The militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), a breakaway province in eastern Ukraine, warned Monday that Kyiv was preparing an offensive in the Donbas region.
“Ukraine not only continues its attempts to destabilize the situation in Donbas by shelling settlements, and preparations are well underway to resolve the conflict by force. The People’s Militia command strongly urges its adversary to drop its criminal intents,” said militia deputy Eduard Basurin in a statement on Telegram, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.
The DPR, along with the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), first declared their independence from KYV back in 2014, after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in a US-backed coup, sparking a war in the Donbas. The conflict has been at a stalemate with occasional flare-ups. Amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia, both sides have been accusing the other of planning an offensive in the Donbas.
Basurin said the Ukrainian forces are sending UR-77 self-propelling minesweepers towards the conflict zone in the Donbas and are preparing military vehicles for combat. He also said DPR intelligence has information that Ukraine is deploying an armored brigade to the region.
At this point, it’s not clear if Ukraine is planning an escalation in Donbas. But if violence does flare up in the region, the US is poised to blame it on Russia no matter who the real aggressor is. Earlier this month, the White House claimed, without any evidence, that Russia is preparing a “false flag” operation in eastern Ukraine against the DPR and LPR separatists as a way to justify an invasion.
Despite the constant US claims, Russia clearly has no interest in invading Ukraine. But a flare-up in the Donbas could give the hawks in Washington the “invasion” that they are looking for, and it could be used to justify action against Russia, whether it be sanctions or more military deployments in the region.