Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 11.01.2018
Russia is waging all-out war against Ukraine. Events of January 10 show that Putin has no intention of stopping his invasion of Europe in Crimea and Donbas, and is increasing the violence of his army’s attacks.
Russian armed forces did more shelling and conducted more assaults than at any time since the so-called “Christmas ceasefire” was supposed to take effect, at midnight on 23 December 2017. From occupied territory in Donbas, Russia attacked Ukrainian defenders near the village of Troitske in Luhansk region. Russia attacked north of the occupied city of Debaltseve towards the “Svitlodarsk bulge,” especially near the village of Luhanske. Nearby Novoluhanske was attacked by the Russians with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, and mortars of various calibers. Closer to the occupied city of Donetsk, the Russians attacked the village of Verkhniotoretske, which was recently liberated by the Ukrainian armed forces. Putin’s army also attacked the Butivka mine, which is a salient south of the town of Avdiivka. The Russian invaders attack with weapons that are banned by the Minsk Agreements and the terms of the ceasefire. Ukrainian defenders only respond when the lives of soldiers or civilians are in danger, and only then with Minsk-permitted weaponry. Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in action and four were wounded in the battles on January 10.
Also on January 10, Russia played the spoiler in the United Nations Security Council. Russia illegitimately holds the permanent seat with a veto that was assigned in the UN Charter to a defunct state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Russia is blocking Ukraine’s offer to allow UN peacekeepers to operate on the territory of Ukraine. Ukraine’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Volodymyr Yelchenko, said in his latest interview that Russia had rejected all the important provisions of the peacekeeping proposal that was to go before the UN Security Council. The peacekeeping proposal was a way out for Putin, to escape from the quagmire of the war he started against Ukraine. Volodymy Yelchenko said, “Yes, there was a chance, but Russia did not use it.” He also said that Putin’s earlier signals that he welcomed peacekeeping was a delaying tactic. Russia wants to defeat Ukraine, or keep fighting a low-level war, or get a “frozen conflict” like Abkhazia or Trans-Dniester. But under no circumstances will Putin, on his own, stop invading Ukraine and stop occupying Crimea and Donbas.
Russia has been invading Ukraine and been openly at war with the West for 3 years, 10 months, 22 days. May the three Ukrainian soldiers who died defending Ukraine, Europe, and the West on January 10 rest in peace. Eternal memory.