Escalation in Donbas continues as Russian proxy forces fire on Ukrainian positions with proscribed weapons

18 February, 02:02 PM
The situation in Donbass remains tense (illustrative photo) (Photo:Ministry of Defense of Ukraine)

The situation in Donbass remains tense (illustrative photo) (Photo:Ministry of Defense of Ukraine)

Russian proxy forces fired at Ukrainian positions 20 times during the morning of Feb. 18, in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone in the Donbas.

According to the JFO’s press center, the enemy attacked Ukrainian positions with 122 mm artillery systems, 120 mm and 82 mm mortars, grenade launchers of various systems, weapons installed on infantry fighting vehicles, and heavy machine guns.

“The whole cynicism of the situation is that the enemy opens up artillery fire from settlements and deploys its artillery systems near residential buildings,” the press center said.

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Previously, high ranking Ukrainian Armed Forces officials said Russian proxy forces were likely attempting to draw Ukraine into a provocation they can use to claim a pretext for greater military action.

Despite the numerous attacks since the start of the day, no casualties have thus far been reported.

Russian proxy forces in the Donbas on Feb. 17 upped tensions in the government-controlled parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts, firing not only on Ukrainian military positions, but also on several civilian areas.

A kindergarten, a school, a railway station and a train came under enemy fire, though there were fortunately no casualties.

Russian troops and equipment continue to mobilize on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Despite Russian claims that they have no plans to invade Ukraine, nearly 150,000 Russian troops are now in position around Ukraine’s borders, in Belarus, Russia, the non-government-controlled parts of Ukraine’s Donbas, and in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which has been under military occupation by Russia since 2014.

U.S. officials have warned that they have intelligence claiming that Russia will look for a pretext, or fabricate a “false flag” attack (attacking its own forces and claiming that Ukraine carried out the attack), prior to any further military offensive against Ukraine.

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