Friday, March 31

Donetsk and Luhansk begin mobilization of reservists

The self-proclaimed separatist republic of Donetsk (DPR), in eastern Ukraine, declared this Saturday the state of general mobilization, a figure that involves the activation of reservists and the transformation of the economic sectors of the area to adapt them to a conflict warlike The pro-Russian leader of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, has called “all men who can bear arms to defend their families.”

The head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (RPL), Leonid Pásechnik, has also signed the decree of the state of general mobilization, according to the Russian agency Sputnik. Donetsk and Lugansk, in the Donbas region, announced this Friday the massive evacuation of the population to Russian territory, fearing a possible attack by the Ukrainian state forces.

“The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, will soon give an order to the Army for an offensive, to implement a plan to invade the territory of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk,” Pushilin said, always according to Russian media. For its part, Kiev has denied that it has plans for an attack in Donbas. In recent hours, especially on Thursday, there have been serious violations of the ceasefire established in 2015 in the east of the country, with cross accusations between Ukraine and the separatists.

Donetsk claimed this Friday that the Ukrainian armed forces had opened fire on the self-proclaimed republic 30 times this Friday, according to the Russian agency TASS. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces reported 45 violations of the ceasefire by the pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, denounced that only on Thursday the separatists had carried out 60 attacks, 43 of them with prohibited weapons in the Minsk Peace Accords.

More than 800 violations of the ceasefire

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has expressed its “deep concern” about the “significant increase in armed violence in eastern Ukraine”, registered by the mission of international observers on the ground (SMM). In a joint statement published on Friday night, the OSCE rotating chairman and Polish Foreign Minister of Poland, Zbigniew Rau, and the organisation’s general secretary, Helga Maria Schmid, urged the parties to “refrain from the use of force and to de-escalate an already tense situation”.

According to the latest SMM report, ceasefire violations along the line of contact in Donbas, where Ukrainian government forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists, have continued to increase massively. Only this Friday, 800 violations of the ceasefire were registered, more than triple the average number of cases reported in the previous 30 days. Of these violent acts, 654 were explosions, when the daily average last month was less than 100. Specifically, the document reports 648 violations of the ceasefire in Lugansk (of which, 519 were explosions) and 222 in Donetsk (135 explosions).

Two Ukrainian soldiers have died in Donbas in recent hours as a result of a shell attack by separatist forces in the east of the country, the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation press center said on Saturday. According to this part, the separatists used artillery, mortars and grenade launchers during the attack. Donetsk and Lugansk in turn accused the Ukrainian military of repeatedly violating the ceasefire and firing hundreds of projectiles at the eastern territories. As a result of the attacks, a civilian was injured today, according to the DPR.

Macron and Putin will speak on Sunday

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has affirmed, again this Friday, that he is convinced that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, has already made the decision to attack Ukraine, although he ruled out that the Kremlin contemplates “not even remotely” use nuclear weapons.

In the midst of this escalation of tension in the area, Russia has confirmed that Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, will hold a telephone conversation this Sunday. A call that, according to the Elysee, responds to a new commitment to dialogue to prevent the situation from degenerating into a war in Europe.

These communications will take place after the joint conversation held last night between Macron and some of the main Western allies. As the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, had advanced at the end of her term, the leaders confirmed their concern because “the situation in and around Ukraine continues to be threatening”. European partners again stressed that a Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory under Ukrainian government control would trigger “massive sanctions.”