Kyiv, January 22, 2016. There is a threat that the combat activity might be resumed. Firefight in the ATO zone can escalate any minute. “Putin’s regime is still keeping Russian occupational army in the territory of Ukraine. They are ready to resume active hostilities. At the same time, Ukrainian military intelligence regularly observes the facts of militants’ violation of the Minsk Agreements in what relates to the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy armor from the contact line,” said Vadym Skybytskyi, representative of the Chief Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. According to the intelligence data, Russian Federation keeps supplying weapons and ammunition from the territory of Russia to the temporarily occupied areas, using Izvaryne and Uspenka checkpoints as well as Krasnodon, Sukhodilsk and Ilovaisk railway stations. “For instance, a troop train was observed to arrive to Krasnodon station from Russian territory. In total, six combat vehicles, 300 tons of ammunition and other materiel were delivered to the territory of Ukraine. A military convoy consisting of two tanks, one infantry combat vehicle, three armored personnel carriers and three trucks, was observed to proceed through Uspenka checkpoint towards Amvrosiivka inhabited locality. Around 70 militants arrived to the territory of Ukraine,” said Skybytskyi. Moreover, the Russian Federation is hindering expansion of OSCE mandate to all the areas of Ukrainian-Russian border controlled by militants, added the representatives of Ukrainian authorities.
According to Skybytskyi, the overall situation is characterized by accumulation of Russian occupational troops in certain sectors, provocation of Ukrainian power structures to respond with actions as well as improvement of military training of units and subdivisions of the 1st and 2nd army corps of Russian army and all-out support of these corpses with equipment and ammunition. They are instigating provocations using mortar launchers, small arms and combat armor. “Hostile provocations are most frequently instigated in the Donetsk sector. In total, 285 provocative attacks by fire at Ukrainian power structures were recorded within a week. Small arms, grenade launchers, tanks, mortar launchers and APCs were used. There were 230 attacks of this type,” said Skybytskyi. Moreover, escalation of reconnaissance and subversive activities was observed, first of all in the Donetsk and Mariupol sectors, aimed at accusing Ukraine of violation of Minsk Agreements. “There provocations are especially important before preparation to local elections in the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as on the eve of the Netherlands referendum regarding ratification of Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine,” said Skybytskyi.
Ukrainian intelligence agencies also recorded facts of violation of Minsk Agreements on January 16-22 in terms of equipment withdrawal. “In total, 31 facts were recorded. Seven facts were observed in the 15 km area. 32 tanks and six mortar launchers were found in the vicinity of Horlivka, Donetsk and Luhansk. There were 12 facts in the 25 km area and 12 facts in the 35 km area. 32 Grad multiple rocket launch systems were found in Almazna, Alchevsk, Donetsk, Makiivka, Mykolaivka, Rozy Liuksemburg, Khartsyzk and Shakhtarsk,” emphasized the Chief Intelligence Department representative. Space reconnaissance materials also support the facts of the equipment not being withdrawn. “For instance, 10 militants’ tanks and three Gvozdyka self-propelled artillery mounts were found in the vicinity of Mospine inhabited locality, 12 km from the frontline,” said Skybytskyi.
According to the Chief Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense, it is planned to conduct militants’ format unit training. It will last till the end of the month, involving combat firing. Tactical maneuvers of mechanized, tank and artillery detachments as well as offensive exercise take place. “Tactical exercise of the 1st Army corps takes place at military training base near Torez and Mospine under the supervision of Russian trainers from the Center of home defense force of South military command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Accumulation of combat equipment and building of camp sites has been confirmed by space survey of the military base near Torez,” informed Skybytskyi.
Moreover, intelligence informs that Russia takes measures to discredit Ukrainian authorities on the international stage. “Self-proclaimed authorities of Donetsk People’s Republic gave political and civic activists from France and Czech republic materials manufactured by the Departments of information countermeasures of South military command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during their visit to the occupied Donetsk. These materials presumably accuse Ukrainian troops of military crimes in the territory of Donbas,” said the Chief Intelligence Department representative.
In general, Putin’s regime does not give up the idea to expand the territory of administrative borders of self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic and create land bridge to the occupied Crimea along the Azov Sea coastline. At the same time, certain change of approach to the military aggression is observed – “from large-scale combat activity to conducting acts of terror and armed provocation in the territory of Ukraine, when Russian special services sponsor state terrorism”.