The Easter holidays in the Donetsk People's Republic have traditionally taken place with the shelling of residential buildings and the deaths of soldiers because of Ukrainian sniper fire. The weapons involved were 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, grenade launchers, as well as other types. Eight settlements got under fire. The Ukrainian side ignored all the attempts to use the coordination mechanism to establish an armistice. And on Sunday morning, units of the 72nd separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine tried to carry out a terrorist attack using a quadcopter-suspended explosive device. The republic's anti-aircraft defense noticed the drone in time and prevented its attack against the Orthodox church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Yasynuvata, where the Easter cake consecration was taking place after the service. With a lot of people gathered near the church, an air strike would inevitably yield casualties. A year ago, the same area saw the republic's defenders also prevent a terrorist attack on Easter.
And immediately after Easter, it became known about the flights of a Turkish Bayraktar UAV over the front line. The flight was confirmed by radar data and a statement by deputy head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee for National Security, Defense and Intelligence Yuri Mysyagin. He said the Bayraktar drone made its first flight in the Donbass operation zone, which allegedly allowed to detect Pantsir-S and Tor missile systems, tanks and howitzers in the two republics. In support of his words, the Ukrainian deputy posted a screenshot of the drone's route. Bayraktar, capable of carrying guided anti-tank missiles and aerial bombs, flew to the Donbass from the southern regions of Ukraine via the Kherson, Zaporozhe, Dnepropetrovsk and Kharkov regions and returned to the permanent duty station after performing reconnaissance.
It was also reported that in late April, 150 Turkish soldiers in special forces equipment arrived in Mariupol in the joint forces' zone of operation. The arrival of a company of Turkish soldiers at the frontline city is interpreted as Turkey's intervention in the Donbass war. And it doesn't matter who they are - a Turkish PMC, advisers, drone control instructors, or representatives of the regular Turkish army, who intend to coordinate actions and set tasks for Ukrainian and mercenary militants. It is important that Turkey has clearly indicated its presence in the region, refuting its Foreign Ministry's statements on the neutrality in the conflict.
Currently, the Azov direction experiences a large-scale accumulation of military hardware belonging to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and an unprecedented number of foreign specialists from NATO countries. Back in January, the DPR law enforcement agencies noted that the number of Turkish officers invited by Kiev to make themselves familiar with the situation in the field did not exceed ten people. They studied the targets and objects which the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready to use Turkish attack drones against, and now they have been joined by some unspecified military operation specialists. Turkey is gambitting in Ukraine, while enhancing its own political, military and economic influence.
For instance, January 6, 2021 witnessed two active leaders of Fethullah Gülen’s organization – Salih Fidan and Samet Güre – brought to Turkey from Ukraine. Just a reminder: it was Gülen who was accused of trying to arrange a military coup in Turkey, when major purges were carried out in all the population groups. In other countries, the Turkish Interior Ministry's requests for the extradition of coup plotters were met with indifference. Turkish intelligence officers had to conduct special operations to detain Gülen's supporters abroad. Thus, they brought six conspirators from Kosovo to Ankara, and three more from Gabon. But Ukraine readily complied with all the Turkish requirements. As a result of negotiations with the Ukrainian authorities, both conspirators were immediately transferred to the Turkish side. It turned out that Gülen’s organization was founded in Kiev and Odessa, acting under the guise of cultural centers.
Now the good fellowship has been cemented. Ukraine has received another batch of Bayraktars, with technical issues being worked out on the joint production of drones in Nikolayev. The contract is part of the measures to expand military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey and it is perfectly in sync with Ukraine's strategic course in NATO. Other areas of cooperation will include joint production of corvette-class ships, ammunition, and projects in the aircraft industry. President Zelensky managed to mollify Erdogan with the extradition of the coup plotters and found an ally on all the issues, including the creation of the Crimean Platform, which is part of Ukraine's strategy to de-occupy the peninsula. "We stand for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We have confirmed our decision in principle not to recognize the annexation of Crimea," Erdogan said. He also supported Ukraine's accession to NATO. Regarding the Donbass, Erdogan promised to lend every necessary support. And he is keeping his end of the bargain, as the recent events taking place at the Donbass republics' borders show. Although Erdogan assures that military cooperation with Ukraine is not directed against third countries, the facts are just the opposite.
At each point of time, the prolonged military aggravation in the Donbass republics may escalate into a full-scale war. Ukraine's readiness to fight with highest possible support of all its allies is obvious. It is no accident that in the Ukrainian information space, disputes have intensified over whether Bayraktars will help regain the Donbass, how effective it is in destroying armored vehicles and fortifications, and how vulnerable UAVs are to Russian air defense and electronic warfare. And the fact that the combat drones equipped with Turkish aerial bombs are destroying training targets at the Zhitomir training ground, with large-scale tests of Turkish drones taking place in the Nikolayev region, should not be misleading. The Ukrainian military in Turkey have completed their training course and collected relevant certificates. They are just rehearsing before being used in a real theater of war.