Monday, 02 July 2018 11:17


Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 02.07.2018 
Russia broke the latest ceasefire in eastern Ukraine 3 hours 55 minutes after it was supposed to have gone into effect. This is not a record for the Russians, as they have violated other ceasefires quicker. But Russia maintains its record of violating every ceasefire agreement in over four years of Putin’s War against Ukraine.
This latest ceasefire was being called the “bread” or “harvest ceasefire.” It was agreed by the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk, Belarus. The structure of the Minsk Agreement and its concomitant ceasefires perfectly suits the aims of Russian aggression. This structure guarantees failure of any truce, because Russia puts forward its fake statelets “Luhansk/Donetsk People’s Republics” as parties to the conflict and defines Russia itself as a guarantor. When Russian armed forces in the guise of “LPR” or “DPR” break the ceasefires, Russia disingenuously claims to have nothing to do with it.
So it proved with this ceasefire. From 03:55 to 04:20 on July 1, armed forces of the Russian Federation pretending to be the so-called "DNR" attacked a residential area of Zaitseve with 120 millimetre mortar shells. Zaitseve is in Donetsk region, immediately north of the city of Horlivka, which is Russian-occupied. Russia violated the “harvest ceasefire” and it did so by violating the Minsk Agreement and firing large calibre artillery.
As a result of Russian bombardment, a non-residential building was destroyed. Lanes, fences and private plots of civilians were damaged along Maresyeva Street in Zaitseve. Fortunately, no one was injured.
The Ukrainian side of the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) regards Russia’s violation of the ceasefire in Zaitseve as an explicit provocation by soldiers from Russia’s armed forces aimed at exerting psychological pressure on residents. It is also an attempt to force the Ukrainian Armed Forces to open fire in response, and to shift responsibility for violating the silence regime away from Putin’s invasion-occupation army in Donbas.
After the attack on Zaitseve, Russia went on to attack Ukraine 25 times on July 1, two of those times using Minsk Agreement-proscribed heavy artillery. Russia violated the ceasefire by attacking Shchastya, Krymske, Novooleksandrivka, Troitske, Luhanske, Hladosove, Hnutove, Vodyane and Shyrokyne. The Russians used grenade launchers, large-calibre machine guns, and small arms. These were all seen as attempts by the Russians to provoke the Ukrainians into returning fire.
Shchastya, on the Siverskyi Donets River,  is north of the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk. Krymske, Novooleksandrivka and Troitske are in Luhansk region around the Bakhmut Road; the Russians have been attacking with increasing violence to try to wrest control of the Bakhmut Road from Ukraine. Luhanske is in the “Svitlodarsk Bulge” on the approaches to Russian-occupied Debaltseve. Hladosove and Zaitseve are in the environs of Russian-occupied Horlivka. Hnutove, Vodyane, and Shyrokyne are part of Ukrainian defences of Mariupol, which is on the Azov Sea in Donetsk region.
On July 1, the only quiet sector of Russia’s battlefront where it is invading Europe was around the city of Donetsk.
The Joint Forces Operation (JFO) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine pledged that along the entire length of the front, 426 kilometres, its subordinate units will strictly adhere to the “silent regime.” As is always the case, ceasefires in Putin’s War are one-sided. Russia shoots first, often with weapons that are proscribed by the Minsk Agreement (artillery with a calibre greater than 100 millimetres). Ukraine refrains from shooting, even in response, except when the lives of defenders or civilians are at imminent risk. On July 1, Ukrainian defenders did in fact strictly adhere to the regime of the ceasefire, and did not allow themselves to be provoked by the enemy.
France and Germany are real guarantors of the Minsk Agreement, while Russia is the true cause of the conflict. Given Russia’s outrageous violations of the “harvest ceasefire,” France and Germany should impose broader and more severe sanctions on Russian individuals and entities responsible for waging war against Ukraine.

Photo: the cover picture from Taras Kuzio's book
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