Kiev refuses to move his soldiers and heavy weapons back from positions near the Donetsk water purification plant
In response to all the recent incidents that endangered the Donetsk water purification plant, its workers, and the surrounding population, a meeting of the Minsk contact group on security was organized yesterday, 23 May.
After the shootings that prevented team changes on several occasions, or even directly targeted convoys of employees, the shelling on May 20 in the nearby area cut off the station's power supply, effectively shutting it down.
It was not until the day before yesterday that the repairs could be made, and the water purification plant did not fully resume work until yesterday at 2 pm.
In view of all these incidents, the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the OSCE had jointly supported a number of measures to trigger a de-escalation of the situation around this critical infrastructure.
The most important measure to reduce tensions around this area was the stipulated retreat of both sides 1.5 km away from the water purification plant, and the withdrawal of heavy weapons. While the OSCE and the DPR supported this idea during the video conference, this was not the case in Kiev.
This was stated at the end of the video conference by Denis Pushilin, the chairman of the Peoples Council of the DPR, and head of the DPR delegation in Minsk.
"Neither the importance of providing water to the civilian population nor the threat of an ecological disaster in the event of shells falling on the building where the chlorine is stored has pushed the Ukrainian side to a constructive dialogue. The Ukrainian side rejects the idea of withdrawing forces around the station," said Pushilin.
Yet this withdrawal is more than necessary. Right now, the two armies can see each other with the naked eye!
"The main reason for the escalating tensions around the station is the Ukrainian side's intent to take control of strategically important vital infrastructure to use as another instrument of their Donbass blockade. Since January 2017, the UAF have progressively closed their positions from a distance of 1.5 km to 70-150 m from the station," said the president of the Popular Council.
This failure means that new outbreaks of gunfire and potential victims in and around the water purification plant are to be expected.
And if for now the situation around Gorlovka has calmed down after Monday's two attempts at attacks, which caused heavy losses for the Ukrainian army (18 dead and at least 20 wounded, not to mention equipment destroyed, including a mortar, tank, infantry fighting vehicle and US counter-battery radar), the information we receive indicates that the UAF are readying further attacks.
In addition to articles in the Ukrainian press (as on the Strana website) explaining the strategic interest of the capture of Gorlovka and then attacking Debaltsevo and Yenakievo, the operational command of the army of the DPR indicated that the Ukrainian command had ordered all UAF units to top off fuel and oil for all military equipment by May 28, and that the sappers of the 36th UAF Brigade were ordered to clear several anti-tank minefields (surely to clear the way for launching an offensive).
As we can see, Ukraine still does not intend to implement the Minsk agreements, and does not even pretend to want a real de-escalation on the eve of the soccer World Cup that may see a further brutal increase in bombing, frontal breakthrough attempts, destruction and casualties by the Ukrainian army. All covered by the silence of the Western media that will focus on soccer matches rather than the civilians of Donbass who die under Ukrainian shells.
Translation by Tom Winter for Fort Russ