Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 18.02.2019
Three insidious attacks by the Russians in the past three days show that in the war against Ukraine the Putin regime is as nasty as ever. No trick, fair or foul, is beneath the Russian invader-occupiers in Donbas. That was true five years ago when the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine began. It is true today.
On February 17 the Russians attempted to infiltrate a sabotage and reconnaissance group into the Svitlodarsk Bulge, north of occupied Debaltseve. Forward observation teams of the Ukrainian army exposed the enemy’s intentions in advance. The Russian attack was repulsed. The Ukrainians took a prisoner of war in the engagement.
Once again the Russian Federation exposes itself as the aggressor in the war in Ukraine. A Russian specialist military formation tried and failed to attack Ukrainian defences and a Russian service member was captured.
On 15 February Russian soldiers shot at an OSCE drone while standing only 10 metres away from OSCE monitors. A team from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) was near Zolote in Luhansk region, on the battlefront between Russian invader-occupiers and Ukrainian defenders. At a checkpoint of a Russian terrorist formation, the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic,” the OSCE SMM informed members of the illegal armed group that an unarmed aerial vehicle would be doing observations. When the drone appeared, the terrorists shot at it – while standing only 10 metres away from the OSCE SMM team.
An estimated 60 shots were fired at the OSCE UAV by the Russian soldiers. All of them missed. Bizarrely, the Russian Federation remains a member of the OSCE even though its armed forces regularly shoot at and occasionally shoot down OSCE drones.
The Ukrainian side of the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) said that by staging such a provocative demonstration Russian occupation forces were attempting to intimidate OSCE SMM team members and make them stop monitoring.
A monitoring team of the JCCC was on assignment near the village of Travneve in Donetsk region when it came under fire from Russian forces. The Russians fired an anti-tank grenade at a clearly-marked and occupied JCCC vehicle. Fortunately the munition fell short and no member of the monitoring team was a casualty. Russian occupation forces opened aimed fire from near the village of Dolomitne, which lies directly on the battlefront.
Once again the Ukrainian side of the JCCC condemned the irresponsible actions of the Russian occupation forces. “The invaders try to intimidate Joint Forces JCCC military servicemen and force them to reduce their work to monitor and fix their insidious activity in Donbas,” read a statement from the Joint Forces Operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Assaults by sabotage and reconnaissance teams … shooting at OSCE drones … shelling ceasefire monitors – this is the nature of the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine.