Donbass Militia Reports Presence of Ukrainian S-300s, Artillery and Foreign Mercs Near Front Line

© Sputnik / СтрингерUkrainian S-300V1 at a parade in Kiev. File photo.
Ukrainian S-300V1 at a parade in Kiev. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.02.2022
At the same time that Western officials and media have accused Russia of preparing to “invade” Ukraine, the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics have reported on movements of Ukrainian military equipment and troops near the line of contact in the region’s frozen civil war.
New troops, Ukrainian S-300 missile systems, rocket artillery and foreign mercenaries have been spotted near the frontline separating Kiev forces and the People’s Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), militia spokesman Eduard Basurin has reported.
“The command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, under the cover of an exercise, has begun the transfer units of the 92nd separate mechanized brigade from the Kharkiv region to the [conflict zone],” Basurin said, speaking to reporters on Friday. “The arrival of the brigade’s operational groups has been noted in the area of responsibility of the 30thSeparate Mechanized Brigade in the direction of Debaltseve,” the spokesman said.
“An S-300 anti-aircraft missile battalion has been transferred from Odessa region and deployed at the Kramatorsk airfield to cover the command post of the headquarters of the Joint Forces Operation,” Basurin added, referring to the official name used by Kiev to refer to its military operation in the Donbass.
The JFO has also formed groups of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) near areas capable of striking DNR territory, the officer said, noting that MLRS equipment and support vehicles were reported across five settlements controlled by Kiev less than 30 km from the line of contact.
“We have no doubt that the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces will inflict massive artillery strikes at the start of hostilities against not only the forward positions of the People’s Militia, but will also attempt to destroy critically important civilian facilities on the territory of the republic,” Basurin warned.
Basurin further indicated that People’s Militia intelligence has spotted British and Polish mercenaries operating in the vicinity of the settlements of Shirokino and Popasnaya, with their presence in the Donbass also said to be confirmed “by information from open sources.”
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The Donbass has been in a state of frozen civil war since the February 2015 signing of the Minsk Peace Agreements – which put a freeze on the hot phase of the conflict and prompted Kiev forces and separatists to pull back troops and heavy equipment from the front line. Successive governments in Kiev have rejected the implementation of the peace deal’s political phase, which requires the Ukrainian government to grant the Donbass with broad autonomy in exchange for peaceful reintegration, amid pressure from hardline forces. An announcement by President Volodymyr Zelensky in late 2019 that he would try to implement the Minsk plan led tens of thousands of ultra-nationalist militiamen to take to the streets of Kiev, prompting the president to back down.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in the spring of 2014, when Kiev launched a military invasion to try to crush a fledgling independence movement refusing to recognize the outcome of the February 2014 US and EU-backed coup in Kiev. The war has caused the deaths of as many as 31,000 people, with over 2.5 million civilians either internally or externally displaced, hundreds of thousands of them taking refuge and granted Russian citizenship. Last month, Moscow warned that it would not tolerate any provocations by Kiev or its Western patrons in the Donbass, or any attacks against Russian citizens living there.
The Donetsk and Lugansk militias have spent weeks reporting on the buildup of Ukrainian armour vehicles, other equipment and personnel near the conflict zone in what they allege are preparations for an offensive.
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