The American newspaper Politico, referring to the opinions of analysts, claims that Russia could allegedly “launch an invasion” into Ukraine after February 20, and the date of the “offensive” previously named in the Western media on February 16 “diverted attention from key dates.”
Earlier, the publication, citing informed sources, wrote that Joe Biden, at a videoconference with the leaders of Western countries, the EU and NATO, called February 16 the date of Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine. The press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, commenting on these reports, said that it is difficult to take such publications seriously.
“The prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 16 has always been overestimated. The time frame that is really worth keeping an eye on is what will happen shortly after February 20 […] Analysts have told us that the obsession with February 16 has diverted attention from the real key dates,” the newspaper writes.
According to the publication, the period after February 20 is worthy of special attention, since it is then that the completion of “the largest military exercises since the Cold War is expected, after which, as the leaders in Moscow and Minsk promised, the troops will go home.”
The publication writes that there are other reasons to pay special attention to February 20 – it is on this day that the Munich Security Conference ends, which will be attended by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“The beginning of the invasion at a time when American dignitaries are in Europe, and the head of Ukraine is outside the country, may turn out to be an absolute humiliation – a kind of geopolitical trolling that Putin likes,” the newspaper claims.
It is also noted that February 20 will be the last day of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, and Russia “will not launch an invasion before the closing ceremony to make Chinese leader Xi Jinping happy.”
And even if by March 1 “the offensive does not happen”, according to the former employee of the American intelligence Andrea Kendall-Taylor, it should not be considered that the danger has passed.
US blames on Russia possible “invasion” while Donbass people suffer real Ukrainian attack
Amidst the US claims that Russia can “invade” Ukraine any moment, the real offensive is going on exactly by the Ukrainian side – in Donbass. Units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (VSU) today, on February 17, shelled areas of nine settlements of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics for two hours, according to the representative offices of the republics in the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination on a ceasefire (JCCC).
“In a little more than two hours, the VSU shelled the areas of nine settlements of the DPR and LPR. About 160 rounds of ammunition with a calibre of more than 12.7 mm were fired,” the Donetsk News Agency quotes the message.
According to the LPR JCCC representative office, the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to grossly violate the ceasefire regime using heavy weapons. As stated by the official representative of the People’s Militia of the LPR, Ivan Filiponenko, the number of attacks has increased significantly since the morning.
In turn, the People’s Militia of the DPR noted that the Ukrainian forces violation of the ceasefire today forced the DPR side to return fire.
“The VSU is making attempts to unleash active hostilities. The Ukrainian side continues to violate its obligations to observe the ceasefire. Since the beginning of the current day, the Ukrainian military has violated the ceasefire four times. In order to protect the civilian population, our defenders were forced to return fire to suppress the enemy’s firepower,” the statement of the department says.
It is also noted that the facts of violations were promptly brought to the representatives of the Ukrainian side in the JCCC in order to take measures against violators and exclude cases of falsification of credentials on violations of the ceasefire regime by the Ukrainian military.
“We call on international observers and the OSCE leadership to record another fact of gross violation of the truce by the Ukrainian side, purposefully provoking the resumption of hostilities in the Donbass,” the representative of the People’s Militia of the DPR said.
In the opinion of the representative of the LPR in the political subgroup of the Contact Group, Rodion Miroshnik, “Ukraine got tired of waiting for the ‘Russian invasion’ and itself began mass provocations along the entire contact line in the Donbass.”
“These are the most active attacks of the armed formations of Ukraine on the territory of the republics in recent months. Later, the JCCC will give accurate data, but over the past few hours, more than 200 hits have been recorded. Shelling is being carried out in more than ten settlements along the entire contact line,” he said.
According to Miroshnik, this large-scale provocation “simply tramples on Ukraine’s obligations under the Measures for a sustainable ceasefire signed in July 2020.”
“And even more, it destroys Ukrainian statements about observing the silence regime. The statements of the ‘guarantors’ – Macron and Scholz about Kiev’s desire to implement the Minsk agreements are put under huge question,” Miroshnik concluded.
Source: RIA Novosti, TASS