And see further below, remarks by Russian ambassador to the United Nations following UN Security Council discussion of August 11, 2016.
The situation in Donbass is still deteriorating. The number of attacks on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, according to the Defense Ministry of the Republic, still varies from 40 to 800 per day, but Kiev continues to use increasingly heavy weapons. Since the beginning of the summer, openly defying the Minsk Agreements, the Ukrainian army has been using heavy artillery, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks in the shelling. Two days ago, the military authorities of the Republic recorded 65 rounds from Grad MLRS rockets from the Ukrainian positions.
Last week, Kiev carried out massive shelling along the entire front line, with the especially intensive bombardments of the western and south-western outskirts of Donetsk, as well as of the northern outskirts of Gorlovka, the largest city in the north of the DPR.
The locality of Zaytsevo in the north of Gorlovka has already become one of the hottest spots on the frontline in Donbas. A part of it is occupied by the DPR army, the other by the Ukrainian army. During the so-called ceasefire, the Ukrainian side, mostly represented, according to the DPR soldiers on positions, by mercenaries, reduced the distance between the positions to up to 80 meters in some places. Clashes occur in the locality every day.
Not able to seize Gorlovka for over two years, the Ukrainian army systematically destroys, in retaliation, the infrastructure of the city. Yesterday, Kiev again deliberately shelled one of the city’s coal mines, with several miners underground, who continue to daily go to work, regardless of the frontal position of the city.
Over the past four days, according to the DPR authorities, the shelling by the Ukrainian military of the territory of the Republic resulted in 35 households damaged. Fortunately, none of the civilians were affected, but the DPR Defense Ministry reported one seriously wounded soldier of the army.
In the Lugansk People’s Republic, Kiev also uses heavy artillery openly. Yesterday, the authorities of the Republic reported another, the fourth consecutive, bombardment of the city of Stakhanov with 152mm cannons. According to the local administration, the shelling resulted in damage to several residential buildings, as well as to power lines and gas pipelines, which left much of the city without electricity and gas.
The LPR also reports that, during the night, the Ukrainian side continues to shell the only civilians checkpoint in the Lugansk segment of the front. It looks like the aim of these attacks is to destroy the checkpoint and, thus, stop civilians from moving across the contact line.
In the Donetsk segment of the front, the Ukrainian military shelled, three times in the past four days, observation points of the Russian side to the Joint Centre of Coordination and Control (JCCC) with heavy artillery, forcing the observers to ask the authorities of the DPR to provide them with body armor. In light of the fact that the OSCE mission staff have also repeatedly come under fire from the Ukrainian side, it can be assumed that Kiev is doing everything possible to force the international observers to leave the ATO area, allowing the Ukrainian side to deliver weapons and equipment to the front line unchecked.
According to DPR intelligence data, the delivery of equipment and ammunition to the Ukrainian positions is already carried out in columns, including the 122 and 152mm motorized artillery systems and howitzers, tanks and anti-tank cannons, infantry fighting vehicles and Grad MLRS. In addition, it was found out that, two days ago, a group of military specialists from Denmark had arrived in the Donetsk segment of the front. The purpose of this group is not training the Ukrainian militarybut to study the experience of warfare against the “Russian” military.
The LPR Intelligence also reported on the arrival at the Lugansk segment of the front of a column of trucks with ammunition for mortars, grenade launchers, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks. According to the military authorities of the Republic, Kiev ordered to increase the intensity of the attacks in the Lugansk direction to provide cover to the Ukrainian subversive groups penetrating into the territory of the Republic.
The presence of international observers on the frontline during the daytime forces Kiev to deliver equipment to the front line at night and with no identification lights, which regularly leads to serious road accidents in the near-front zone. In particular, three days ago, in the area of Ukraine-controled Mariupol, the largest city in the south of Donbass, there was a collision of a civilian car with an army truck. The female car driver was killed on the spot, while her 7-year-old son died of his injuries in hospital.
According to the sources of the intelligence of the Republics on the ground, the Ukrainian side places the delivered equipment and ammunition in frontline localities. DPR military authorities have repeatedly warned about the dangers which the locals face because of the high concentration of weaponry near their homes and negligent attitude towards it on the part of the Ukrainian military.
At the beginning of the week, in the Kiev-controlled part of the locality of Zaytsevo, to the north of Gorlovka, there was a detonation of ammunition in one of the Ukrainian army warehouses. The military even had to evacuate local residents. However, according to the latter, it did not lead to any enhancement of security measures in the Ukrainian military units. Two days ago, sa imilar detonation occurred in another Ukrainian ammunition warehouse in the Mariupol area .
As a result of intensive shelling and explosions at warehouses, the Ukrainian army is again lacking ammunition. DPR intelligence reported that recently, the Ukrainian artillery units had begun to use expired shells, with more than 10% of them not exploding or tearing apart the barrels of cannons. Over the past two weeks, the Ukrainian army lost about 15 cannons in such a way, with losses among the personnel.
Non-combat losses are one of the main reasons for the low morale among the Ukrainian troops. Lately, Kiev sent to the forefront units psychologists whose work turned out to be directed not only at a decline in Ukrainian soldiers morale but also at the identification of the “unreliable” among them. According to the DPR intelligence reports, some soldiers were arrested by the SBU without any explanation and sent to the detention center of Dnepropetrovsk.
It looks like Kiev decided to check the reliability of its army in anticipation of resuming the hostilities in Donbass. At the same time, under any pretext, the SBU carries out cleansing operations among the local population in the Ukraine-controlled territories. In one of the cities, even the mayor was arrested on charges of ‘separatism and aiding terrorists’.
The military authorities of the Republic also note a sharp intensification of reconnaissance with UAVs by the Ukrainian side. In the Lugansk segment of the front, Ukrainian drones fly along the routes of the OSCE aircraft devices in order to intrude the LPR territory.
Soldiers of the DPR Army also record Ukrainian drones along the entire front line. Two days ago, one of them was shot down in the Gorlovka area, with a homemade NATO sign pasted on its wreckage. Apparently, the Ukrainian command is trying, in such a way, to raise the morale of their soldiers, urging them to believe in the military help from the West, repeatedly promises to Kiev.
Two days ago, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, said upon leaving the country that Ukraine could expect military supplying from the United States in the nearest future.
On the same day, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, went to Brussels as a representative of the government of Ukraine and held talks with the European Council President, Donald Tusk, and the NATO authorities on the possibility of supplying Ukraine with ‘defensive weapons’.
Earlier this week, the advisor to the President of Ukraine said that in case of aggravation of the situation in Donbass, Ukraine would declare the seventh wave of mobilization [conscription]. The advisor’s statement did not specify which party could start this aggravation.
At the same time, local residents report that in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest, the SBU is already forming an electronic database of reservists to prevent their departure out of the Kharkiv region or abroad in order to evade the mobilization. Currently, the SBU is forming lists of industrial enterprises employees.
Moreover, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine also made a statement that the inhabitants of Kiev-controlled parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions would be subject to mobilization on the same grounds as other residents of Ukraine Thus, in case of resumption of the hostilities, mobilized residents of Donbas would have to fight against their neighbors and, in many cases, family members.
Yesterday, the President of Ukraine Poroshenko again officially declared a high probability of a full-scale Russian invasion of the country “from all directions”, according to him, and also confirmed its intention to immediately introduce martial law and declare the seventh wave of mobilization in such a case.
Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UN Security Council consultations on the situation in Ukraine
V.Churkin: At the Security Council consultations I read the statement which was issued today by our Foreign Ministry expressing concern and outrage for this attempted terrorist attack and the sabotage on the territory of the Republic of Crimea. And there was a discussion and what was important to me in that discussion was that many members of the Security Council called for full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. This is also in line with our position. And this is something which I reiterated. Of course, there were other statements like the US delegation in its typical way tried to deliver absolutely one-sided story about what is going on in Ukraine. But, unfortunately, it is something we expect in the Security Council, even though the United States, Washington keep telling us they want to help bring this crisis in Ukraine to resolution. But, unfortunately, that is never reflected in the Security Council. Other than that I think it was something which was useful to us – to give members of the Council the information about what has happened.
Q: Does Moscow think there needs to be dialogue now? I mean do you need dialogue between two sides?
V.Churkin: We keep talking all the time. But of course it was decided that there is no point in having this Normandy meeting in Beijing which was tentatively agreed upon – Normandy format presidential meeting. But the dialogue is there. The main vehicle is the contact group which meets periodically in Minsk. The problem is that the Ukrainian side does not show much of an interest in implementing the Minsk Agreements. In the Minsk Agreements the key actually is paragraph 11 – it is very easy for you to reread that paragraph: constitution reform, special status for Donbass, Donetsk and Lugansk, and amnesty law. They don’t want to do that. They keep twisting the issues coming up with preconditions and things like that. We call upon all those who have influence on Kiev to make sure that they do what they are supposed to do. For that actually I don’t see why there is a particular need in high-level meetings, because it is very clear what needs to be done.
Q: Ambassador, someone voiced concern over buildup of the Russian military. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
V.Churkin: I don’t have specific information about what is happening. We do have strong military but instead of counting our military they should be bringing to an end the conflict in Donbass and stop shelling civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk – that is what they need to do.
Q: Is it the time to revisit the annexation of Crimea?
V.Churkin: Revisit it? It will never be revisited. The incorporation, the reunification of Crimea with Russia was done two years ago after a referendum which was conducted in Crimea. 93% of the population expressed their wish to rejoin Russia. This is what has happened.
Q: Are you worried this could escalate into open conflict between you and Ukraine?
V.Churkin: I hope the Ukrainians would be prudent enough to do everything to prevent an escalation. Unfortunately, one wonders about them, first of all, being prudent enough and, secondly, their being able to control some elements. As you know, there are some volunteer extremist battalions present in the east of the country. We have a concern about their ability to control their own people.
Q: Do you think this represents desire of the Ukrainians to get Crimea back?
V.Churkin: No, I think it represents the fact that there is chaos in Kiev. They don’t know what to do about Donetsk. The Minsk Agreements are very clear but they don’t have the political will to do what they are supposed to do. Instead of massing this political will, they are trying to distract attention to other things. And of course, their economic situation is dramatic, no political will for reforms as well. Unfortunately, they chose to keep escalating their own political situation. Sometimes they are doing what we have seen them do in Crimea – this attempted active sabotage. This is very unfortunate.
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