Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 18.08.2018
Putin isn’t trying very hard to hide the leading role of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the invasion of Ukraine in Donbas. But most Western politicians and press cling to the lie that a “pro-Russian separatist rebellion” is taking place. All the evidence is that the war in eastern Ukraine is an international war started by Russia against Ukraine. But all the Kremlin has to do is throw out insubstantial “pro-Russian separatist” propaganda and it is eagerly lapped up by the dominant faction in the West that wants to deny reality and seeks to appease Russian aggression.
On August 16, the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine detected a Russian “Orlan-10” surveillance drone flying north into free Ukraine territory from occupied Pervomaysk to Severodonetsk (the temporary administrative capital of Luhansk region) towards Svatove. The Russian Orlan-10 unarmed aerial vehicle was shot down.
This particular Orlan-10 had 12 lenses for panoramic aerial and video surveillance, able to transfer collected information to the control point in real time. The optoelectronic system was manufactured by a Russian company under US sanctions. This proves the involvement of the Russian Federation in supplying arms into Donbas to aid the occupation forces against the Ukrainian army. The estimated cost of just one camera is more than $100,000. Russia is using the most advanced technology it possesses in the war against Ukraine.
On August 15, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) observed 55 tanks and 33 artillery pieces in various locations of Russian-occupied Luhansk region. This heavy weaponry was located beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites. Thus, Russia is violating the Minsk Agreement.
The Russians have been caught moving proscribed heavy weaponry right up to the battlefront. On August 17, a poorly-camaflaged Russian tank was spotted in the occupied village of Zholobok in Luhansk region. Zholobok is a central site in the Battle of the Bakhmut Road, which has been raging for months. According to Ukrainian volunteer activist, Yuriy Mysyagin, soldiers of the Aidar Battalion spotted the Russian tank and fired upon it. It is believed that the tank is not destroyed but is damaged.
The OSCE SMM used aerial surveillance to detect a Russian army convoy inside occupied Donbas, near Chystiakove in Donetsk region. The convoy crossed into the Russian Federation using a dirt road east of the occupied village of Manych. There, it passed a convoy entering Russian-occupied Donbas from the Russian Federation. It is clear that this route is a regular conduit for supplying the 1st and 2nd Army Corps, the formations of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation that are invading and occupying part of eastern Ukraine. A Russian army supply base at Russkoye in Rostov region, Russian Federation is the source of limitless weaponry, ammunition, fuel, and war matériel for Putin’s army in Donbas.
Western leaders have completely ignored the “red flag” that Russia is at war with Ukraine. This is unforgivable. Generously, the “see no evil” approach of Western democracies to Russian aggression can be chalked up to abject moral cowardice. More sinisterly, the over four years of appeasing Putin at war can be construed as participation in this overwhelming evil of our times.