Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 22 February 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
War In Donbas Is Most Likely Scenario
As shelling intensified in eastern Ukraine, Russia is accusing Ukraine of drafting an offensive plan and evacuating “civilians” from Donbas while it staging an “all-out mobilization” in what is known as “people’s republics,” a new chapter of the Russia-Ukraine war is just about to begin.
Tensions in the east of Ukraine have risen dramatically in mid-February after Russian-backed separatists launched an intense artillery barrage across the line of control with Ukrainian forces. At the same time, the Russian defense ministry said some troops massed near Ukraine would begin returning to their bases following the completion of drills. The Kremlin is mounting tensions in Donbas to then say it had pulled out troops and had had no plans to attack Ukraine––according to what the West had claimed––while it was Ukraine that invaded “the people’s republics” in Donbas. As many of its residents hold Russian passports, Moscow feels somewhat “obliged” to intervene. Last year, the Kremlin used Donbas as a tool in its war against Kyiv by simplifying the procedure for obtaining Russian passports. By amassing its troops alongside the border with Ukraine, Russia is seeking to catch Kyiv’s attention and intimidate its western neighbor with a possible all-out invasion. Russia is yet more likely to stage a military operation in Donbas to “protect” the Russian-speaking population of the two “people’s republics.” The Ukrainian military said two soldiers were killed and four wounded in shelling by pro-Russian separatists on February 19. Still that day, the OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine recorded roughly 2,000 ceasefire violations. Russian troops could make their way into Donbas through a plot to mock up scenes of bloody attacks. Ukraine’s intelligence agency said the notoriously brutal Wagner group had arrived in Donetsk to carry out a series of terrorist attacks by demolishing residential buildings. The purpose of such provocations is to blame Ukraine for these activities. The Russian Army and special services are preparing a terrorist attack, the victims of which should be peaceful residents,” the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny, warned in a statement. “The enemy is seeking to use this as justification to bring in the Russian Army as ‘peacekeepers,” he added. Possibly the “evacuation” is an excuse for carrying out a terrorist attack. Perhaps Russian troops seek to blow up highways and bridges as civilians are evacuated from eastern Ukraine to Russia.
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