Ukraine is escalating the situation at the Donbas contact line. It should be recalled that back in June 2018, Vladimir Putin said that if major provocations occurred on the Ukrainian side of the divide in Donbas, this might bring about very severe consequences for Ukraine's statehood.
Meanwhile, the observers of the mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have recently recorded more than 2,000 ceasefire violations. The so-called disturbing shelling was followed by heavy artillery strikes. The authorities of the self-proclaimed unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) have recorded the Ukrainian military pulling armoured vehicles to the conflict area.
"Such military groupings are unlikely to be assembled for no purpose," Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, the President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems and Doctor of Historical Sciences, told wek.ru. “I believe that at the end of April, the Ukrainian armed forces might switch to the offensive. All the more so because shortly before that, a US-Ukrainian military exercise will take place in Ukraine. My concern is that the Ukrainian military grouping might start military operations right after these war games. Possibly, this will happen even during the presence of the U.S. troops, who will be there as cover. So, the situation is very serious.
It should recalled that the Verkhovna Rada is preparing a law on urgent drafting of reservists, and Leonid Kravchuk, the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Minsk Contact Group in charge of settling the conflict in Donbass, recently announced Kyiv's readiness for "drastic measures." At the same time, the number of Donbass residents who have received the Russian passports is approaching half a million.
Ivashov believes that the Joe Biden administration has set a goal for itself to drag Russia into an armed conflict, and if Russia officially gets entangled in it, "the situation in the world is likely to change dramatically." He recalled that the Russian leadership might turn up at bay because Putin had repeatedly said that Russia would not abandon Donbass.
"What does this statement mean? We have not recognised the independence of these republics, and we have no security agreements with them," says Ivashov.
Russian Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was receiving information about rising tensions on the line of contact in Donbass.
"Any rise in tensions in such a hotspot might lead to various provocations. Given the aggressive stance of the Ukrainian armed forces, we are concerned," Peskov said.
"Putin's warning about the consequences for Ukrainian statehood, which he made on the eve of the 2018 World Cup, was very serious," Ivashov said. “Now, the main thing is to prevent an armed conflict. So, our diplomacy must work resolutely."
Besides, Ivashov mentioned that Russia is a member of the OSCE and a member of the UN Security Council. He said that there were various, to put it mildly, behind-the-scenes and unofficial relations, as well as cooperation in the business community. Ivashov believes that in order to prevent this conflict all levers should be used today.
"So far, it seems that if we interfere, we’ll lose, and if we do not interfere, we’ll also lose," Ivashov said.