Edited by Desi Tzoneva
After the collapse of the Minsk Protocol, the Ukrainian regime has increased its pressure on the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has combined military rhetoric with aggressive actions. The situation on the frontline has become more intense recently. The Ukrainian military forces have started shelling LPR positions and civilian targets. Armed and combat engagements between LNR militia and Ukrainian troops have become more frequent.
The re-commenced warfare makes the poor humanitarian situation in the Donbass region even worse. In particular, many LPR settlements suffer from a water deficiency. The entire system of water abstractions is located in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian military. Kiev used the shortage of water and electricity as an instrument of pressure in 2014 during the early stages of war in Donbass.
The water deficiency of 2014 in the DPR was a real catastrophe. The government of the republic reported that Donetsk’s water supply had run out almost entirely. There was no water even in hospitals and children’s institutions. Thanks to the heroic actions of utility personnel and the successful ceasefire negotiations, the problem was resolved.
The “water war” re-commenced in Luhansk around three months ago. In the beginning of July, the local authorities loyal to Kiev ordered that the water supply be turned off, just as they had switched off the power of the entire region previously. The trouble with electricity was resolved in 2014 by connecting the LPR and DPR to the Russian electricity grid.
LPR residents and officials have already become used to the Ukrainian methods of humanitarian war. Although the situation is quite tough for all LPR citizens, Luhansk authorities have an experience in dealing with these types of circumstances. They will not allow the catastrophe of 2014 to reoccur.
The collapse of the Minsk Protocol may lead the DRP and the LNR to opt for a military solution to the worsening humanitarian situation. The governments of both republics may decide to attack the Ukrainian positions in order to push them back and stop the shelling from the Ukrainian territory. However, the main aim will be to regain control of key water supply resources, gas pipelines and power stations.