TASS News agency reports that Ukraine military forces are massing for an offensive against the breakaway republic, with an attack possible by around September 14.
Ukraine’s army command is preparing an offensive on positions of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) with the use of three army brigades and the Azov paramilitary battalion under control of foreign instructors, Daniil Bezsonov, a spokesman for the DPR operations command, said on Sunday.
According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, after assault drills, Ukraine’s 79th assault airborne brigade is about to be pulled from the Nikolayev region to the conflict zone in Donbass. The Azov group, formally a unit of Ukraine’s National Guard, is engaged in exercises to drill the skills of combat actions in populated localities.
“So, it seems that the command of Ukraine’s ‘unified forces operation’ allocates the central role in an offensive to the 36th marines brigade, 56th mechanized infantry and 79th assault airborne brigades. Nazis from the Azov group will be tasked to back the offensive in the rear. All these operations will be commanded by the military from the United States and Canada, or, in other words, by NATO military,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.
According to Bezsonov, a big number of Ukrainian servicemen have reportedly reached the village of Urzuf on the Sea of Azov’s coast, while high-ranking US and Canadian military arrived to the command of Ukraine’s Vostok army group. “We don’t rule out that foreign servicemen will take part in the planned offensive,” he said.
On September 1, the DPR operations command said citing reconnaissance data that Ukrainian army had begun preparations for an offensive to be launched on September 14.
The Azov battalion is largely comprised of neo-Nazis and indeed uses the early symbolism of the Nazi Party, with the Wolfsangel sign adorning their uniforms.
RT offered a corresponding piece noting that the recent assassination of Donetsk Leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko “most plausibly” carried out by Kyivan operatives suggests that Kyiv’s new strategy is to eliminate Donetsk by force:
“Zakharchenko’s murder benefits Ukrainian hardliners in the first place, [as they] are not interested in the Minsk process or any sort of peace settlement with the people of the Donbass region,”Aleksandar Pavic, a political analyst, said, commenting on the assassination. He believes the hardliners are “headed by the Ukrainian president [Petro] Poroshenko himself” and thus constitute the backbone of the current government.
Kiev has always considered the Ukrainian conflict a “zero sum game,” former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT, adding that “anything that weakens the leadership of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics has to be considered a plus for Kiev.” He pointed out that this murder “fits into a pattern of earlier attacks” that Kiev launched against the self-proclaimed republics.
Zakharchenko’s murder clearly shows that the Kiev government has always regarded the situation in eastern Ukraine “as an issue to be settled by force,” John Laughland, British philosopher, historian and author told RT.
Kiev always referred to the forces of the self-proclaimed republics as “Russian and not Ukrainian fighters,” Laughland said. “If you believe that the people on your territory are invaders from a foreign state, which is what Ukraine is saying about the people of the Donbass, then that shows that you are not interested in a political settlement, you do not regard them as your own citizens,” he added.
Zakharchenko’s murder “must show to the whole world what some people may have known … for some time, which is that Ukraine is not interested in a political settlement,” Laughland said. He also said that Poroshenko stated just recently that he is “adamantly opposed” to the idea of Ukraine’s federalization, which effectively means that he is against any autonomy for the eastern Ukrainian regions and is not eager to fulfill the Minsk Agreements.
His words were echoed by Jatras, who said that “if anyone had any doubt that the Minsk process was absolutely dead, this should end all such doubts.” Pavic, meanwhile, said that the murder was apparently “intended to undermine the new impetus given to the Minsk process after the latest Putin-Merkel meeting.”
The Putin-Merkel meeting and the finalization of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as well as France’s expressed interest in having Russian assistance for European security and most recently Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian-made S-400 air-defense systems all suggest a de facto disintegration of NATO as an instrument of European Unity with the US. For this reason, it is suspected that the remaining active supportive powers in NATO are trying to tighten their grip on Ukraine. To that end, Western media created and still maintains a very powerful propaganda net for its consumers about Ukraine. RT continues:
However, all these facts are unlikely to change the attitude towards the Ukrainian conflict in the West partly because western countries care more about their own vested interests than the truth, the analysts warned.
The European policymakers “have invested a lot of political capital into saying that Russia has invaded Ukraine in the Donbass,” Laughland said, adding that it is now the official position of the EU. Even if they understand what the real situation is, it will still “take a long time before they change their mind on that,” he warned.
Jatras believes that US and European officials might even pledge increased support to Ukraine, playing right into the hands of Kiev that wants to “ensure that there is no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow” and sees “anything that cranks up tensions further as beneficial.”
This incident benefits all “foreign actors interested in keeping Russo-Ukrainian tensions high, headed by the US deep state, the liberal-interventionist leadership of NATO” and even the UK, which has been waging a reckless anti-Russian campaign for quite some time by now, Pavic said.
The West will eventually attempt to pin the blame for Zakharchenko’s murder on some local actors or frame it as a result of some sort of internal power struggle, the analyst predicted. He went on to say that this incident could also “boost Poroshenko’s standing with the promoters of the hysterical anti-Russian campaign in the US, many of whom will be present at John McCain’s funeral, which Poroshenko is scheduled to attend.”
Mainstream media is, meanwhile, likely to downplay the whole issue or even simply ignore it, Laughland said, warning that this murder could have disastrous consequences for the situation in the region. “This assassination could potentially destroy every possibility of a political settlement and we will be back to the worst period of the Ukrainian conflict. It will destroy the political process,” he said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.