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How is the situation in eastern Ukraine, in the meantime

After Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the territories of the declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk also include some areas under the control of the Ukrainian government, the attention of international observers is focused on eastern Ukraine, to try to understand whether the offensive of the Russian army, which officially arrived in the region between Monday and Tuesday, imminent.

From the few testimonies of journalists and activists on the ground, we know that in recent days attacks by pro-Russian separatists – which have never stopped since 2014, the year of the invasion – have increased, but it is not clear to what extent the Russian military is actually involved.

The The Wall Street Journal he wrote That on Tuesday, on the border between the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government and the two self-declared republics, “the bombing continued all day.” In the village of Novolohansky, on the Ukraine-controlled side, separatist military vehicles crashed into several buildings and killed a man. In Shchastya, a small town in a government-controlled area about 30 kilometers from Luhansk, The local power station was bombedand left about 40,000 people without electricity. Some Ukrainian soldiers said a Radio Free Europe The bombings have increased dramatically in recent days.

There are also many testimonies of massive movements of troops and military vehicles in the Russian territory bordering other parts of Ukraine: Israeli journalist Moshe Schwartz posted some of them from the Belgorod region, a few kilometers away while the crow flies from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. .

However, the areas most at risk are those within the Ukrainian government-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk regions. One of the cities that is a potential target for the Russian army, Mariupol is one of the main ports in the south of the country. A mass demonstration in support of the Ukrainian central government was held in the city on Tuesday evening.

After the events of the past few days, it seems that more and more observers are convinced that the Russian army will not only occupy the lands of the two self-proclaimed permanently, but will also advance into the Ukrainian lands. Many Western officials they said to me financial times To be “certain” that Russia “will attack in the next few days a series of territories not occupied by the separatists, and can also attack Kiev and some strategic military bases.” Meanwhile, yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky He decided To call all reservists.

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Many analysts are convinced that the Russian army will not be able to stay on the borders and in the two declared republics, that is, outside their bases, for long. sources guardian they explain That so far about a third of the Russian army, which is therefore located in unknown regions, has been mobilized in the cold, not knowing exactly what the orders will soon be.

“If troops are used, they will likely be used very soon, while they are still recent,” said Nick Reynolds, a ground combat expert at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). There is still a possibility, albeit less and less, of these forces not being used and returning to their bases.