The peacemaking public image of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky seems to have little common with the Kiev government’s real policy in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) and Kiev-backed illegal armed groups consisting of neo-Nazis and other radicals still carry out regular attacks on civilian and military targets in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (the DPR and the LPR). On August 29, shelling by pro-Kiev forces killed 3 service members of DPR self-defense forces and injured 5 others. According to the DPR, the Kiev side used 120mm mortars, heavy machie guns and fire arms.
The DPR military described the situation at the contact line as worrisome and noted that the UAF actions demonstrate a negative tendency.
On August 30 and August 31, the UAF also violated the ceasefire using mortars and heavy machine guns targeting the vicinity of the DPR capital of Donetsk and positions of DPR forces on the contact line east of the city of Mariupol.
DPR and LPR forces seem to have no resources to respond symmetrically to the UAF actions or their response is limited by the political position of Russia that is not interested in the escalation in eastern Ukraine. In turn, Kiev and its Western backers do not limit themselves in actions.
This happens amid the expected ‘prisoner exchange‘ between Ukraine and Russia under the 33-33 formula. The prisoner exchange is another point of tensions. There are multiple documented cases of illegal detentions, torturing and killing of people by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Now, the Kiev regime is planning to use the illegally-detained persons to get back people directly involved in real crimes and military provocations.