For the first time since 2018, Ukrainian militants have used the Grad-P multiple launch rocket system when shelling Donetsk. The line of contact is burning high caused by the Ukrainian troops' performance. The entire territory of the DPR is under intense shelling. Shell holes impress with their full-height size, as the Ukrainian military uses heavy weapons. The digest of new attacks is tragic.
Since the beginning of March, the situation has become worse than in February, which its "records" for shelling, personnel losses and civilian injuries. In March, the list was updated with new names and tragedies. Here are short excerpts from the latest reports. Over just an hour, the Armed Forces of Ukraine threw 100 mines on the village of Uzhivka. On March 3, an employee of the DPR Ministry of Internal Affairs was killed during the search and recovery of children due to sniper fire near the city of Yasynuvata. On March 5, three DPR defenders were killed and another one was wounded in the Hlyboka coal mine village near Gorlovka. A Ukrainian sniper killed a soldier, and an evacuation group came under fire. They were not given twopence for their chance of survival: the shots found them in the heads.
The republics themselves experience tension. Active maneuvers are being conducted at all the training grounds, units demonstrate combat readiness, an order has come for retaliatory and pre-emptive fire. The DPR Emergencies Ministry runs a fast-track check on bomb shelters, reporting that the number of civil defense structures ready to accept people in the DPR territory has increased six fold, with the war years having witnessed a refitting of basements and ground floors to use them as shelters. Over 370 bomb shelters and hideouts are reported available for people in every city and district of the country. But it is still unknown whether they will actually be enough to make millions of residents safe in case of large-scale shelling or raids.
The Kremlin also began to show deep concern again. In particular, the President's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said the resumption of full-scale hostilities would become the Donbas situation's red line. Militia commanders make no bones about Ukrainian troops being drawn to the demarcation line in wholesale numbers. Troops and artillery projection goes on. Ukraine probably plans to concentrate its hammerheads and stage a devastating strike on the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
Up-to-date information for the last four days from the OSCE, People's Militia intelligence and those residing in the frontline territory are as follows. Dzerzhinsk: many tanks of the Ukrainian military have arrived, as well as a lot of infantry fighting vehicles, personnel and ammunition that are being unloaded. The convoys were accompanied by OSCE vehicles and military police. From Dzerzhinsk there is a straight road for a Ukrainian offensive on Gorlovka. Konstantinovka: the past three nights saw six trains with Ukrainian tanks and artillery systems pass through the city. Machines are located right next to residential buildings, there are many tanks and self-propelled guns. Dozens of fuel tankers are moving along the highways.
Krasnoarmeysk reports that Kiev has concentrated personnel, mechanized infantry fighting and MLRS vehicles to the front-line city. Eight Msta-S self-propelled howitzers have arrived in the city of Rubizhne. Thirteen Akatsiya SPGs of the Ukrainian armed forces were seen in the Manhush urban settlement. The arrival of new command and staff vehicles of the Ukrainian army was noted. OSCE observers witnessed the Ukrainian military to transfer some twenty 52-mm Msta-S self-propelled howitzers and several anti-tank Rapira guns to the contact line. Kiev is clearly gearing itself for war. The other day, Ukrainian Minsk talks representative Oleksiy Arestovych said a new escalation was inevitable to occur this spring. According to indirect evidence, the Ukrainian army is hastily replenishing fuel and ammunition inventories. Fuel purchases from Belarus have increased several times over the past three months. Soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces practice sabotage and intelligence operations deep behind enemy lines, including the capture of prisoners, strategic targets and the destruction of attractive targets in coordination with helicopters.
And now, drone aircraft reconnaissance flights have been activated over the Donbass region to monitor the front line and fly deep into the territory. The US Global Hawk drone flights are recorded. It flew within 60 km of Donetsk, twice circling the contact line. The Global Hawk is equipped with high resolution cameras, an infrared sensor and a moving object tracking radar. The drone itself is designed to conduct strategic aerial reconnaissance to a depth of over 300 km. When flying at high altitudes, the Global Hawk is able to scan vast areas, conduct high-resolution pinpoint surveillance, and transmit real-time intelligence data to the command via a satellite link. In the air, American drone operators have remotely turned off its transponder to conceal its route and targets.
Ukrainian air defense systems being brought up to the front are particularly interesting. The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics are known to have no aircraft at all. So whose aircraft are the Ukrainian complexes aimed against and why are they needed in such numbers? In particular, some Strela-10 air defense system have arrived in the southern urban settlement of Manhush, another complex was brought to Alexandropol. Andreevka and Dzerzhinsk host three Strela air defense systems each. There are also several Igla complexes. Ukrainian military experts say the Ukrainian armed forces have long been preparing air defense units for their use in the conflict zone to become be a nasty surprise for the enemy's air cavalry.
An air space provocation is quite possible in the Donbass region. Ukraine has repeatedly caused civilian airliner crashes and deaths of innocent people. Back on October 4, 2001, an exercise was underway when a Ukrainian S-200 missile shot down a Russian Tu-154 passenger aircraft on its way from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk. President Leonid Kuchma then jeered: "Look what's going on in the world. We are not the first nor the last, let's not make a tragedy out of it. Mistakes happen everywhere, sometimes on a much larger, planetary scale."
And on July 17, 2014, an Amsterdam – Kuala Lumpur passenger Boeing-777 was shot down in the Donetsk region. 298 people on board were killed. In those hot summer days, Ukraine carried out a counter-terrorist operation in the region, thus it called a full-fledged war against the local population. Kiev and the West immediately criminated the Donetsk militia for the death of passengers, which allegedly launched a Buk missile. To be more precise, they pointed to the involvement of a self-propelled launcher, allegedly belonging to the Russian army.
Instead of reliable evidence, there are a lot of things to ask the Ukrainian side that remain unanswered. For instance, what did the Ukrainian batteries of fully-strength Buk systems (which are 4 to 5 different-purpose installations) do a short distance from the disaster area back then? How and why did the Ukrainian air defense professionals get there? There have never been specialists of this kind among the militia.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Boeing disaster, akin to a provocation, saved Ukraine from military defeat, dragged Europe into confrontation with Russia and formed an anti-Russian information matrix needed by the West. And now Kiev's military preparations give no reason to hope that such cynical schemes have been shelved.