VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For National Independence and Socialism •


Ukraine: Comic actor, serious scenarios

Russian military advances in the Ukraine have been viewed with alarm in Kiev and the western backers of the Zelensky presidential administration. Ukraine is faced with a long, drawn out military struggle it is unlikely to win in a straightforward manner. The development has also been accompanied by a classic Cold War spy scandal as Zelensky seeks to consolidate a reliable power-base of support with declining popularity amongst many Ukrainians and little sign of any resolution to the war.

News coverage about Russian military advances in the north-eastern part of the Ukraine around Kharkiv and their seizing of several villages was met with alarm in Kiev; Ukraine is still waiting for further military aid from US-led western supporters of the Zelensky administration. (1) It has been generally acknowledged that Ukraine is confronting a much better equipped Russian military, which has also made recent advances in the east of the country. (2)

A recent announcement from France's President Macron that 'Europe should consider sending troops to help defend Ukraine if Russian forces break through their defence lines', has been taken seriously by European leaders. (3) Increased aid to Ukraine in the form of military personnel would now appear an agenda item for consideration. The move has also been accompanied by European leaders agreeing last week to using billions of Euros seized from Russian central bank assets being allocated for Ukraine for arms sales and post-war reconstruction. (4)  

Macron also provided a bleak analysis of the problems confronting Europe: aggression from Russia in both military and cyber-warfare, it was also falling behind in the economic and technological race between the US and China, the latter being allied with Russia. (5)

Escalating diplomatic tensions between Britain and Russia have also taken place: in early May the British government expelled Moscow's defence attache on allegations of espionage
incompatible with usual diplomatic status and also removing diplomatic status from several Kremlin-owned properties which Whitehall claimed were being used for intelligence-gathering. (6) Discussions appear to have also taken place in Whitehall about confiscating the properties and donating them to the Ukraine.

The British government has apparently been deeply concerned at Russian attempts to 'choke off support for Kyiv … with … hostile state activity in countries including Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland'. (7) The recent official high-level diplomatic meetings in Budapest between China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is also likely to be viewed along similar lines, particularly in light of a recent statement from the Hungarian Foreign Minister that the country would not support the proposed $100 bn EU fund for Ukraine. (8) A statement from the Belgian Royal Higher Institute for Defence issued immediately after the diplomatic visit acknowledged 'Hungary as the most likely pawn of Beijing inside the EU'. (9)  

While visiting Hungary President Xi Jinping also used the opportunity to provide a diplomatic position regarding areas of interest: China believes in a multi-polar world, although not all countries have equal status; China should be allowed to be 'a dominant power in Asia, as the US is in the Americas – and as Russia wants to be in Eastern Europe'. (10) It met with complete diplomatic silence from the US and their western allies; there was, undoubtedly, a great deal of discussion behind the scenes inside western corridors of power about the proposed global blue-print!

The present situation in the Ukraine, likewise, is also causing the US and their western allies considerable concern; the announcement that the Ukrainian Security Service had foiled a plot to assassinate Zelensky in early May, has also raised serious issues about the stability of his presidential administration. (11) It was noted 'the involvement of senior officers in the alleged plot highlights the persistent problem of collaborators and moles in Ukraine's security services'. (12) It has been a matter of serious concern that since the beginning of the military hostilities following the Russian invasion, over 2,000 Ukrainians have been found to have committed treason by providing Moscow with co-ordinates for military targets and monitoring the movements of senior government officials in Kyiv. (13) Many of the bombings of infrastructure by Russia would appear not random, but targeted in order to make the Ukraine dysfunctional as a state.

While sacking the head of the security department in mid-May, Zelensky stated one of the two conspirators 'had personally provided rocket rounds, drones and anti-personnel mines for an agent to carry out the attack'. (14) The nature of the military equipment and the ability of the conspirators to access it, raise serious questions about the whole internal security system and accountability of armaments and sensitive equipment.

During the past two years since the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky had apparently survived five or six similar conspiracies aimed at assassinating him. (15)

The developments have also coincided with Zelensky's popularity falling from previous heights of 90 per cent, to around 60 per cent in recent weeks. (16) While he remains the most popular Ukrainian politician, the former comic actor is now facing some serious scenarios, as are the US and their western allies. With US-led military planners and analysts expecting Russia to ramp up offensives during the northern summer aimed at seizing large areas of the eastern Donetsk region, the unresolved issues surrounding the initial invasion in 2022 are now set to become even more problematic and show little sign of any resolution in the foreseeable future.   

1.     Russia opens new front in Ukraine, Australian, 13 May 2024.
2.     Ibid.
3.     We may have to fight in Ukraine: Macron, The Weekend Australian, 4-5 May 2024.
4.     Europe to buy Kyiv arms with Russian money, Australian, 10 May 2024.
5.     Weekend Australian, op.cit., 4-5 May 2024.
6.     Britain expels Moscow attache, Australian, 10 May 2024.
7.     Ibid.
8.     See: Xi vows help for 'all-weather' friend Hungary, Australian, 13 May 2024.
9.     Orban rolls out red carpet for Xi as the money rolls in, The Weekend Australian, 11/12 May 2024.
10.   Xi vows, Australian, op.cit., 13 May 2024.
11.   Ukraine foils plot to kill Zelensky, Australian, 9 May 2024.
12.   Ibid.
13.   Ibid.
14.   Zelensky fires bodyguard chief after kill plot foiled, The Weekend Australian, 11-12 May 2024.
15.   Ibid.
16.   Australian, op.cit., 9 May 2024.