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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Fierce fighting against fascists in the Don basin

by our European Affairs correspondent

FIERCE FIGHTING continues as Russian and Donbas forces battle to drive the fascists out of the Don basin in eastern Ukraine.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow but Ukrainian back-pedalling on commitments made at peace talks in Istanbul last month has dashed hopes for a speedy end to the fighting. The leader of the banned Ukrainian ‘Opposition Platform-For Life’ political party, which was the second-largest party in the Kiev parliament, has been arrested and over a thousand Ukrainian marines have surrendered in Mariupol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the peace process had reached a “dead end” in talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and that Western economic sanctions have “failed” and he had no intention of pulling back from the military campaign.

“I often get these questions, ‘can’t we hurry it up?’ We can. But it depends on the intensity of hostilities and, any way you put it, the intensity of hostilities is directly related to casualties,” he said.

Putin said Russia’s actions in the Ukrainian regions were intended only to tie down enemy forces and the purpose of the missile strikes was to destroy the Ukrainian military’s infrastructure so as to “create conditions for more active operations on the territory of Donbas”.

“Our goal is to provide aid to the people of Donbas who feel an unbreakable bond with Russia and have been the subjects of genocide for eight years,” the Russian leader said. “That’s the way it is. The operation is going according to plan.”

In Mariupol fighting continues as the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russian forces deal with the last pockets of resistance in the strategic Black Sea port. More than 1,000 members of Ukraine’s 36th Marines Brigade holed up in the Ilyich Steel & Iron Works laid down their arms this week.

A total of 1,026 troops, including 162 officers, were amongst the captives. Russian medics provided first aid to 151 injured captives before moving them to a local hospital.

Some Ukrainian troops are trying to break out of the city. Others try to flee by sea. All have, so far, failed. On 9th April, some tried to use a Maltese cargo ship to escape but this was foiled by a Russian warship that seized the vessel as it approached the harbour. A few days later a convoy of 30 military vehicles with fake Russian markings was destroyed by artillery fire and air-strikes.

Most of the docks have been liberated and Donetsk troops have begun evacuating the crews from some of the merchant ships that were trapped there when the fighting began. But Azov brigade gunmen have seized two other foreign vessels, holding the crews hostage and firing from the decks with mortars, grenade launchers and small arms.

Few expect any dramatic diplomatic breakthrough in the days to come. The Americans and the rest of the NATO pack are pumping in more arms to the Zelensky regime to prolong the fighting and the sanctions that they hope will cripple the Russians for years to come.

But as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation warns: “The events in and around Ukraine are perceived by many as a NATO war against Russia. Therefore, there are fewer and fewer people willing to side with America in its geopolitical ambitions. And the world has changed. The workshop of the world today is not the UK or the USA, but China and other Asian countries. Most countries think in terms of national interests, not Washington’s interests. So the attempt to boycott-blockade Russia is doomed to failure from the start. It is high time for the USA and Britain to forget about their former colonial rule over the world. Otherwise they might lose far more than they hope to achieve by starting their dirty game against Russia and Europe.”