MAJOR: Ukraine planning large-scale offensive against Donetsk People’s Republic

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KIEV – Ukraine is preparing a large-scale offensive against Donetsk in the Donbass region, Donetsk People’s Republican militia spokesman said on Monday.

On 21 July, a ceasefire between Ukraine and the popular republics of Donetsk and Luhansk came into operation. However there have been reports of breach of the truce ever since.

“The intensification of Ukrainian invaders near the contact line has one goal, the complete end of the existing ceasefire and the transition to a large-scale offensive against the republic,” said the RPD representative.

According to him, there are unprecedented shootings taking place in the region. The Ukrainian side accuses the RPD of falsifying evidence and allegations.

Since April 2014, Ukraine has carried out military operations against militias in the east of its territory. The self-proclaimed popular republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region opposed the coup d’état in Kiev in February of the same year.

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The Minsk agreements, signed in September 2014 and February 2015, laid the foundations for a political solution to the conflict, but have not yet brought an end to the violence. The UN estimates that the conflict in the region has already caused 13,000 deaths.

The Trilateral Contact Group (Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) has the Normandy format (Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine) which is the main consultation platform aimed at resolving the conflict between the Ukrainian government of the militias of Donbass.

In June, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky expressed his country’s willingness to negotiate with Russia and comply with the Minsk Agreements.

“We are ready to negotiate with Russia and comply with the Minsk Agreements,” he said at the end of his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

However, Zelensky pointed out that Ukraine must first be able to “defend and strengthen itself in the economic, political and military spheres.”

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