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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

The first step…

THE ISTANBUL peace talks may not be the beginning of the end of the war in Ukraine – but it may perhaps, as Churchill put it, be “the end of the beginning”. The Zelensky regime has at last accepted the key Russian demand for permanent neutrality, but they are still refusing to recognise the independence of the Donbas republics, Crimea’s decision to join the Russian Federation, or equal rights for all the people of the regions of the Ukraine.

While the Western propaganda machine conjures up phantom victories for the Ukrainian army the reality on the field tells another story. The Ukrainians have lost control of the skies and their own coastline. Millions of Ukrainians have fled the country to escape the fighting. Their cities are besieged and their army and their fascist legions that they say do not exist have been unable to prevent the Russians from extending their control over vast amounts of Ukrainian territory.

Dreams of direct NATO intervention and imperialist ‘no-fly’ zones have faded along with hopes that the Western sanctions regime would provoke the Russian oligarchs into launching an anti-Putin coup. Sooner or later the Ukrainian oligarchs who put Zelensky into office will realise the hopelessness of their position. Then their only way out will be to accept what’s on the table.

Talk of 15 years of negotiations and a new ‘relationship’ between the Donbas and Ukraine are too little too late. The Zelensky clique and the fascist gangs sabotaged the Minsk agreements that could have ended the crisis peacefully; they believed that the imperialists would bail them out whatever happened. They’ve certainly been proved wrong.

Zelensky doesn’t know Putin’s war aims. Neither does Biden or anyone else in the West. But, if nothing else, the events of the last few weeks show that Putin isn’t bluffing.

So we can safely assume that what Russia wants is simply what Russia stated when it sent in the troops to defend the Donbas republics in the first place: a de-Nazified and permanently neutral Ukraine, recognition of Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation, the independence of the Donbas republics and equal rights for Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population.

In Britain, bourgeois politicians of all hues shed crocodile tears over Ukrainians fleeing the conflict whilst doing little to speed up their applications to seek refuge in this country. They deny the existence of the fascist militias in Ukraine and egg on the Ukrainians from the safety of their homes in the beautiful South to justify the anti-Russian sanctions regime that the Johnson government is only following to curry favour with the Biden administration.

They can count, as always, on the support of Blairites and the fake leftists in and out of the Labour Party who pose as socialists but essentially argue that peace is only attainable on imperialist terms.

This is the time for all communists to stand by the people of the Donbas in their fight for freedom. Now we should stand firm with all the anti-fascist forces of Ukraine fighting for an end to the Azov brigade and the other fascist gangs, and for a genuinely democratic Ukraine for all its peoples and at peace with all its neighbours