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The danger of military conflict rises in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea

There is more and more information in the Russian and Ukrainian media that Kiev regime is preparing armed provocations.

On December 16, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Ukrainian president Poroshenko was discussing with the «Western curators» preparing of armed provocation on the border with Crimea in the coming days. He also warned the possible actions of Kiev will not remain unanswered.

On December 19, the Russian newspaper ‘Izvestia’ reported that, according to a high-ranking source in Russian diplomatic circles, in the area of Perekop isthmus, which connects the Crimea to the mainland, Kiev plans to stage a provocation next week. “According to our information, on December 24–25, Ukraine is going to bombard the Crimea in the Perekop area. …They want to provoke Russia into a response, in order to shout at all angles about aggression, — the ‘Izvestia’ interlocutor said. — Poroshenko needs a reason to extend martial law. After all, the current president has a low rating and his chances of winning the elections are extremely small.”

Meanwhile, the Russian Federal Security Service announced that the Ukrainian authorities are preparing provocations against the Crimean Bridge. Border guards increased the number of ships in the area and strengthened inspections of ships passing through the canal. Staring to confirm their fears, on December 19, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchinov announced a new campaign of Ukrainian ships going through the Kerch Strait where the Crimean Bridge is located. Such a statement, as reported by «Lenta Ru», was made by Turchinov in an interview with the BBC, noting that this is a «matter of principle». In addition, he invited NATO countries’ ships to take part in a joint breakthrough operation under the Crimean Bridge. Recall that on November 25 the maritime conflict between Ukraine and Russia became aggravated — on that day three Ukrainian military vessels attempted to pass under the Crimean Bridge, but were detained.

There is unrest in Donbas too. The military command of the Donetsk peoples republic has been sounding the alarm since December 10. According to statements made by Eduard Basurin, the press secretary of the armed forces of the unrecognized republic, Kiev is preparing for the resumption of fighting.

Initially, the DPR claimed that this would happen on December 14, but now they expect attacks at the end of December. The authorities of the DPR have repeatedly announced an attack by the Kiev regime, but this time they are seriously preparing for defense. Conscription is announced in Donbas, fortifications are being strengthened, the troops are brought to alert.

December 19 appeared the first confirmation that the fears of the DPR are not in vain. The last round of talks between Ukraine and representatives of the unrecognized republics in Donbas on ended in vain that day. This is reported by both sides of the negotiations. As the representative of the unrecognized DPR in the negotiations, Natalya Nikonorova declared, the unrecognized republics proposed introducing the traditional “New Year’s truce” — the cease-fire regime from December 22, 2018. Such truces are announced regularly. They are executed carelessly, but OSCE reports indicate that the announcement of such truces does help to reduce the intensity of hostilities.

However, this time it was not possible to reach an agreement on this subject. The DPR argue that Ukrainian delegation defiantly left the meeting room, without agreeing to an armistice. It is believed in the unrecognized republics, that such a reaction from Kiev representatives confirms information about the plans of Ukrainian side to resume active fighting in Donbas in the last days of 2018.

Thus, the situation heats up in three places simultaneously. Most observers believe that president Poroshenko is purposefully doing this in order to maintain martial law and disrupt presidential elections, which he is likely to lose.

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