Since July last year, a de jure ceasefire has been in effect in Donbas. De facto - official Kyiv almost every day reports about the violations and provocations by the militants. In the past few weeks, those have intensified, which resulted in a new escalation of the conflict in the Joint Forces operation zone.
The aggravation reached its peak on March 26, when four fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) were killed near the Shumy settlement. After this tragedy, a series of events took place against the background of which social networks and the media started talking about the likelihood of a "big war in Donbas."
What important news on this topic you might have missed and what is happening in the region at the moment?
The situation in Donbas
In the past two days, there has been a decrease in the number of attacks from the militants.
So, since the beginning of this day, only one case of violation of the truce is known. Based on the data of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the militants opened fire from rifle weapons near Novoaleksandrivka.
Closer to 22:00, the operational-tactical grouping reported about the shelling of Avdiivka by militants, as a result of which a Ukrainian soldier was killed.
"As a result of enemy fire, a soldier from the Joint Forces was wounded by a bullet. The soldier was promptly provided first aid and was evacuated to a hospital. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the doctors, it was not possible to save the life of the Ukrainian defender," the message says.
On April 4, one case of violation of the ceasefire was reported near Pivdenne.
On April 3, illegal armed groups fired at the positions of Ukrainian servicemen ten times, including the use of weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
On Friday, April 2, the OSCE SMM recorded more than a thousand violations of the ceasefire in Donbas: 594 - in the Donetsk direction, 427 - in the Luhansk direction.
With regard to the latest news about the transfer of equipment, the Conflict Intelligence Team reported yesterday that Russia is sending units of the 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division, or, as they are also called, "Pskov paratroopers", to the occupied Crimea.
So, on April 4, a video was published on the TikTok showing a railway platform with a self-propelled artillery unit "Nona-S" - it is in service with the Airborne Forces.
"After checking the platform number using the search service, we established that it follows from the Cheryokha station in the Pskov region to the Simferopol-cargo station. Military unit 07264, the 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division, is indicated as the consignor and consignee. They are known as the "Pskov paratroopers," the investigators say.
Aggravation in Donbas. Chronology
March 30. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak, during his speech in the Verkhovna Rada, stated that Russia was building up troops near the border of Ukraine.
"The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are gradually building up troops close to the state border of Ukraine: in the north, east and south ... An additional concentration of up to 25 battalion tactical groups is expected, which, together with the deployed forces and assets available near the state border of Ukraine, pose a threat to the military security of the state," summed up Khomchak.
In an interview with the Ukrainian service of the Voice of America, he clarified that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing for all sorts of provocations and a response to the enemy's actions.
March 30. The Verkhovna Rada at a meeting adopted a bill that will allow, in the event of aggravation in Donbas, to call reservists to serve within 24 hours.
March 30. In the evening, the leaders of the Normandy Four - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, without the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, discussed the aggravation in Donbas.
March 31. There was a video of Russian troops ferrying armored vehicles across the Crimean bridge.
March 31. Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin fears a resumption of active hostilities in the Donbas. Quote:
"We express our concern about the growing tension and express our concern that one way or another the Ukrainian side may take provocative actions that will lead to war. Of course, I would hate to see this. I mean the war that has already taken place there" ...
March 31. During the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on resolving the situation in Donbas, the Ukrainian side proposed to return to the regime of silence from April 1. Representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) supported the initiative, offering to adopt a joint agreed statement, but Russia refused.
March 31. Washington is closely following Russia's actions. This became known following a telephone conversation between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
April 1st. Ukrainian intelligence said that the Russian Federation is ready for large-scale provocations against Ukraine, including an offensive inland.
April 1st. In the evening, on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Kuleba's statements were made public, in which the diplomat called on Moscow to stop military pressure and immediately and unconditionally reaffirm its commitment to a political and diplomatic settlement and a ceasefire in Donbas.
April 1st. Defense officials from the United States, Canada and Britain expressed support for Ukraine in protecting its territories.
On the same day, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) noted that Russia's destabilizing actions undermine peace efforts in Donbas.
April 2. Zelensky, in his video message following a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), said that the Ukrainian army would be able to repulse anyone. The head of state recalled that when he discussed the situation in Donbas with American leader Joe Biden, he assured him that Ukraine will never be left alone against Russia's aggression.
April 4. The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, in a telephone conversation with Kuleba, expressed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and also invited the minister to take part in the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on April 19.
Key issue of our
call today with @JosepBorrellF
was Russia’s aggravation of the security situation. “EU is behind you”,
Josep Borrell said expressing support of Ukraine’s sovereignty
& territorial integrity, and invited me to take part in EU
Foreign Affairs Council on April 19th.
Key issue of our call today with @JosepBorrellF was Russia’s aggravation of the security situation. “EU is behind you”, Josep Borrell said expressing support of Ukraine’s sovereignty & territorial integrity, and invited me to take part in EU Foreign Affairs Council on April 19th.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) April 4, 2021
April 5. The leader of the militants of the unrecognized self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin on Russian television heated up the topic of the "big war", announcing "the threat of a full-scale attack by Kyiv on Donbas."
"Ukraine has such physical capabilities, technical ones too. That is, Ukraine has everything ready for this. Whether that decisive order will be given, which will be disastrous for the whole of Ukraine, we will see," he said on the air of "Russia 24", RBC reports.
April 5. Zelensky called on the UK, along with other NATO member states, to strengthen its presence in Donbas and increase sanctions pressure on Russia.