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The situation in Eastern Ukraine is slowly simmering towards a large escalation, if the actions and rhetoric of all involved players are to be analyzed.
While the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is largely sitting idly, unbothered by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are subject to almost daily artillery shelling.
Another threat was recently added to that, when the UAF decided to deploy the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones on the battlefield. These combat UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle) have not carried out any airstrikes yet, but have been used for reconnaissance.
A low number of ceasefire violations are observed each day by the DPR. Naturally, these are responded to, and Kiev’s forces usually report that some of its soldiers are reportedly wounded or killed.
Most recently, on November 2nd, a UAF serviceman was killed, in the days leading up to this, several UAF soldiers were wounded.
The DPR is much more silent about its losses, but Ukrainian volunteer battalion fighters and servicemen are quite vocal about any success they achieve on the battlefield. On October 28th, Ukraine’s Armed Forces destroyed two armored fighting vehicles, part of the Donetsk People’s Militia near the contact line.
Throughout the month of October, the DPR side has lost at least 16 fighters, mostly as a result of UAF shelling. Some of the deceased succumbed to an illness, presumably COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Kiev’s assertive actions are likely to exacerbate in the coming days, as it received quite an impetus from its premier ally – the United States. Currently, the Black Sea hosts the USS Porter guided missile destroyer, as well as the USS Mount Whitney Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship, which is the flagship of the 6th Fleet, a significant warship without a doubt.
While the ships were entering the Black Sea, the MSM was producing reports of a concentration of forces in Russia, along the Ukrainian border.
Kiev’s Defense Ministry initially denied these reports. However, Ukraine’s parliament on November 2nd dismissed Defense Minister Andriy Taran, as his results were obviously displeasing for President Volodymyr Zelensky and Co.
In his place comes, now former, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov. He is much more aligned with the course that Kiev pursues in regard to Russia and Eastern Ukraine.
His most recent statements include the observation that “Ukraine won’t be able to adopt any well-known model of conflict resolution.”
Reznikov’s statements are quite hawkish in nature and are completely in synch with the policy of seeking conflict and escalation, he would be a suitable Defense Minister for the current Kiev government.
Around the same time, Ukraine began admitting that there is a concentration of forces along its border, despite denying it initially. Now, Kiev maintains that Russia has deployed 90,000 troops along the border, with a massive amount of hardware to boot.
Despite no indication of any potential escalation being given, former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Lieutenant General Igor Romanenko said that in a fight Moscow’s forces and its allies in Eastern Ukraine should prepare for a “bloodbath”.