Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 19.12.2017
Russia may start an offensive against Ukraine, all along the battlefront in Donbas where Putin’s army is invading Europe.
Russia launched a terror attack on civilians in the village of Novoluhanske, Ukraine on December 18. Russian armed forces fired a full salvo of rockets from a Grad multiple-launch rocket system located in Russia-occupied Horlivka. Pro-Russian accounts on social media posted observations and comments and confirmations online. The outskirts of Horlivka lie 10 kilometres to the south-west of Novoluhanske. The rockets were fired by the Russians at civilian targets in the village of Novoluhanske. 47 homes were damaged in the village. A school, a kindergarten, and a medical station were damaged. Eight civilians were wounded.
Later on December 18, Russia attacked the town of Kadiivka in Luhansk region. Russian artillery shelled heavily. The impacts were on and near houses. The bombardment sent residents of the town running, screaming, into their basements. Kadiivka is occupied by the Russian invasion army. Russia is firing on the captive population to imitate a Ukrainian attack, so Russian propaganda can call subsequent attacks on towns and villages in free Ukraine “retaliation.” This is a normal operating procedure for Russian terror warfare against Ukraine. Russia usually fires back on its own positions before it fires onto the positions of the people it is attacking. Oftentimes Russian propaganda TV is on hand to record the staged “atrocity” but then all missile and shell fragments are cleaned up before neutral observers or humanitarian groups arrive.
Also normal operating procedure is that Russian hate propaganda directed against Ukraine now is broadcasting that “the Ukrainian army is to launch a huge offensive as the first frost comes.” Russia usually projects its own malice onto others, and most Ukrainians see this as a sign that Russia will launch its offensive soon.
Russia arbitrarily removed its monitors from the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) for ceasefire and contact line stabilization. No reason was given for this move. Ukraine has been forced to suspend the participation of its monitors in the JCCC because now it cannot function with any semblance of security. The JCCC is defunct, and the Minsk Agreements have therefore been shattered by Russia. With the JCCC gone and without a military supervisory mission for the Minsk Agreements and their associated ceasefires, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine is without a mandate.
What all of this means is that Russia is ready for an offensive against Ukraine. Ukrainian military intelligence believes “the enemy may start an offensive all along the contact line in the combat zone.” Ukrainian military intelligence believes an offensive is coming because Russia recalled its officers from the JCCC. They also note the increase of the number of attacks against their own positions by the Russian invader-occupiers of Donbas, using artillery, launch rocket systems, tanks, and heavy mortars, and believe this also is a sign of a coming offensive.
Ukraine is prepared for the coming Russian offensive, but other Western democracies are not. It is long past time Western leaders woke up and acted wisely, in the full realization that Russia is invading Europe in Ukraine and that Putin’s War is about to get much worse.