Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 08.04.2018
Sunday, April 8 is Orthodox Easter. On the battlefront in eastern Ukraine where Russia is invading Europe there was supposed to be a ceasefire. Invader Russia, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and defender Ukraine make up the Tripartite Contact Group for the Minsk Agreements. Ceasefires within ceasefires within ceasefires have been ‘agreed’ by the Tripartite Contact Group. Every time Russia and its proxies break the silence regime – every time Ukraine respects it one-sidedly. Putin’s War goes madly on.
The Easter ceasefire was no exception. The Russians broke their promise to stop shooting and shelling within minutes of the time the ceasefire was supposed to go into effect. On Good Friday, Russia attacked Ukraine ferociously. Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, Mariana Betsa, wrote on Twitter: “Easter "ceasefire" by Russia and its militants: 42 attacks, heavy weaponry used, 2 UA WIA in occupied Donbas.” She is speaking about two Ukrainian soldiers wounded in action.
On Easter Saturday, the Russia attacked Ukraine 42 times across the invasion front in Donbas. Russian armed forces attacked using 82-mm mortars, grenade launchers, large-calibre machine guns, and small arms. Russia attacked Ukrainian defenders near Malinove, 10 kilometres from the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint. The heaviest bombardment of the day fell upon Luhanske – the Russians were firing from occupied Debaltseve. From occupied Donetsk, Russia attacked Kamianka, Avdiivka, the “Butivka” mine, Krasnohorivka, and Slavne. Striking Ukrainian defensive lines east of Mariupol, Russia attacked Shyrokyne, Vodyane, Talakivka, Hnutove, Pyshchevyk, and Pavlopil. One Ukrainian defender was wounded by hostile fire.
On April 5, Russian terrorists threatened members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission who were attempting to launch a surveillance drone from Russian-occupied Kreminets. Russia, its proxies, and Ukraine, all agreed to the OSCE SMM supervising the ceasefire with UAVs. Despite their agreement, Russian armed forces consistently shoot down OSCE drones, and as in the case of the OSCE SMM team at Kreminets threaten the monitors. Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine, wrote on Twitter: “Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine need to stop threatening or intimidating the @OSCE_SMM and start fulfilling the Minsk agreements that it signed up to.” The OSCE SMM reports that it has experienced approximately 20 restrictions of its freedom of movement in the Kreminets area in 2018.
Reported on April 7, Russian invasion-occupation forces in Donbas flew a drone containing explosives towards the Ukrainian lines which crashed. The drone had about one kilogram of C-4 plastic explosive and was intended to hit Verkniotoretske, a liberated village in free Ukraine.
Russia violates the Easter ceasefire in every respect. Russian aggression against Ukraine goes on regardless of the rules of war. The guarantors of the Minsk Agreements, France and Germany, do nothing to hold Russia to account. Europe will never be at peace again until they do.