Over the course of this year, the news began more than once with the phrase: “In the Donbass, there is a new aggravation of the armed conflict.” Let us recall at least the demonstrative transfers of Ukrainian armored vehicles to the front line in February – March. And now we are witnessing a new round of aggravation, when the cannons sounded again practically along the entire length of the contact line. However, we can already speak not just of another increase in tension, but of the conflict reaching a somewhat different level, of Ukraine crossing a certain line beyond which a resumption of a large-scale war is indeed possible.
In this case, it is worthwhile to especially fix an important fact: a sharp exacerbation of the situationbegan on the morning of October 26, when Ukrainian troops crossed the Kalmius River, which is a natural line of demarcation between the opposing sides in the southern steppe part of Donbass, and occupied the small village of Staromaryevka on the left bank. It is possible to revise the frontline reports of the last weeks – and we will not find news on either side that any of the armed units is occupying a settlement in the gray zone, beyond the agreed demarcation line. That is, the date of October 26 and the unprovoked actions of the Ukrainian military became the starting point of escalation – this is always important in further determining who is responsible for the escalation of the conflict. Otherwise, we know who will be accused of this by the Western media, which “did not notice” the current provocation of Ukraine.
At first, there was information that a Ukrainian sabotage group entered Staromaryevka, hung a flag there and returned to its original positions. However, the next day, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin confirmed the fact that the armed formations of Ukraine continue to be in the village, set up checkpoints there and build dugouts, that is, they are strengthening to create a bridgehead on the left bank of Kalmius. To understand the danger of the situation, it is worth noting that from this village to the Russian border there are less than 30 kilometers of open steppe, without barriers and obstacles. That is, one march will be enough to cut off the southern grouping of DPR troops from the main forces. Preparation for such a scenario is evidenced bythe massive shelling of the nearby regional center, Telmanovo, which began after the capture of Staromaryevka, and the pulling up of tank subunits to this sector of the front.
It is not surprising that this was followed by atte-mpts by the armed forces of the DPR to destroy the pontoon ferry across Kalmius, after which a video appe-ared in which Ukrainian troops allegedly for the first time inflict a combat strike on enemy firing positions with Bayraktar drones acquired in Turkey .
It would be wrong to say that there is something new in the openly provocative actions of the Ukrainian military. Suffice it to recall that after the conclusion of the Minsk agreements (February 2015) and up to the coming to power of Vladimir Zelensky (May 2019), Kiev quite officially used the “toad jumping tactics” when it occupied one settlement after another in the gray zone. That is, the seizure of a village in a no-man’s land is news for the last two years, but not for the entire history of the conflict.
And even more so, the combat use of drones is nothing new for this war. Ukraine has used them more than once at various points along the front line and even deep in the rear, as was the case with the murder of a four-year-old boy in April this year. And now, simultaneously with the capture of Staromaryevka, Kiev used a combat drone, for the second time this year it tried to blow up a tank farm located right in the middle of Donetsk’s residential areas.
That is, by and large, the capture of the gray zone and drones are not a sensation for the war in Donbass. Noteworthy is the hypothetical use of Bayraktar, which in Ukraine is considered a kind of “miracle weapon” capable of radically changing the course of the war, as well as Kiev’s recognition of this use, despite the direct ban contained in the Minsk agreements.
The word “hypothetical” is used here for a reason. The Russian side expressed doubts about the veracity of the stories of Ukraine. Thus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, commenting on this information, said : “From the latest statements that the Kiev authorities abound with and with which it gushes, it is very difficult to figure out where is the truth and where is fiction.” The DPR also cannot confirm whether the “Bayraktar” was used by Ukraine or not, stressing that in any case, no one was killed or wounded as a result of the drone strike.
The Ukrainian side is completely confused in its testimony about the Turkish UAV. First, this information was officially confirmed by the General Staff of Ukraine, which emphasized that the order for Operation Bayraktar was personally given by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valery Zaluzhny . Then it was denied by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Andriy Taran, who called all this “a pro-Russian fake.” And then the very statement of Taran was called “a fake of Russian hackers” – allegedly the site that distributed it was hacked. Why would someone in Russiait was necessary to refute information about the use of “Bayraktar” by Ukraine, no one explained. And all these manipulations of the Ukrainian military and the media serving them once again confirm Lavrov’s words that Kiev itself is entangled in a pile of its own lies, unable to distinguish the truth from its own fakes.
However, the fact that the Ukrainian General Staff openly and proudly admitted to using drones to deliver combat strikes is indeed in some way a turning point. That is, the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine no longer hesitates to admit their gross violation of the Minsk Agree-ments. And the ban on the use of UAVs by both parties to the conflict is contained in a memorandum s-igned by Ukraine on Septe-mber 19, 2014, which beca-me the basis for further M-insk agreements. And then, in July 2020, Zelensky personally confirmed his commitment not to use drones in the conflict zone. And if earlier Ukraine at the official level renounced its sabotage with the use of combat drones, now it has st-epped over the line beyond which there is a complete rejection of Minsk.
That is why it can be argued that in the history of Turkish drones, Kiev crossed the red line. According to Rodion Miroshnik, representative of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in the Trilateral Contact Group, members of the Ukrainian delegation in Minsk talks proudly declared this week: “Yes, we used Bayraktars, we used UAVs – and we do it regularly.” Moreover, this is stated openly, in the presence of OSCE representatives, who, in theory, should record any violation of the Minsk agreements.
The reaction of the Western patrons of Ukraine to all these public confessions is touching in its meekness. The German Foreign Ministry simply recalled the commitment not to use drones and called on “all parties to de-escalate.” That is, not Ukraine, which is to blame for the escalation of the conflict, but all the parties. Berlin didn’t seem to notice any reports of the seizure of a village in the gray zone. At the same time, do not hesitate, when the People’s Militia of the DPR begins to liberate these territories and restore the status quo, it is here that Germany, and all of Europe, and the United Statesthey will certainly cry out about “Russian aggression”, dropping the starting point of the escalation of tension. And then, of course, there will be sanctions against Russia. Which, it seems, is what Ukraine is trying to achieve with its provocations.
The funny thing is that such a reaction from Berlin did not satisfy Ukraine. Its ambassador to Germany, Andrei Melnik, who, judging by his repeated demarches regarding his country of residence, clearly believed that he was a certain proconsul there, having the right to issue orders, angrily rejected Berlin’s more than cautious remarks. In an interview with the Bild newspaper, he said that Ukraine has a legitimate right to use any kind of weapons, and Germany’s only duty is to convene a Normandy summit. True, the ambassador forgot to explain what the meaning of the “Normandy format” is, if Kiev a priori does not intend to comply with his decisions.
There is no doubt that such impudent behavior of Ukraine towards its European patrons became possible only with the support or even on the direct order of the main owner – the United States. It is no coincidence that the escalation of the conflict began immediately after the visit of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Ukraine. The go-ahead for escalation was received, provocations on the front line were agreed in advance. As expected, the Americans are deliberately turning Ukraine into a training ground, and the Ukrainians into cannon fodder.
Britain, where Zelenskiy is heading this weekend, is also taking on the role of helping. He decided to combine a trip to the UN climate summit in Glasgow with negotiations on the supply of British Brimstone missiles to Ukraine. The British do not hide their hopes of using these missiles against Russia. How many civilians of Donbass and Ukraine will die as a result of the use of a new type of lethal weapon for these places, neither London nor Washingtondoes not care at all – they know that they will still declare the dead “victims of Russian aggression” and demand the introduction of new sanctions against us. That is why it is important now to remember every detail of the beginning of a new exacerbation in Donbass and fix who is responsible for the escalation of the conflict.