Another round of tensions in Ukraine-Russia relations has raised many discussions about another war in the southeast of Ukraine. Both Russia and Ukraine have been increasing their military presence on the border between the two countries lately. Russia warned Ukraine against any military scenarios.
Ukraine plans to hold the Cossack Bulava military exercises, in which more than 1,000 servicemen from at least five NATO countries are to take part. The war games will be conducted to train military skills in repelling the attack of the aggressor country and going on the offensive. In response, Russia redeployed several of its military units closer to its southwestern borders.
Such a development cannot but raise concerns in the West. In particular, US State Department Special Representative Ned Price said on April 6 at a press briefing that Russia was provoking Ukraineю He also added that the United States would fully support Kiev in the face of "Russian pressure and aggression."
USA's full support subsequently materialised in the announcement of an opportunity to send warships to the Black Sea to support the groups already deployed in the region.
Noteworthy, a couple of weeks ago, the United States conducted "defensively offensive" naval exercises in the Black Sea.
The Pentagon "did not officially confirm" (it did not deny either) the information about the departure of warships to the Black Sea. One shall assume that US military officials wanted to intimidate Russia and see how the Russian administration was going to react.
In turn, Russia has repeatedly stated that the buildup on the border is taking place for the purpose of routine checks. Ukraine speaks of pressure and refuses to negotiate in Minsk.
According to Alexei Reznikov, the Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Ukraine will not send its delegation to the Minsk talks, since it believes that the position of Belarus towards them is too pro-Russian.
If we look back at the situation a year ago, the ceasefire between Ukraine and the unrecognized republics has been in effect since the end of July 2020, even though the feuding parties would still sporadically exchange artillery and machine-gun fire.
According to Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov, "the Ukrainians flatly reject the idea of any dialogue," but expressed a hope that the crisis would not escalate to the point of hostilities.
In late March, Ruslan Khomchak, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said that Russia was building up troops near the border in the north, east, south, and also in Crimea.
Russia explained that command and staff military exercises began in the Smolensk, Voronezh, Kursk, Belgorod, Bryansk and Moscow regions even earlier, on March 11 before they continued on March 18 and 19 in Crimea.
The United States started evincing more interest in the situation after Russia did not withdraw its troops from the above-mentioned regions on March 23.
The status of US forces at European bases was therefore changed from the category of "possible crisis" to "potential imminent crisis".
The Americans claimed that the information about the location of the Russian troops did not coincide with the declared one. Peskov reminded that the movement of the Russian army on the territory of the Russian Federation was part of Russian internal affairs.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, a former comedian and actor, started adding more fuel to the fire saying that the only way for Ukraine to retrieve uncontrolled territories to Kiev was to join NATO.
Ukraine soon had to make excuses for the death of a five-year-old child in the village of Aleksandrovskoye. The child was killed in a drone attack — the OSCE confirmed his death.
It appears that the string of the above-mentioned events makes a chain of planned actions that look like an attempt to drag Russia into a full-fledged war with Ukraine.
In a nutshell, the West has been creating circumstances for Russia to intervene in the Ukrainian crisis directly.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky paid a visit to the zone of the so-called "Operation of the Joint Forces in Donbass". Tellingly, a delegation of American military specialists and instructors also visited the front line. The Americans went to the settlement of Avdiivka, only 1,800 meters from the checkpoint of the People's Militia of the People's Republic of Donetsk. The telephone conversation between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin took place against the background of those visits.
Russia is currently going through the phase of diplomatic manoeuvres. In fact, Putin is persuading his European partners to take measures to calm Ukraine down.
A survey conducted among active and former military personnel about the crisis in Ukraine showed that many soldiers were ready to fight.
In general, almost 60% of the surveyed former and active soldiers are ready to take up arms and fight to bring clarity to the Ukrainian issue with the help of most radical methods.
The simultaneous destruction of three gas pipeline strings in the Baltic Sea is unprecedented, operator Nord Stream AG announced