Ten days on since the start of the latest ceasefire, so is it holding?
The short answer is almost. Yes, as expected everyday the Ukrainian military report Russia-led forces are firing off the odd grenade launcher shell and a few rounds of machine gun fire, but overall things are quiet. I suspect this small-scale firing will continue for a while longer. Header pic – Ukrainian soldier.
Ceasefires are useful. They allow Russia-led forces to regroup, rearm, repair, improve their front line positions and generally shake themselves down.
OSCE Ceasefire Reporting.
As seen below for Aug 4th, the OSCE report a handful of ceasefire violations each day, with the bulk of firing listed as small arms fire.
Overall since July 27th and the start of the ceasefire they detail a total of 251 ceasefire violations, both in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (including 45 explosions, two projectiles in flight, three illumination flares and 201 bursts and shots of small-arms fire).
Russia shows us Tape not Aid.
With a new ceasefire in place, it comes as no surprise to see Russia sent its first 2020 “humanitarian (MILITARY) aid” convoy into eastern Ukraine. As with everyone of these so-called “aid” convoys, each one supposedly contained either mountains of baby food and medical supplies. Yet the same Russia is doing everything humanly possible to stop this “humanitarian aid” from being seen. No independent journalists or media have been allowed to see the “aid,” and in eastern Ukraine, OSCE monitors are routinely refused permission to observe the unloading of convoy trucks. Trucks pitch up in military compounds and that’s all anyone gets to see.
All rather suspicious, as everyone knows Russia likes to make a big song and propaganda dance about COVID-19 aid sent to the US and Russian medical assistance given to other countries. Yet for the last six years, Russia’s consistently refused to allow anyone to see the thousands of tons of aid it alleges to have sent into eastern Ukraine.
Hiding the Russian aid. On July 30th the Russia-led Donetsk republic heralded another aid convoy arriving in Donetsk. On their YouTube channel a video showed the usual footage of trucks arriving emblazoned with “Humanitarian aid from the Russian Federation,” some official bigging up the “aid” and the now standard glimpse of stacks of boxes wrapped in shrink-rap.
To convince us the cargo does contain medical supplies, the camera repeatedly zeroed in on boxes sealed with red-cross medical tape (see below). So Russia’s propaganda machine is jolly keen to show us boxes with medical tape on them, but less keen to show what’s in the boxes.
My take on these convoys is they contain military supplies such as uniforms, infantry equipment, light weapons, food, water and medical supplies for the military – basically everything needed to sustain a large military force in the field. Larger quantities of ammunition and military hardware is sneaked across the border in military convoys.