New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


by our Eastern European Affairs correspondent

President Vladimir Putin went to the front to meet Russian troops during the Orthodox Easter celebrations whilst his foreign minister met Latin American leaders to strengthen political and economic ties and outline the Kremlin’s efforts to end the conflict with Ukraine.

But heavy fighting is continuing in Bakhmut, as the Russians move forwards to drive the Ukrainians out of their last strongholds in the western part of the city. They have cut off or taken under fire control all the asphalt roads leading to Bakhmut. Russian troops now control some 80 per cent of this important transport hub that served as a vital centre for Ukrainian troops stationed in the Donbas when the war began last year.

Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Brazilian, Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan leaders during a tour of Latin America to promote trade and peaceful co-operation last week. Lavrov’s Latin American tour includes Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba – all targets of US sanctions and economic blockades, for over 60 years in Cuba’s case. Russia has provided economic aid to help all these countries stand up to US imperialism and this will undoubtedly be strengthened following the talks last week.

The meeting with the Brazilians had a different agenda, however. Russia supports Brazil’s bids to to become the first new veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council since its founding in 1945.

Brazil is south America’s largest nation and economy. Brazil could play a key role in a multi-polar world and is already part of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) development partnership. Most of all, Brazil could play a key role for peace following the recent top-level talks in Beijing between Brazilian President Lula da Silva and his meeting with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping that revolved around China’s 12-point peace plan to end the war in Ukraine.

People’s China has become the focus for peace initiatives to end conflicts not just in Ukraine but all around the world. China successfully brokered a deal between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia that ended decades of hostility with the restoration of ties in March; China is also continuing its reconciliation efforts in the Middle East in settling the Yemen crisis and in promoting Israel–Palestine peace talks.

This not good news for US imperialism. Their only ‘peace plan’ is a ludicrous demand for Russia’s unconditional withdrawal from Crimea and the Donbas and the prosecution of Vladimir Putin as a “war criminal”.

The Americans are doing all that they can to stone-wall any calls to end the fighting. The war has enabled them to strengthen their economic and political grip on their European allies and create the momentum for a new Cold War that they hope will enable them to re-establish their hegemony over the Global South.

The Americans can’t, however, take their own European allies for granted. Turkey and Hungary are opposed to the sanctions regime. The French have broken ranks with US imperialism over their ‘pivot’ against China. They even made tentative peace proposals of their own during summit talks in China at the beginning of the month.

Lula, of course, doesn’t have a ‘plan’ as such. What he is proposing is the establishment of a consortium of neutral nations to help broker peace between Russia and Ukraine. He actually condemned the Russian intervention but he’s opposed to the imperialist sanctions and he enraged the Americans when he said the West was prolonging the fighting by supplying arms to the Kiev regime. The White House said that the Brazilian leader’s “tone was not one of neutrality” and accused Lula of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda without looking at the facts”.

Fortunately not many people take much notice of what the Biden administration says about Russia these days.