New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


by our European Affairs correspondent

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE took to the streets on Monday at Victory Day parades and ceremonies in Moscow and throughout the Russian Federation and the other former Soviet republics, to remember those who died in the Second World War. They were joined by the people of the liberated areas of Ukraine who, for the first time for many years, were able publicly to celebrate the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

In Moscow the parade was marked by a pivotal address by Russian President Vladimir Putin. He outlined the tough position of the Russian Federation on the key issues on the international arena, including Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. He branded NATO as a hostile organisation and modern Western ideology as unacceptable. His speech describes the current conflict as a confrontation of world-views and said the West had no right to impose its values on the rest of the world.

On the eastern front the Donbas militias and their Russian allies continued their push to drive the fas­cists out of the Don basin, whilst Russian war-planes and missiles hit military targets across the country in a renewed effort to disrupt the NATO supply lines to the Ukrainian army.

The Ukrainians were hoping to take the spotlight off Putin with a symbolic victory in the Black Sea of their own. But they came unstuck when they raided Zmeiniy island this weekend.

The tiny island off the Odessa coast was a Russian trap. “Thus, this adventure ended in disaster for Ukraine,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov of the Russian Defence Ministry said. “The Kiev regime’s mindless PR campaign to seize Zmeiniy Island on the eve of Victory Day resulted in the senseless deaths of more than five dozen Ukrainian fighters and members of elite AFU units, the loss of four aircraft, 10 helicopters, three boats and 30 unmanned aerial vehicles.”

In Mariupol fighting continues around the besieged Azovstal steel complex. Last week the civilians trapped in the underground bunkers of the Soviet-era plant build to withstand potential NATO strikes during the Cold War were evacuated in an operation supervised by the UN and the Red Cross. But the Ukrainian garrison, largely drawn from the Nazi Azov brigade, says it will only withdraw under the protec­tion of the Western powers and refuses to surrender, even though its position is hopeless.

Russian and Donbas forces are now moving in to flush the defenders, believed to be a thousand-strong, out of their bolt holes. But in the rest of the Black Sea port life is slowly returning to normal. Denis Pushilin, the president of the Donetsk People’s Republic, led the march through the city on Victory Day and lit a torch at Mariupol’s memorial for the victims of fascism.

Pushilin says he hopes the port will resume operation this month. Four-hundred port workers have already returned to their posts to get the recently liberated Donbas port ready to handle the supplies of food and construction materials urgently needed to speed the recovery of the Don basin .

“Traditionally, the port shipped large volumes of metal products and grain. In addition, now it will also be loaded with building materials,” Pushilin said. According to the port workers, some of the cranes, the cargo area and the berths are already ready for operation. The main tasks ahead are to clear the docks of mines and re-open the sea passage to the port.