A Ukrainian soldier was mortally wounded on March 12 by a Russian sniper near the front line city of Mariinka, 30 kilometers west of Kremlin-occupied Donetsk.
A day later, another Ukrainian serviceman was injured by enemy fire.
On March 12, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said that Ukrainian leadership is well aware of the deterioration of the cease-fire imposed in July.
“The number of shellings is increasing, but we cannot say that there is a critical situation,” said Danilov. “The situation is completely under control.”
Since the start of 2021, Russia’s attacks on Ukraine have intensified.
On Feb. 28, a soldier was killed near the front line village of Pyshchevyk in Donetsk Oblast, about 117 kilometers south of Donetsk.
A total of 13 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by enemy fire since the beginning of the year.
There are no signs that the situation may improve in the near future.
In early March, Russian-led militants have made public statements saying that Ukraine is prepared to resume military action in March. According to Russian proxies, they are opening fire to prevent a Ukrainian attack.
These statements were denied by Danilov and there’s currently no indication that Ukraine is prepared to enact a military operation to regain control of the Russian-occupied territory.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has been looking for ways to end the Russian war against Ukraine, which began with the military invasion and takeover over the Crimean peninsula and then spread quickly to the invasion of the eastern Donbas.
However, the desire is one-sided.
On March 9, Zelensky vowed to convene the long-awaited Normandy Four peace summit to discuss ending Russia’s war in the Donbas, no matter what it takes.
“It must be held,” the president said.
However, there are no indications that Russia, one of the Normandy Four countries alongside Germany, France and Ukraine, wants the meeting to happen.
The last Normandy Four meeting was held in December 2019 in Paris and delivered mixed results.
Two prisoner exchanges have taken place, bringing over 100 Ukrainians home. On July 27, a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia and its proxies was proclaimed.
However, no breakthrough has occurred.
Russia refused to participate in the Normandy Four meeting scheduled for April 2020 and has refused participation ever since.
In January, Ann Linde, chair of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), said that it was Russia that is blocking the future meeting to take place.
“At the Paris summit, there was an agreement on a new meeting of leaders under several conditions,” said Linde.
“Ukraine has fulfilled all conditions, Russia, unfortunately, hasn’t yet,” added Linde, who is also Sweden’s foreign minister.
Over 13,000 people have been killed because of Russia’s war and at least 1.5 million people displaced.
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