Decreased intensity of shelling gives hope for peace in Donbass

The intensity of shelling on the contact line between the Kiev troops and the Donbass forces has significantly declined after a new ceasefire came into effect on July 21, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Deputy Militia Chief Eduard Basurin told Izvestia. Although shelling is still on, there is a positive dynamic giving hope that soon peace will be brought to the region, Basurin said.

While shelling attacks by the Kiev forces earlier used to be reported a dozen times per day, the new ceasefire was violated only some 30 times in the past week. According to sources in Kiev, the Ukrainian leadership is now working on removing volunteer battalions, such as Azov, from the region, which are to blame for the provocations.

Ukraine’s new President Vladimir Zelensky came to power under the slogan of peace and unification of the country, the paper notes. The Ukrainian leader has repeatedly called for putting an end to the war in Donbass. However, so far Ukraine only had a new president come to power, while the new parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, where his Servant of the People party has secured most seats, is due to hold its first session only in late August. Most allies of former President Pyotr Poroshenko still have their seats in parliament.

According to the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, Leonid Kalashnikov, Ukrainians backed Zelensky as their new leader because he pledged to stop the civil war. "He is trying to commit to this. Given that Zelensky has not gained control over the country as yet and power is still in transition, the mere fact of lowered intensity of combat actions demonstrates positive trends. I believe this comes from Zelensky’s orders," the lawmaker told the paper.

The new authorities in Ukraine are not seeking an escalation, and as soon as new people are appointed to the leading posts in the government, Zelensky’s team will be able to start settling the Donbass crisis, said Russian Institute for Strategic Studies expert Vladimir Yevseyev.

Donbass Ukraine