hot spot

Ukraine is not withdrawing its forces from the line of confrontation in the Donbas region

Ukraine is not withdrawing its forces from the line of confrontation in the Donbas region
Ukrainian troops stay in the Donbass in their positions
Photo: Reuters

Yesterday, the term expired for the formation of the 30-km buffer zone of security in the Donbas region between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) and armed groups of the unrecognized Donetsk and Luhansk republics. According to information that Capital possesses, Ukrainian armed forces did not even receive a directive on the relocation of military hardware and personnel.

Army in a stand-by mode

A source of Capital in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that yesterday there was not directive to liberate the 15-km zone. As such, the ATO forces continue their reconnaissance activity and positional defense of the controlled areas despite the ongoing shooting. The source noted that to avoid possible entrapment the forces are regrouping in the direction of Horlivka-Yenakiyevo, while some military formations are organizing their actions after the rotation of military soldiers in the third wave of mobilization. “The decision to withdraw military forces will be made by the Commander-in-Chief. After the corresponding directive of the high command of the ATO is given, it will be executed,” he said.

A source of Capital in the General Staff said the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the ATO forces Viktor Muzhenko has been temporarily relieved of his duties as he is involved in the investigation into the deaths of military servicemen in the entrapment near Ilovaysk. First Deputy of the Headquarters Hennadiy Vorobyov carries out his duties.

As a reminder, an agreement on cease fire in the ATO zone was reached during the meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on September 20. Under the signed memorandum, a full cease fire regime is being introduced and all military formations of both sides of the conflict should remain on the front line as of September 19.

According to plan, on Monday the two sides were to ensure the withdrawal of heavy artillery to a 15-km zone on both sides of the front. Former Minister of Defense Oleksandr Kuzmuk, who is an adviser to the president, told Capital that the provisions of the Minsk memorandum are not being fulfilled by the two sides of the conflict. He said the Ukrainian military forces would not abandon the zone of the conflict if the symmetry of actions is not observed. “The ATO forces will not back off from their enemy. As long as there is no cease fire and artillery shooting, both sides will stand their position,” he assured. Kuzmuk specified that only heavy arms were to be withdrawn, while the troops remain on their positions.

Yesterday, Director of the Information Analytical Center of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Lysenko stated that the ATO forces began preparing for the removal of heavy arms.

Invisible arms

Permanent Representative of Russia in the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe Andrey Kelin said yesterday that the zone of security in the east of Ukraine will be divided into five sectors. 350 representatives of the OSCE will observe fulfillment of the agreements. “The zone of observation has been divided into sectors: 90-100 observers will work in the Luhansk and Donetsk and 50 will work in Kramatorsk, Mariupol and Antratsyt each,” said Kelin.

It is planned that Germany will supply 10 unmanned airplanes for the needs of the OSCE. “We should understand that the 30-km zone is standard procedure for resolving such conflicts. Such a distance is considered to be a solid blockade against artillery attacks, though modern Russian weapons have a much greater firing distance. But the most important factor is that now politicians must deal with the future of the zone and the region,” Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy and International Security Program of the Razumkov Center Oleksiy Melnyk told Capital.

Noteworthy is that on Sunday night President Petro Poroshenko stated that the borders of the buffer zone will be reinforced by border guards. He also said that military actions are not enough to win the war in the Donbas as Kyiv’s attempts to increase the tactical grouping will incite a backlash from Russia. Poroshenko admitted that Ukraine’s hopes of receiving weapons from the U.S. were vain. “But we should receive and received everything that we need – reconnaissance radars and other equipment that more than doubles the effectiveness of our weapons,” the president said in a nationwide interview.

Former press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oleh Voloshin told Capital the reason behind unwillingness of U.S. President Barack Obama to supply lethal weapons is that he does not want to provoke a further conflict in Ukraine. He said that the supply of state-of-the-art weapons will force Russia to strengthen its military presence. Head of the research program at the Center of Army, Conversion and Disarmament Serhiy Zgurets told Capital that Ukraine can count on agreements with certain NATO member countries. For example, according to his information, there are prospects of the supply of unmanned aircraft from the UK and Austria.

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