On Saturday, drones struck fuel storage facilities at an oil depot in Donetsk’s Kirovsky district, destroying some 1,300 tonnes of fuel, and wiping out a month’s worth of supplies for the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and its militia. DPR representative Daniil Bezsonov reported that this was “the third case of this type of terrorist attack” in a week. Experts think that Kiev has started employing hybrid military methods that the US and NATO had used against Yugoslavia in 1999.
Last week, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Alexei Danilov stated that Kiev’s armed forced were ready “to take Donetsk and Lugansk,” while Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky acknowledged the possibility of a full-scale war with Russia. The Zelensky administration ramped up its military rhetoric right when Russia and Belarus started joint their Zapad-2021 strategic drills, which Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba deemed to be a threat to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, it was precisely Ukraine that began active military actions against the DPR’s economic potential. Leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin stated that “Ukraine continues to ignore the peaceful process of settling the conflict. Moreover, constant artillery provocations have increased along the entire line of military engagement.” Media outlets in Donbass report repeated shelling of local mines and residential buildings.
Donbass militia veteran and blogger Vladlen Tatarsky thinks that Kiev will soon use drones on a massive scale, launching grenades at mass gathering sites, noting that it was still unclear how to counteract this threat. Lieutenant General Yuri Netkachev told the newspaper that “the military tactics of the Ukrainian army’s subunits depend on the experience of using high-precision weapons that were directed against Yugoslavia’s industrial potential and its army by NATO forces when they were preparing to occupy Kosovo.“
The expert noted that at the end of September, Kiev would hold joint drills with 15 NATO countries and partners. “Romanian and Slovak army helicopters are going to be used, aircraft from Canada, armored vehicles from Slovakia and ships from Romania, about 85 tanks, roughly 50 heavy artillery systems, and 30 aircraft, including strike drones. In preparation for [the drills], the modern approaches of using NATO militaries, experience from recent armed conflicts, including the war in Donbass, were employed,” the expert noted.