Nothing to write home about, but over the last week, there’s been a slight easing of Russia’s forces firing. Certainly there’s less mortar fire whizzing about. This modest reduction in Russian lead will no doubt be related to Russia’s keenness to see Ukrainian troop withdrawals take place along the front line. Troop withdrawals, which many say (inc me) will allow Russia to simply consolidate its grip on eastern Ukraine without the need and eye-watering expense of having a vast occupying army stationed there.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m OK with troops withdrawing and peace presiding over the front line. It’s just that Russia and it’s puppet republics in Ukraine have not given any indication they’ll ever relinquish control of the Ukrainian border, hold free and fair elections in the republics under Ukrainian law or withdraw Russia’s forces from Ukraine.
Using these troop withdrawal agreements, Ukraine’s new President Zelenskyy is trying to kick start the peace process. Time will tell if his actions bear deoccupation fruit.
Oct 31st, near the Ukraine held village of Zolote, both sides begin withdrawing their front line forces in this Luhansk region. In reality this is only a small number of soldiers. The below OSCE report states both sides confirmed the withdrawal by Nov 2nd. The job of clearing abandoned military positions and demining along roads and fields now begins. Ukrainian military report this work will carry on until Nov 9th. In the areas where Ukrainian military have pulled back, Ukraine’s police will now increase their presence.
The third withdrawal area is due to take place around Petrivske village in the Donetsk region. Due to continued firing there by Russia’s forces, the initial withdrawal date has been put on hold. Despite this, I’m sure it will take place sometime soon. I say the third area, as the first withdrawal took place at the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge crossing (Luhansk region) in the Summer. Although a more limited pull back of troops overlooking a river crossing & bridge, this local ceasefire has held for several months.
Worth a watch: Below English translated video shows Ukrainian soldiers informing the media about the withdrawal & building new positions on edge of the Zolote disengagement area. People suddenly finding themselves living inside the disengagement area, also talk about the situation they now find themselves in.
OSCE report on Fridays firing.
As you can see, the level of ceasefire violations & recorded explosions are much-reduced from the average for previous 30 days.
OSCE map showing where ceasefire violations took place.
Luhansk region was again relatively quite, with most firing recorded in the Donetsk region. Most firing took place around outskirts of Donetsk city, and occupied town of Horlivka. And down on the south coast, along the Mariupol front.