Kremlin: 'High Threat Level of Ukrainian Army Combat Operation in Donbass Remains'
08:08 GMT 16.02.2022 (Updated: 10:07 GMT 16.02.2022)
In April 2014, the Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic in the east after they declared independence following a coup in the capital Kiev in February of that year.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned that "a high threat level of a combat operation by the Ukrainian Army in Donbass remains". When asked whether such a threat has been diminishing in recent weeks, Peskov said "no".
"The attention of our interlocutors is drawn in every possible way to this dangerous concentration [of Ukrainian troops near the line of contact in Donbass] and to the fact that a military operation and an attempt to resolve problems by force in the southeast [of Ukraine] are quite likely. Such a probability is high, it is real, and, unfortunately, all of us and the whole world have already witnessed Kiev start a military operation in Donbass, namely, begin a civil war in its own country", he told reporters.
The statement comes after intelligence sources in the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR)
said that the situation in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine remains tense, with the Ukrainian Army continuing to prepare for hostilities.
"The situation on the line of contact [in Donbass] remains tense, and our intelligence continues to receive information about the enemy's preparations for the beginning of hostilities", Anton Mikuzhis, from the press service of LPR's People's Militia, told reporters on Wednesday.
He also said that the armed forces of Ukraine are deploying on-duty aviation guidance points in Donbass. According to Mikuzhis, such points were deployed in the settlements of Lisichansk and Liman, which are controlled by Kiev.
In the summer of 2020, a number of additional measures on a truce came into force in Donbass. They stipulate a full-fledged ceasefire and complete ban on deploying weapons in and near populated areas, as well as offensive, reconnaissance, and sabotage operations.
The engineering equipment of positions and the use of drones by the parties to the conflict near the line of contact are also banned under the new measures. In addition, they envisage disciplinary liability for violation of the ceasefire regime. According to the measures, ceasefire orders, containing means to maintain the truce, must remain in effect until the conflict is fully resolved.
The conflict in Donbass between the Ukrainian government and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) has been under way since April 2014. The hostilities began after the DPR and the LPR declared independence following a coup in Kiev in February 2014.
The Minsk Peace Agreements, aimed at finding a political resolution to the conflict, were negotiated by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine — the Normandy Group — in February 2015. However, the agreements have not been observed so far and sporadic clashes continue. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Kiev is not fulfilling the Minsk agreements and is delaying negotiations to resolve the conflict.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier noted that Kiev had sent half of the entire personnel of the armed forces of Ukraine to Donbass, also voicing concern over Western countries continuing to provide military support to the Ukrainian government.
This unfolds against the backdrop of ongoing Western media allegations about Russia's "imminent invasion" of Ukraine
, claims that Moscow rejects as unfounded and absurd. The Kremlin underscores that these allegations are being used as a pretext to justify NATO’s increasing military presence near Russia's borders.