Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 30.10.2019
The Ukrainian army left their positions in the settlement of Zolote in Luhansk oblast today. They were ordered to do it by Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Withdrawal occurred despite the ongoing war and continued firing by the Russian invaders all along the battlefront in Donbas. Zelenskyy forced Ukrainian defenders to abandon Ukrainian land and people to the foreign enemy. He capitulated.
Zelenskyy surrendered to Putin claiming that a ceasefire has been in effect in Zolote for at least seven days. But that’s a lie. The Russians have been shooting in or near that “disengagement area” every day from October 19th to October 29th.
The Russian Federation has been at war with Ukraine for over five and a half years. Russian armed forces invaded Crimea (southern Ukraine) in February 2014 and they invaded Donbas (eastern Ukraine) in April 2014. After the Battle of Debaltseve in early 2015, Putin’s War has mostly been static trench warfare.
The Minsk Agreements require (among other provisions) that a ceasefire be established in Donbas, that all foreign troops leave, and that all illegal armed formations disband. The Russian Federation has broken every Minsk provision. Putin could bring peace to Ukraine in a day by respecting the Minsk Agreements and withdraw the Russian army and its proxy divisions. But he will never do that.
Instead, Putin came up with the Lavrov Formula (also known as the Steinmeier Formula) which requires the Ukrainian army to withdraw and for “elections” to be held in Ukrainian territory now under Russian military occupation. Zelenskyy agreed to the Lavrov Formula as soon as he became president, without consulting the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament).
Ukrainians were outraged at Zelenskyy’s капітуляція (“capitulation” or “surrender”). Over 4,000 of Ukraine’s sons and daughters serving in the armed forces have been killed defending the homeland from the Russian invaders. Over 13,000 Ukrainians have been killed, according to the United Nations. Over one and a half million Ukrainians are registered as “internally displaced persons,” made homeless by Putin’s War. Zelenskyy is giving up the gains that have been won through such great sacrifice.
The Zelenskyy government claimed that withdrawal would only occur after a “silence regime” or ceasefire had been observed in the Zolote disengagement area for seven days. But since Zelenskyy announced that he had signed the Lavrov Formula, on October 1st, the Russians have been shelling in or near Zolote almost every day.
On October 29th, Zelenskyy abruptly ordered the Ukrainian army to withdraw. His foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said in Mariupol: “The last time Zolote was shelled was on October 17, that is, 10 days ago.”
Prystaiko’s statement is false. The press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has reported ceasefire violations in or near the Zolote disengagement area every day for the past 10 days. Russian invasion-occupation forces are relentless in their shooting attacks targeting Zolote.
On October 29th, the JFO issued this statement: “The enemy continues to violate the the ceasefire regime. … The invaders demonstrate their unwillingness to adhere to the Minsk Agreements and commitments.”
The Ukrainian military is in no doubt that the enemy is the Russian Federation. Ukrainian military intelligence correctly describes the enemy as “illegal armed formations of the Russian Federation” (because they are not authorized to be in Ukraine) and as “the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and its mercenaries” (because their allegiance is undoubtedly to Muscovy).
On October 28th the Russians targeted Zolote. The JFO reported: “Illegal armed formations of the Russian Federation … yesterday fired 5 times from large-calibre machine guns, anti-tank grenade launchers, automatic grenade launchers and small arms in the 5-kilometre zone around disengagement area No. 2 (Zolote-4).”
The Ukrainian army holds defensive positions along a battlefront in Donbas that is over 400 kilometres long. They hear every shot, every shell, coming from the Russian side. Ukrainian military intelligence cautiously assesses reports from the trenches. Their assessments of ceasefire violations by the Russian invasion-occupation army are based on comprehensive data and tested battlefield experience.
On October 27th, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and their mercenaries broke the ceasefire in Zolote-4, which is a neighbourhood called “Rodina” (meaning “family”).
On October 26th, the Russians attacked Zolote, Zolote-4, and the Vil’nyi farmstead (вільний means “free”).
On October 25th, the Russians attacked Zolote-4 and the Vil’nyi farmstead.
On October 24th, the Russians attacked Zolote-4. Farther to the east, the enemy also shelled near the Kindrashivs’ka railway station in Stanytsia Luhanska, injuring three civilians. This attacked occurred just outside the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area which surround the bridge which the Russians destroyed in 2014.
On October 23rd the Russians broke the ceasefire in Zolote.
On October 22nd the Russians attacked Zolote. To the west, in Donetsk oblast, the invaders shelled the Mayorsk civilian “safe crossing” which is outside Russian-occupied Horlivka.
On October 21st, 20th, and 19th the Russians attacked Zolote-4.
Zelenskyy surrendered to Putin in Zolote giving a false reason. There is no ceasefire. The invader, the Russian Federation, has not withdrawn. Zelenskyy’s “peace plan” is capitulation.