the independence of the Donbas people’s republics.

Zelensky is a pawn, an actor chosen by the Ukrainian bourgeoisie for the benefit of Western public opinion to mask the sinister role of the fascist militias that prop up their oligarchy. They thought that slavishly serving US imperialism would open the doors of NATO and the European Union. When the fighting began, they clearly hoped for direct NATO intervention. But although the imperialists have piled on the sanctions to a level unseen even in the darkest days of the Cold War, they’ve ruled out sending in NATO troops or establishing ‘no-fly zones’ that would lead to inevitable confrontation with the Russians which could lead to nuclear war. The Ukrainian oligarchs are now clearly having second thoughts.

Zelensky says he’s ready for talks on certain “compromises” regarding the breakaway republics in Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Crimea. Some say the Kiev regime might be prepared to accept permanent neutrality and the loss of Crimea and the Donbas in return for a complete Russian withdrawal from the rest of Ukraine and their speedy admittance into the European Union.

Meanwhile, two Ukrainian brothers have been arrested in Kiev on trumped up charges of spying for Russia and Belarus. The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and many other progressive forces have called for their release amidst fears for their lives in the current situation.

Alexander and Mikhail Kononovich, leading members of the Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine, were arrested in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday 6th March. They were active members of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Ukraine (AFCU) and had recently helped organise the Komsomol for Peace campaign calling for Ukraine to sever ties with the NATO alliance and to peacefully resolve the conflict with Russia. The WFDY is calling for a global campaign to demand their liberty as their lives are now in serious danger.