On the 16 February 2018, we were on positions in Zaytsevo to assess the situation, its evolution since the New Year and the readiness of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) soldiers to face the future Ukrainian offensive.
We were able to see that the positions of the two armies are really close one from each other (from 160 to 400 meters maximum), which is not helping de-escalating the situation in this hot spot of the front line. Just three days before we came, mortars shells of 120 mm (which are forbidden by the Minsk agreements) fell on the DPR positions.
Soldier “Palestinian” confirmed us that the situation is going towards an escalation, and DPR soldiers expect an offensive from the AFU soon.
“It will happen soon. That’s why they’re probing the front line – they are getting ready”, he declared.
DPR soldiers testified about the presence of Western weapons on Ukrainian side, including mortars and sniper rifles and bullets.
“We don’t have such mortars. Our fins are metal, but theirs is aluminium. They make no whizzing sound, only rustling. I think it’s Polish, because their 80-mm shells, which hit the school several times, are plastic,” stated soldier “Palestinian”.
When we asked him if DPR soldiers were waiting for an offensive from the Ukrainian army, “Palestinian” answered that they hope for their advancing, and that they are ready for it.
“They won’t advance here. Otherwise they will be crushed,” he concluded.
DONi Donbass International Press Center