One thing which isn’t conducive to invasions, is having people watching and reporting your military activity. This then begs the question as to what Russia intends to do with the OSCE monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine? Currently, from both sides of the frontline, the OSCE publishes daily reports, detailing the level of firing, damage to property due to shelling, following up on civilian casualties and importantly detailing military activity which breaches the Minsk Agreement.
The type of items listed include – Russia’s forces (RF) (OSCE call them armed formations) routinely stopping OSCE patrols from passing through checkpoints or travelling towards the Ukrainian/Russian border. Observing large amounts of RF hardware close to the frontline and even military convoys seen crossing in and out of Ukraine via Russia. With much of the OSCE observation work conducted using UAV and fixed camera’s along the frontline, it’s hard to imagine Russia’s forces allowing that level of scrutiny to continue. But for now, we wait and see what happens next.
Good example of that scrutiny is seen below.
Feb 18th, the OSCE spotted 3 howitzer artillery pieces “with white smoke coming out of their barrels” – indicating they’ve just fired. Making the observation more revealing, the location of the artillery was close to civilian houses in the village of Styla. The report suggests Russia’s forces are driving artillery around, stopping to fire next to inhabited areas, then moving on. This confirms Ukrainian military accusations that RF are deliberately endangering civilian lives by firing next to houses. And that’s why RF do it, as they hope any Ukrainian return fire will damage houses, or ideally kill civilians – then Russia’s propaganda kicks in claiming Ukraine targeted civilians. Link to below OSCE report.