The short summary.
1: Russian mortar shells are still raining down on Europe.
2: Russian bullets are still heading west.
The longer summary.
I’m on very safe ground when saying Russia’s not interested in bringing peace to eastern Ukraine. And where’s the evidence for this? Well, in Feb, Russia-led forces fired over 1,500 mortar and artillery shells, along with a few tank shells for good measure. So if that’s not a – we want war, not peace message, I don’t know what is.
Ukrainian military report on Feb shelling.
As I’ve already reported on, the increased firing during 2020 has largely focused on the now laughably named Zolote disengagement area. In the Luhansk region, the small disengagement area itself, centered around the village of Zolote and several surrounding settlements has remained free from firing, but all hell has broken loose close to it.
Most notably, Russia-led forces have continuously shelled and attempted to capture Ukrainian positions defending the villages of Orikhove and Novotoshkivske (red boxes).
Regrettably March is not looking a whole lot better.
We’ve not yet had the large-scale shelling seen in Feb, but it’s early days yet.
March 1st: 1 Ukrainian soldier killed & 7 wounded.
March 2nd: 5 wounded.
March 3rd: 1 killed & 5 wounded.
March 4th: 4 wounded.
Situation Map for Russia-led forces firing on March 4th. The explosion graphics at the top (blue) mark the shelling and firing attacks around the Zolote disengagement area.
With the front line mostly static since 2015, both sides know where each other’s positions are; this making the targeting of them far more straightforward. Both sides use anti-tank rockets to hit bunkers/dugouts, with 2020 having seen a marked increase in their use by Russia-led forces.
Another good indicator that Russia wants war, not peace, is the above truck. While doing nothing more provocative than carrying supplies, it was hit by two anti-tank rockets, killing 1 Ukrainian soldier and wounding several others. What makes this a deliberate act of provocation is the fact the truck was on the other side of the broad Siverskyi Donets River. Russia-led soldiers had crept forward to a position overlooking the river and waited for any passing military vehicles. Goes without saying the truck posed no military threat whatsoever.
In Ukraine’s Luhansk region, the truck hit close to town of Nyzhnoteple. Russia’s forces control the other sides of the river around Obozne.
Video of Ukrainian soldiers talking about the March 1st attack on the above truck.
Below is the English summary for Feb 24th to March 1st.
Russia-led forces launched a total of 64 firing attacks, killing 3 Ukrainian soldiers and wounding another 13. You can also read an English text summary via the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence website.