The situation in Eastern Ukraine is deteriorating rapidly, as tensions between not just Ukraine and Russia, but Europe and the Russian-Belarusian alliance keep rising. For anyone with interests in Ukraine, it is a good time to start looking East.
In Kyiv, whispers of a Russian winter or spring offensive against Ukraine can be heard. From high to low, concerns about a Russian attack are widespread as both countries are amassing forces in their border regions. Like in spring, Ukraine is bolstering their defences in Eastern Ukraine, but this time also on their border with Belarus.
Today, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) recorded 960 violations of the ceasefire, bringing back memories of the tensions that had the nation on the edge of the seat this spring. Russia has 100,000 troops gathered at the border alongside tanks and artillery, and some very important people with usually good information are sounding the alarms.
In Foreign Affairs, Melinda Haring, the Deputy Director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, writes:
“What happened in April may have been intended to spook Washington and its allies and test President Joe Biden’s commitment to Ukraine. This time, however, Putin may be looking to affect more than just perceptions, and it will be up to the United States and its European partners to make sure he doesn’t.”
The worries are echoed by Nolan Peterson, who has been covering the front line in Ukraine extensively since the war broke out.
I witnessed, firsthand, the carnage of mechanized warfare on the outskirts of Mariupol in 2014.
For the past 7+ years, I’ve been haunted by those memories…and hoped that I’d never see such things again.
Now, I fear that I might.
— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) November 21, 2021
Timothy Ash from Bluebay Asset Management who is quite a capacity on Ukraine wrote for Ukrinform that “it could be argued that the April and September build-ups were “boy that cried wolf exercises” making people think the current build-up is similarly nothing unusual and that troops will stand down quickly. It’s all about Putin keeping everyone guessing.”