Igor Taro: situation in eastern Ukraine escalating (2)
According to Estonian journalist Igor Taro, the Ukrainian forces haven't suffered any losses in last few days, in the conflict with Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, the separatists have become more aggressive, squashing any hope for an imminent peace between Ukraine and Russia.
Attempts to achieve a ceasefire almost ended the hostilities for a time being, but the fire exchanges and rockets have become a routine again. The peace negotiations have also stalled.
Taro said that none of the participants are ready to accept a stalemate. Russia is pretending that it aims to achieve peace, but in reality, it continues to send weapons and artillery to Eastern Ukraine. Russian military officers lead the charge, using few local separatists as public figures for distraction.
Donetsk and Lugansk have already seen three rotations of self-appointed local leaders and there is an indication that a fourth one is on the cards. The previous ones, at the time prominently portrayed in the Russian media as “election winners”, have disappeared from the public eye.
Taro said that the Russian Army is not attempting a major offensive anymore, but rather using fire to frighten and distract. In the areas near Mariupol and Debaltsev, the Russians use mortar fire to apply pressure on Ukrainian positions. The separatists attempted also an attack at Donetsk Airport, but have failed.
Hostilities have intensified around the northern corner of the conflict area where grenade launchers and powerful artillery has been used to attack Ukrainian positions. If in the beginning of the month the area saw around two fire exhanges a day, then on Monday, there were already thirteen.
Taro added that the Ukrainian defense industry is working around the clock to manufacture new weapons and artillery for the army. There is a room for optimism – at the time when Russian Federation's ability to sustain the occupied territories is diminishing, the Ukrainian defense potential is strenghtening day by day.