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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Zelensky sacks his Defence minister as offensive falters

by our Eastern European Affairs correspondent

Russia tightens its naval blockade of Ukraine while fending off more Ukrainian attempts to break through their defences from the Donbas to the Black Sea. Puppet Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky reshuffles the pack in Kiev and Russian leader Vladimir Putin holds top-level talks with the Turkish president in the Russian Black Sea spa of Sochi.

In the USA the New York Times claims that Putin may meet Democratic Korean leader Kim Jong Un for talks in Vladivostok later in the month. But this has not been confirmed in Moscow or Pyongyang.

The Russian ambassador in the DPRK did, however, tell the Russian media that UN sanctions have not stopped Russia and North Korea from strengthening bilateral relations, which are now on the rise. “As for the impact of UN Security Council sanctions on bilateral political relations, I would say firmly: they have no effect,” Alexander Matsegora told TASS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held bilateral talks on Monday. These touched upon energy and food security as well as major regional and geopolitical issues, including the Ukraine war and the Black Sea ‘grain corridor’ that Russia refused to renew in July because the imperialists were not honouring their side of the agreement.

The imperialists say Russia’s decision to suspend the deal hurts the Global South, but the Kremlin says the poorest developing countries never got more than a minuscule part of Ukraine’s food exports while the lion’s share was taken by the European Union. In any case, Russia has the capacity to replace Ukraine’s agricultural products on the global market and it will supply grain free of charge to the countries in need.

Turkey will continue to push for peace, diplomacy and negotiations President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on Tuesday but that it is unlikely that hostilities between Ukraine and Russia will end anytime soon.

“Unfortunately, the war, which has been going on for a year and a half, is still going on,” the Turkish leader said, adding that “there are no prospects on the horizon for achieving peace”.

But: “There are no winners in war, and there are no losers in peace. We are ready to do our part if the parties express such a desire. We will also continue to play the role of mediator in issues such as the exchange of prisoners and the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant,” Erdoğan said, stating that Turkey is ready to act as a mediator as it did last year.

Putin said Russia remained open to negotiations but it is Kiev and its Western backers that are refusing to talk. During the early months of the conflict Russian and Ukrainian delegations had reached a number of agreements and signed draft documents that were arbitrarily dumped on the insistence of Anglo-American imperialism.

In June the Ukrainians launched their “summer offensive”, promising to turn the tide on the battlefield. Three months have passed and all they’ve got to show is a handful of front-line villages and the loss over 66,000 troops.

This undoubtedly is why Zelensky sacked his Defence Minister Alexei Reznikov on Sunday, citing the need for “new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society in general”. He’s been replaced by Rustem Umerov, a reactionary career politician from the Crimean Tartar community who has no military experience.

Meanwhile, the crackdown on the left continues in Ukraine. Georgi Buiko, a veteran communist and former MP, was arrested by the secret police on 16th August. Buiko, who is the leader of the Ukrainian Anti-Fascist Committee, has been charged with participating in “anti-Ukrainian activities” and of possessing communist and “pro-Kremlin” publications in his home. The security authorities say they are now preparing charges against Pyotr Simonenko, the leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine.