Kiev seems to want to induce Russia to intervene in Donbass.
Written by Lucas Leiroz, researcher in Social Sciences at the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; geopolitical consultant.
The current security crisis in Ukraine fueled by Kiev and its western allies is on the verge of triggering a new wave of violence in the Donbass region. Recent statements by Russian officials have warned about the possibility of a resurgence of large-scale clashes, which would be a consequence of the extreme militarization promoted in the conflict zone by Ukrainian forces. However, Kiev’s government continues to ignore all the warnings made by Moscow, boosting the aggressiveness of its measures day after day.
In a recent statement, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Mihail Popov stated that the current situation of concentration of troops and weapons on the Donbass border is generating a process of “oversaturation”. This process, in addition to the belief in unrestricted Western support in any circumstance, can take both the Ukrainian regular armed forces and the paramilitary nationalist militias to an illusion of invincibility, pushing them into conflict whose violence is expected to reach unprecedented levels.
Earlier, the head of Russian foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin had already made a statement claiming that Kiev is preparing its forces for a new attack on Donbass. Naryshkin mentioned he has data that proves that the combat units of the Ukrainian army are already concentrated in the line of contact with the autonomous republics, ready to start a new wave of attacks, whose objective seems to be not only to fight the rebels, but also to try to bring Russia into the conflict.
In the same vein, the deputy head of the Donetsk’s Militia Department, Eduard Basurin, stated that Kiev transferred its S-300 anti-aircraft artillery division to Donbass, as well as several rocket launch systems, which undoubtedly indicates that there is an offensive plan in progress. The popular media of the autonomous republics also denounced that several service points of guidance for aviation are being installed by the Ukrainian armed forces in the line of contact in the Donbass, which raises the concern about possible air attacks with high power of destruction.
Another news that has also raised concern among people in Donetsk and Lugansk is the sending to the border of Ukrainian soldiers from the 24th Brigade, which is a special group of the armed forces, trained in the use of advanced weapons, such as the Swedish anti-tank systems NLAW and a wide list of American grenade launchers. This indicates that that Ukrainian forces are preparing for a really brutal and violent attack, the aim of which will be to provoke a Russian intervention to protect the local population.
In this third week of February, most of the Russian troops on the border were demobilized. In the West, media agencies are spreading a series of fake news, alleging absurd hypotheses to reconcile the discourse of the “invasion plan” with the retreat of the soldiers. In fact, what happened was simply the conclusion of a series of Russian military exercises in the region, which had several objectives, including preparing the troops for an eventual emergency and also demonstrating strength in the face of external threats (considering that it is NATO that represents a threat to Russia with the occupation of the entire border). If it had been at all concerned about peace, the Ukrainian government would take advantage of the moment the Russian troops were withdrawing and would also start a demilitarization. But, apparently, Kiev’s plans are different.
There is nothing rational or strategic in trying to induce Russia into direct combat with Ukrainian forces, but Kiev’s officials are deluded about a possible victory, as they believe they will receive unrestricted Western support in such a situation. Indeed, the West foments chaos sending money and weapons, trying to provoke Russia to intervene and thus fulfill the prediction of the “invasion”.
But, contrary to what Western analysts think, Moscow sees the Donbass as an autonomous region of Ukraine, not as part of its own territory, so there are no plans to intervene in the region, although there is humanitarian support for the people’s resistance. If, however, Moscow changes its plans and decides to intervene, Ukraine will be surprised by Western abandonment, since NATO’s interest is limited to the promotion of destabilization, with no advantage for the US in starting a war with nuclear potential just to protect Kiev.
On February 16, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov assured that his country will not initiate provocative actions or aggressions in the border. The oversaturation of militarization in the Donbass seems to indicate something to the contrary, leading us to believe that the minister’s words are a mere public formality. But it is hoped that he will in fact fulfill his promise, because in an eventual wave of violence, two sides may suffer: the people of Donetsk and Lugansk, who will be attacked once again; or, in a possible intervention, as Kiev seems to want to provoke, Ukraine itself – that will deal alone with a conflict it cannot win.
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