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Conflict in Eastern Ukraine continues simmering, with relatively regular escalations that lead to a few servicemen deaths and injuries.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) also made it a habit of targeting various civilian infrastructures, mostly damaging buildings but sometimes injuring civilians.
Most recently, on the morning of September 21st, the UAF opened fire on the town of Yasinovataya firing 15 shells from a 120-mm mortar.
A kindergarten was damaged, as well as a sanatorium boarding the school. All the children had to be taken to a bomb shelter and injuries were avoided, but a pipeline nearby was struck in the shelling.
The UAF carried out the attack from their position from the separation line in the village of Verkhnetoretskoe, which was split in two between the Donetsk People’s Republic troops and Kiev.
On the previous day, shelling on the area left more than 400 civilians without electricity due to UAF shelling on a transformer substation.
Damage to civilian infrastructure is an almost daily occurrence. On September 17th, shelling on Donetsk city left 3 civilians injured and 7 buildings damaged.
These escalations are commonly unrelated to the situation on the frontline, but rather on political processes in and around Ukraine, including in its neighboring Russia.
Usually, a ramping up in shelling activity is observed when a Western official is visiting, or Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appears to inspect the frontlines.
Over the past few days, there have been elections in Russia, including in Crimea.
The Kiev regime was likely preparing for the elections on the peninsula in advance. In early September, it turned out that an August 23rd sabotage attack in the Crimean village of Perevalnoe was organized by Ukrainian military intelligence.
The elections in Crimea are a hot topic in the international arena, with Turkey refusing to recognize its results.
Kiev strictly opposes any political engagement in Crimea, and the increased shelling and targeting of various civilian infrastructure is a form of punishment by the UAF.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin is yet to take any response measures, and only urges Kiev not to move forward with its multi-faceted military preparations such as deploying more and more troops and hardware closer to the Russian borders.
Meanwhile, the US and Ukraine have launched a new Rapid Trident-2021 joint military exercise in a show of force, involving 6,000 soldiers from fifteen countries. At the same time, former American ambassador to Kiev John Herbst claimed that, in case of an open conflict with Moscow, the UAF should expect no actual help from the United States.
Still, a potentially incoming Iron Dome missile defense system could make Kiev even bolder in its provocations in Eastern Ukraine and lead to even more exchanges in the coming months.