New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Ukrainian Nazis still hold hostages

by our European Affairs correspondent

FIERCE FIGHTING continues across eastern Ukraine as Russian and Donbas forces push to drive the Ukrainian fascists out of the Don basin. But the Azov brigade is still holed up in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, holding hundreds of civilians hostage and refusing to lay down their arms even though their position is hopeless.

On the diplomatic front UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed “in principle” on the involvement of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the besieged steel plant in Mariupol this week. It was the UN chief’s first visit to Moscow since the war began on 24th February. Although no progress was made in reviving the Istanbul peace process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Ukraine conflict will end with an agreement but that its content will depend on the military situation.

“As in any situation when armed forces are used, of course, everything will end with a treaty, but the parameters of this treaty will be determined by the stage of hostilities at which this treaty will become a reality,” Lavrov said.

This week in Mariupol, the Nazi Azov Brigade again ignored a Russian cease-fire offer to allow civilians to leave the besieged Azovstal plant. A humanitarian corridor was secured for workers, women and children to exit in any direction – but none came out and many fear they are being held against their will as bargaining chips by the Azov fanatics.

Ukrainian drones hit Russian oil depots and military bases across the border in the Kursk, Belgorod and Voronezh regions, while Russian and Donbas troops liberated two more towns in the Donbas. Russian high-precision missiles delivered devastating blows on the rail network in Western Ukraine to halt the supply of imperialist arms to the Ukrainian army in the Donbas region.

Five Ukrainian railway junctions were simultaneously hit by Russian missiles whilst others rained down on eight railway substations in the west of the country. The blows were inflicted on substations, without which electric trains cannot move. Railway communication in Western Ukraine was paralysed. The vast majority of transportation in Ukraine is carried out by electric traction. As of 2020, there were more than 1,600 electric locomotives in Ukraine and only 300 diesels.

Further disruption followed after a Russian cruise missile hit a strategic railway bridge over the Dniester river in the Odessa region. This is the only bridge that connects the Black Sea port of Odessa with the western part of the region and Romania. The destruction of the bridge will significantly complicate any transfer of NATO weapons from Europe to Ukraine via Romania.

Meanwhile Boris Litvinov, the leader of the Donetsk communists, took part in the launch of the 95th Communist Aid convoy from Russia to the Donbas. Litvinov thanked the Chair of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, for the help that the Russian communists have been providing to Donbas over the last eight years. The convoy moved off in Moscow this week. When it reaches the Donbas border it will we joined by other lorries bringing food from Voronezh, Stavropol and North Ossetia-Alania. A total of 120 tons of humanitarian aid will be delivered to the Donbas people’s republics in the first week of May.