Screenshot RIA Novosti
The assassination of the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic could lead to a wider war in the Donbass region of East Ukraine.
State-run media in the Russian Federation are reporting on alleged Ukrainian troop movements in the southern region of Donbass in the Mariupol area, interestedly enough, a port on the Sea of Azov, an location very much in the news recently. Russia has been accused of delaying, boarding, and harassing shipping into Ukrainian ports now that the bridge from the Russian Federation to the Crimean peninsula has been completed.
Tsarizm wrote about the Mariupol region several years ago during an onsite reporting trip.
“The Ukrainian junta, meanly destroying our commander-in-chief hero of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Zakharchenko, imagines itself an invincible military power and has begun active preparation for the offensive,” said the official representative of the operational command of the Democratic People’s Republic Eduard Bazurin, reported Russian news outlet RIA Novosti.
According to him, the Ukrainian security forces deployed shock troops on the Mariupol direction under the cover of the training “Storm-20018”. In particular, according to the DNR, Kiev is drawing heavy equipment and artillery to the area of the town of Rozovka. Bazurin noted that “the personnel of the units receive ammunition and equipment, as well as carry out maintenance of equipment before the performance of the combat mission.”
“In addition, 56 units of the motorized infantry and 406 artillery brigades arrived in the region of Urzuf,” the official representative of the operational command of the DNR stressed, noting that the offensive could begin on September 14.
Bazurin also called on the leaders of Western countries to intervene and stop the “Poroshenko regime that was playing in the war,” wrote RIA Novosti.
“Otherwise, this will lead to another round of bloodshed in this civil war, which will bring nothing but sorrow and tears to the homes of Ukraine and our republic,” said Bazurin, adding that militiamen are ready to repel an attack by the siloviki.
— РИА Новости (@rianru) September 1, 2018
The Trump administration has authorized and delivered defensive weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces over the last year in pushback against Kremlin activities in the area.
Multiple separatist leaders in the Ukrainian east have been assassinated over the last few years; most analysts believe the killings were the work of the Russian security services looking to remove ‘inconvenient’ personalities. This murder could be in the same vein.
However, there is also the possibility that an emboldened Ukraine is looking to regain the initiative now that it has American backing. The scenario could also be a response to Russian activities against Ukrainian shipping in the Sea of Azov.
In either case, as American pressure on Moscow mounts, Russia will surely act against Washington in asymmetric ways. There are also unforeseen consequences to arming nations in Russia’s near abroad.