The military conflict in certain parts of Donbass continues to escalate. Experts have since characterized recent events in the area as a “low-intensity war.”
Not only are both sides’ soldiers dying, but so are civilians and children. At the end of May, before her very grandmother’s eyes 15 year old Darya Kazemirova was killed by a shell that came from the direction of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At the present moment, the witness to the girl’s murder is being investigated for her blaming of the Ukrainians – after all, the village of Zheleznoe, where the tragedy took place, is under Ukrainian military control.
Amidst such tragedies inflicted upon helpless individuals, large-scale developments are also unfolding. According to the famous Russian political scientist, Sergey Markov, a Ukrainian blitzkrieg is forecasted for June, timed to coincide with the World Cup in Russia (June 14th-15th) as well as NATO war games in Poland and the Baltic states. The latter began on June 3rd and have assembled 18,000 troops from 19 countries and more than 100 units of military hardware close to Russia’s borders.
In my analyses for Russian and Donbass media, I have set out a slightly different view, although without denying the possibility of Markov’s scenario. I have argued that Russia may try to prevent a Ukrainian invasion of Donbass through a demonstration of military force. Numerous US and Ukrainian drone reconnaissance flights along the Donbass and Russian borders have supposedly revealed an accumulation of military equipment and manpower. This is one way of Russia demonstrating a show of force in case Kiev intends to risk an offensive against Donbass. As I have forecasted, Russia wants to prevent a Ukrainian blitzkrieg, save Donbass from a big war, and peacefully host the World Cup.
What’s more, between June 5-8, Russia held mass-scale war games. According to the Russian defense ministry’s report, Russia’s 4th air force army and air-defenses of the Southern Military District, together with the Black Sea Fleet, marines, special forces, and combined arms groupings, have engaged in a tactical exercises around Ukraine. The air defense forces and Back Sea Fleet’s drills have taken place in the Rostov region, the Krasnodar region, and Crimea.
Check out Fort Russ News’ coverage of part of the war games here.
What’s more, slightly earlier Russia’s Ministry of Defense reported that June 1st marked the kick-off of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’s summer training sessions, over the course of which new tactical warfare methods will be taught.
All of these drills have been announced very openly. They are being held precisely in those regions of Russia’s Southern Military District which border the Donbass republics and Ukraine (the Southern Military District also includes regions that are remote from Donbass, such as the Volgograd and Astrakhan regions and the North Caucasus republics and territories).
Has Ukraine received Moscow’s open message? The last people who want to give the order for an offensive are President Poroshenko and the General Staff of the Ukrainian army, for whom such would end in total disaster. If such an order is given, it would be under the harshest pressure from Washington. Europe does not want war either.
These past few days’ events in Russia’s Southern Military District are an instance of military exercises guaranteeing the preservation of peace. Russia, first with Putin’s words and then with Southern Military District war games, has made it clear that it will not allow Ukraine to cross the line between a local war from a large-scale war.