The flare-up in the fighting in Avdiyivka, at the Donbas war front, has reminded political leaders and the international public that Europe’s only war is still going on after nearly three years. It should also remind them that now is no time for talk of relaxing sanctions on Russia – the aggressor state, the state that started the war, and the state that keeps the war going. Ukraine has announced cease-fires unilaterally several times, only to have them ignored by the Russian forces and their proxies. Any cease-fire agreed by both sides quickly breaks down – and it is the Russian-backed forces who fire first. The latest example came on Feb. 1, when a cease-fire agreed between the sides so that urgent repairs could be carried out to restore electricity supplies to the homes of Avdiyivka was broken after only three-and-a-half hours: Russian-backed forces shelled the Ukrainian repair crews, forcing them to flee. There is no doubt which side is to blame for the war continuing. None of Ukraine’s friends in the West, however, would name that side in their statements of concern following the latest clashes in Avdiyivka. Many called for “both sides” to stop the fighting, when they should have pointed an unwavering finger of blame at the one side that is keeping this war going – Russia. Until the West puts the blame for this war where it properly belongs, on Russia, and puts more pressure on the Kremlin to end its aggression, there will be more Avdiyivkas.

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