Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 21.02.2019
On Wednesday, an American diplomat and an American politician visited the battlefront where the Russian Federation is invading Ukraine. Ukraine’s partner, the United States, thus marked the fifth anniversary of the start of the combat phase of Putin’s War against Ukraine.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich, and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst met with the Commander of the Joint Forces Operation, Lieutenant-General Serhiy Nayev on February 20th on an Armed Forces of Ukraine base near the front line. They were there to learn about war conditions.
Marie Yovanovich took up the post of Ambassador of the United States of America to Ukraine on 18 August 2016. Joni Ernst is a U.S. Senator from Iowa and a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. Serhiy Nayev is the inaugural commander of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO), which is the means by which the Armed Forces of Ukraine defend the homeland from Russian aggression; the JFO took over from the Anti-Terrorist Operation on 1 May 2018.
Lt.-Gen. Nayev briefed his guests on the conditions in the area of of operations of the Joint Forces, which are Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine. Part of these regions is not under the control of Ukraine’s central government in Kyiv, having been invaded and occupied by the Russian Federation beginning in April 2014.
The JFO commander showed Ambassador Yovanovich and Senator Ernst remnants of a 152 millimetre calibre “Krasnopol” shell. This is a semi-automatic laser-guided weapon which is only equipped by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It was used against a man in his house in Novoluhanske on February 14th. The man was lucky to escape with his life but his home was utterly destroyed.
Lt.-Gen Nayev also displayed an Orlan-10 unarmed aerial vehicle that had been shot down by Joint Forces troops. This surveillance drone was produced by the Special Technology Centre of Saint Petersburg and it used extensively by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in its war in Donbas.
Russian attacks against Ukrainian defenders and civilians have reached a peak since the start of 2019. Over the 24 hours preceding the visit of Ambassador Yovanovich and Senator Ernst the enemy expended 387 shells from heavy weapons that are prohibited for use by the terms of the Minsk Agreements – namely, 122 millimetre calibre artillery and 120 millimetre calibre mortars.
The briefing also went of the civil-military cooperation aspects of the Joint Forces Operation. Donetsk and Luhansk regions suffer severe economic distress because of the Russian invasion and occupation.
Seeing is believing. It is to be hoped that the American dignitaries an awareness of the harsh reality of the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, and the immense suffering it brings to millions of people – for no good reason whatsoever.