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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

West pours in arms to save fascists

by our European Affairs correspondent

WESTERN arms and ammunition are pouring into Ukraine as the imperialist camp desperately tries to prop up the fascists as they battle to stave off a new Russian advance in the east of the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the second phase of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine has begun which will be aimed at “completely liberating” the populations of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics.

Ukrainian military tar- gets are facing repeated hits from Russian war-planes and missile attacks and their only response has been a weak counter-attack in the Donbas that was easily beaten back and some desultory shelling of Russian villages across the border. Meanwhile Russian and Donbas forces are maintaining the pressure on the eastern front in preparation for a big push to drive the fascists out of the Donbas altogether.

In Mariupol Ukraine’s mercenary “foreign legion” and what’s left of the Azov brigade is holed up in the Azovstal industrial complex. The fascists have repeatedly rejected Russian offers to spare their lives if they lay down their arms while claim- ing that hundreds of civilians are trapped in the ruins of the huge plant. But some Russians wonder why these alleged civilians have not been allowed to leave through the humanitarian corridors secured by Russian forces on a daily basis since the outbreak of hostilities. The Zelensky regime told them to fight to the end but some, at least, have ignored the call. Five Ukrainian soldiers broke ranks and fled to the Russian lines this week to surrender to Donbas troops.

Diplomatic efforts to end the fighting have focused on UN calls for a temporary cease-fire over the Orthodox Christian Easter that is celebrated throughout Russia and much of the Ukraine that starts on Friday and a Chinese call for an early end to the fighting. But Zelensky, still holding out hope for imperialist intervention, refuses to realistically respond to Russia’s armistice terms.

Though the Istanbul peace process has been put on the back-burner Russian and Ukrainian negotiating teams are maintaining daily contact to deal with humanitarian issues. This week 76 Ukrainians were freed in a prisoner exchange – the fifth since the start of the conflict. Sixty Ukrainian POWs and 16 interned civilians were swapped for Russian captives .

At the UN headquarters in New York China’s permanent representative Zhang Jun said: “we call on Russia and Ukraine to adhere to the general direction of dialogue and negotiation, continuously narrow differences, and accumulate conditions for a ceasefire,”. Zhang told the Security Council meeting on the humanitarian issue of Ukraine that every effort must be made to reduce the harm to civilians caused by conflict.

He also talked about the “negative impact” of the punitive sanctions the West has piled onto Russia. “The vast number of developing countries that are not parties to the conflict have paid a heavy price for it. This is neither fair nor reasonable.

The international community should strengthen coordination to keep food and energy supplies and prices stable, and avoid unnecessary export restrictions,” Zhang said. He pointed out that “arbitrary freeze of foreign exchange reserves of other countries also constitutes a violation of sovereignty, and is tantamount to weaponizing economic interdependence” and called for an early end to such practices as they “under- mine the foundation of world economic stability and bring new uncertainties and risks to international relations.”