Following further escalation in Syria in the form of a Russian intervention, there has been little aired by main stream media outlets in recent weeks regarding unrest in the East of Ukraine.
So what has happened during this time frame and is there any sign of an end to the conflict?
BBC reported on the 23 October 2015 that a long term political solution currently looks bleak right from the off with both sides harboring real resentment. This is shown in the language used by Ukraine and Eastern separatists to describe each other as ‘fascists’ and ‘terrorists’ respectively and the threat of war exists despite the relative calm.
Recently Spiegel Online has reported on locals living on the Ukrainian side of the Donetsk front line that feel they have been forgotten about by the outside world. After intensive main stream media coverage regarding the troubles in Ukraine, little is now reported but that is partly due to a genuine lull in the fighting.
Sporadic small arms and machine gun fire has been reported on numerous occasions despite the imposed ceasefire and shelling seems to be making a steady comeback.
All out war between the Ukrainian government and the Eastern separatists may seem reasonably unlikely now but escalation could occur at any time.
On the 10 November 2015, TASS Russian News Agency has reported that two squadrons of combat helicopters have allegedly been deployed to Donbass according to the DPR Intelligence (Donetsk Peoples Republic).
At a briefing on the 10 November 2015, DPR defense spokesman Eduard Basurin is quoted by the Donetsk News Agency as saying: “We have become aware of arrival of two squadrons of combat helicopters to the Konstantinovka settlement, presence of tanks in the Zhovanka settlement, and artillery – comprising four self-propelled artillery systems – in the Novoselovka settlement.”
- TASS Russian News Agency article (10 Nov 2015) – Kiev redeploys two squadrons of combat helicopters to Donbas — DPR intelligence:
Pro Eastern Separatist news outlet Novorossia Today has reported that heavy weapons have been seen in areas that are in breach of the current Minsk agreement, alleged volunteer drone images have captured these violations.
- Novorossia Today article (08 Nov 2015) – Volunteers handed to the Defence Ministry photos of forbidden armament of UAF close to the frontline:
Meanwhile Ukraine Today reports that separatists have not withdrawn some heavy weapons from the front lines and a convoy of twenty main battle tanks has been spotted according to Ukrainian Intelligence.
Quote: “While the Ukrainian military continue to steadily observe the Minsk agreements, the terrorists unilaterally violate these agreements on a daily basis. In the area of Kalinin coal mine in Donetsk, our intelligence discovered a convoy of 20 main battle tanks,”
Pro Ukraine website Lugansk News Today has reported on the 10 November 2015 that over 50 attacks have occurred against the Ukrainian Army in Lugansk and Donetsk regions the last 24 hours according to the ATO Press Center.
- Lugansk News Today article (10 Nov 2015) – Over 50 attacks on Ukrainian Army positions in the last 24 hours reported by ATO Press Center:
Civilians in Eastern areas seem to be in a state of limbo and important infrastructure has been destroyed by both waring parties as respective military strategies deemed it acceptable at the time of on going conflict.
This includes transport infrastructure and services such as clean water and energy supply. Now there is a lull, repairs are required but these are slow to materialise given the tense atmosphere and mistrust that remains. The majority of food stuffs appear to be delivered from Russia according to local market workers in Donetsk and Lugansk.
As well as monitoring the events in Ukraine, the OSCE mission in Ukraine has assisted in areas including infrastructure repair as shown in a previous post on The WIDER View below, but much more is required.
It recent reports the OSCE highlights fighting witnessed from both sides, GRAD missile attacks hitting civilian areas, heavy military equipment previously reported at withdrawal lines missing upon revisit and heavy military equipment witnessed in violation of withdrawal lines.
- OSCE report (02 Nov 2015) – Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 2 November 2015:
- OSCE report (08 Nov 2015) – Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 8 November 2015:
In typical fashion, regardless of narrative and rhetoric, civilians are left to bear the brunt of the conflict and its current aftermath fueled by proxy nations for their political and strategic national interests from day one.