The good news is, the July 27th ceasefire is holding.
We are still getting sporadic low-level firing by Russia’s forces, but this usually involves a few small arms shots & some grenade launcher fire. No heavy weapons have been reported used yet. Having uniquely lasted longer than any other ceasefire (traditionally they’ve lasted about a week), the Kremlin maybe hoping to lull Ukraine and its President into a false sense of optimism. This optimism may see Ukraine foolishly grant concessions to the occupied regions and allow elections to be held there – this before Ukraine gets back control of its eastern border from Russia.
Obviously, elections in occupied eastern Ukraine would neither be free or fair. Who would campaign for Ukraine? Who there would risk persecution and far worse by voting to stay as part of Ukraine and revealing they’re against uniting with Russia? It’s predictable any election result would show overwhelming fake support for joining Russia. Putin could then use this sham result to go ahead & merge occupied eastern Ukraine with Russia. After all, as we’ve seen in neighboring Belarus- elections in corrupt regimes are decided by those who declare the result, not the voters.
I suspect Russia will allow the ceasefire to last until the next Normandy Four Peace Summit, this with Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy, Putin, Merkel & Macron. Putin would then have a push for peace platform to pressure Ukraine into agreeing to elections or self-autonomy in the occupied regions. In the past when confronted by Putin, both Merkel & Macron have shown themselves to be fresh-faced naïve politicians, seemingly unwilling to demand anything of him. So it’s highly likely they too would join Russia’s dictator in pressuring Ukraine into making concessions.
With all the above glum predictions said and done, what the fuck do I know?
We’ll all just have to wait and see what happens next.
But remember, #RussiaInvadedUkraine, not the other way around.
Back to the Front Line – Pictures show recent demining, house repairs & firefighting activity.
The prolonged ceasefire has allowed Ukrainian forces and emergency services to repair large numbers of houses damaged by Russian shellfire. In addition, they’ve been able to clear hundreds of unexploded shells/ordnance. The one negative ceasefire feature are on-going front line fires. Some said to be started deliberately by Russia’s forces firing tracer rounds, the fires pose a significant danger to those fighting them. Several soldiers have been killed & injured due to explosions within the fire effected areas caused by unexploded shells and mines. Hopefully the cooler Autumn weather will reduce the number of new fires.