Phoney war in Donbas. Who gained from the ‘ceasefire’? 



Article by: Ihor Losev
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

Europe called the combat that began after Britain and France declared war to Nazi Germany on September 3, 1939, a ‘phoney war.’ The Allied army on land behaved incredibly passively back then, even though combat was quite ardent at sea and in the air. The British and the French back then counted on sitting it out behind the allegedly impenetrable Maginot Line.

The Ukrainian public doesn’t know what President and High Commander Petro Poroshenko is counting on, what strategy he has. So far Ukraine only reacts to Russia’s military and political activity, and that of its marionettes in the region of Donbas. For an entire month during the occupation of Crimea, the highest government in Kyiv was in a state of confusion, which remained during the disorders in Donbas. Essentially, back then Ukraine had a real chance to destroy the illegal armed formations of the so-called ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ within a month, when they were obviously improvised and were only armed with light weaponry. However, action that the government in Kyiv is incapable of should have been taken back then: brave, swift, assertive and energetic. It seems, Turchynov, Yatseniuk, and later Poroshenko, hoped to solve the issues without military conflict through various behind-the-scenes agreements. They were scared of taking responsibility and putting their own careers and even lives at stake.

The tactic of slowly shifting the enemy took from Ukraine that which is most valuable at war – time. In this time, separatists and Russia managed to give a structure to their formations, arm them with Russian tanks, multiple rocket launchers, heavy artillery and air-defense systems. A terrorist army arouse out of the differentiated gangs. Ukraine allowed itself to be dragged into a long, exhausting conflict. The Ukrainian troops are bound in the east, and a full-scale invasion of the Russian army remains a very relevant threat.

We need to fight for real, not imitate war

If the Kyiv government had acted swiftly, it would have been able to inform the Russian Federation of the fact: the ‘LNR’ and ‘DNR’ were defeated and the Kremlin has nobody to support in the east of Ukraine, nobody to hide behind, and brave open action, when nobody has any doubt that the Russian army is in Ukraine.

A powerful advance group has been created from the Russian army in the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR.’ After the so-called elections on this soil (regardless of the lack of formal validation), Russia has the opportunity to invade further into Ukraine, pushing forward two moulages in front of its arm: the ‘DNR’ and the ‘LNR.’ Putin still refuses to acknowledge the fact that the Russian army is in Ukraine. Even at the recent summit in Australia, he told the hosts that Russia cannot remove its troops from Ukraine, as “they are not there.”

The pseudo-republics act as Russian military and political enclaves, as springboards for further aggression. Had the Kyiv government not imitated war but fought for real, these springboards would not exist. And now fuel trucks cross Ukrainian positions towards the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ to refuel the terrorists’ tanks and SPG’s, which attack Ukrainian soldiers. Another element of the ‘phoney war…’

During the ‘ceasefire’ the territory of the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ increased by several thousand square kilometers. It is clear that we need a real front instead of an improvisation.

It is still unclear why, when Girkin’s soldiers left Sloviansk and headed for Donetsk, the long column was not subject to an artillery or aviation attack, so that nobody would be able to hold Donetsk and counter the Ukrainian troops there. There is still no explanation, accusations or culprits. Without a clear and merciless analysis of such strange instances, this ‘phoney war’ will continue to be tragic for Ukraine, regardless of the heroism and patriotism of the soldiers, officers and volunteers.

What next? 

Soldiers and volunteers frequently complain to the volunteers about the criminal orders and bad commandments. It seems that Kyiv wants to win the war without going to war, without following all the rules of the art of war, without declaring a state of war, without making the entire country live by wartime standards, constantly containing the Ukrainian troops and not allowing them to attack.

“They are prohibiting out men in the ATO from winning, they are banning them from doing the things that should be done at war,” said former Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko.

Overall, there are two possible options: 1) we fight, 2) we don’t fight. Petro Poroshenko found some kind of third, interim option between the two.

As a result of the chronic ‘ceasefires’ on part of Ukraine, when they prohibit them from responding, Ukrainian soldiers become helpless targets for the terrorists and die not in battle, but under enemy shelling.

Famous blogger Yury Butusov noted: “The Russian army is leading a non-contact war, causing us severe damage. Our artillery practically does not work. The Kremlin’s task is maintaining constant tension in Ukraine.”

Strange, why does the Ukrainian army not sabotage the terrorist-controlled territories, do not destroy the enemy’s heavy artillery and the GRADs, why there is no counter-missile war, why is there nothing effective to oppose enemy tactics…

It is necessary to fight and want to win to win the war.

As 66% of the spectators of Savik Shuster’s show on First National Channel said, the government has no political will to change Ukraine. And it does not demonstrate the will to defend the country with weapons. However, the fate of the current parliament and president is directly tied to this war for Independence, which may give Ukraine a totally different government and system of state. War is a huge national examination for all of society and its government elite. So far, we cannot say we have passed it….

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

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