Late on January 19, the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) reported another invasion of Russian troops, saying that “two battalion task forces of the Russian Armed Forces have crossed the border into Ukraine.” The report was short, more like an SMS message or a tweet. We have become accustomed to such information, and it has become clear to everyone that thousands of Russian military personnel are in Ukraine, and they are constantly rotated to and out of the country. By all appearances, the NSDC released this succinct and urgent report on purpose.
Luhansk public figure Dmytro Sniehyriov explained the situation: “What good are two battalion task forces? They can have up to 700 soldiers, while our military has about 50,000 troops in the area. These two battalion task forces cannot make any real impact on the situation. It seems that by releasing this report, the government is preparing the public for a return to the Minsk Accords format. The authorities need to explain to people why our soldiers sit idle. They will explain their inability to prosecute the war by citing interference from the aggressor country.”
Indeed, immediately after the enemy’s massive attacks in the Donetsk Airport were repelled, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was there again, urging compliance with the Minsk Accords. These agreements have become a sort of doll used for playing war and truce. All sides urge compliance and, consequently, all keep fighting. The accords themselves are something mysterious, surrounded with corrections, alleged secret understandings and maps of the disengagement line. One of these maps has appeared on the Internet, allegedly showing how the warring parties should have disengaged.
Meanwhile, Boryslav Bereza explained the situation around the Donetsk Airport thus: “It is a complicated matter. The combined airborne forces are not clearing the enemy from Donetsk, they have just... got lost. The Ukrainian side does not intend to infringe the Minsk Accords. At this point, our troops are engaging in land navigation effort. As our paratroopers do so, Donetsk is self-clearing from separatist forces.” We can only wish that our battle teams in Donetsk keep using such useful and effective land navigation systems.
The gangsters are persisting in their attacks on Pisky. Moreover, the whole anti-terrorist operation area is covered with red dots signifying battles. There are trouble spots near Luhansk as well. First, Luhansk residents say they heard powerful roar of heavy vehicles that moved through the city center (these were the battalion task forces from the report). These vehicles came through Krasnodon and are currently stationed south of Luhansk. At the same time, Grad rocket launchers from Luhansk itself shelled the city of Shchastia late on January 19. Importantly, the launchers were standing in Yakir neighborhood, in a vacant lot near a maternity hospital. Thus, the gangsters keep using hospitals and kindergartens as cover for their attacks on populated places. As a result of this attack, 30 civilian apartments were destroyed in Shchastia.
We have recently heard about the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic allegedly acquiring an air force. How can an air force exist without airfields? Of course, this is a bluff. The Luhansk Airport has been completely destroyed, including its runway. That left a small runway in the city itself, but firstly, it is designed for far more modest aircraft, and secondly, it was also partially damaged in April, as the enemy looted... concrete from it. The reason for making such statements is clear. In the case of the Russian Air Force starting operations in Ukraine, they will have plausible deniability, claiming that the attacks are carried out by the local “militia,” not Russians.
However, Russia sends to Ukraine not just armaments, but some other interesting equipment as well. Namely, a convoy of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations’ National Crisis Management Center’s healthcare group was detected and attacked near Luhansk. What vehicles were in the convoy? They carried mobile industrial incinerators intended for biological waste incineration. Russian human rights activist Elena Vasileva wrote about this: “We have hard evidence now that the Russian authorities have ceased to collect and somehow sort body parts they find in battlefields, like arms, legs, and heads. They bring bodies to Donetsk morgues and unceremoniously pack them in cellophane and send to Russia. I repeat, only intact bodies get such treatment. All the so-called ‘puzzles’ are dumped in bags and disposed of.” Indeed, the Donbas has been turned into a horrible cemetery for thousands of people. This terrible, ugly, bloody adventure is going on with no end in sight.
The death toll has long passed the 1,000 mark on both sides, including civilians. Of course, to stop this mass production of death, neither half-measures, nor pointless talks or occasional counterattacks are enough. We need a coherent and determined approach, not only from politicians, but generals as well.
The president has announced the next wave of partial mobilization. This news has immediately become surrounded by a huge cloud of interpretations and scare-mongering. A number of reports, articles and especially avalanche of posts and comments on the Internet are devoted to hysteric claims that all of us will be thrown under the tracks of Russian tanks and at the muzzles of Russian guns. This is an example of Russian propaganda purposes coinciding with the vulnerability of some Ukrainians. The hysteria increases as our leaders hesitate to act and keep playing strange games by making statements about peace, but releasing regular, daily reports of the deaths of our soldiers and civilians. We have to remember that this country is at war, and the war will not be limited to the Donbas if we scream “Let them have the Donbas!” on every occasion, repeating a worn message of the Kremlin propaganda.