Week’s milestones. Premonition of Donbas all-in, last respects to Yeremeyev, and difficulties of merger
Statements by militant leaders and intensified shelling suggest further escalation of the Donbas conflict. The ruling party is trying to consolidate into a single entity, but the process is delayed by unforeseen difficulties in the form of unprovoked ambitions of some party leaders.
Military experts call the July-August period most favorable for the offensive in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin and the Russian proxies are of course well aware of this fact, but they have to tailor the scale of their operations with the possible response of the West and the potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Reconnaissance attempts by militants saw no success; however, they incited another burst of popular discussions on the issue of “treason,” or "zrada" [a popular meme, widely used to describe public discontent with the authorities’ actions or inaction] in Ukraine’s virtual rear.
Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky, leaders of the so-called DPR and LPR terrorist organizations, made simultaneous statements, suggesting new attacks by militants in the near future.
Meanwhile, not only the positions of the Ukrainian forces, but also residential areas have come under heavy militant shelling. Oleksandr Turchynov stressed that Russia is preparing provocations on the eve of Independence Day, making it clear that in case of Donbas escalation, martial law will be introduced in Ukraine. However, it’s not only the resilience of the government forces in eastern Ukraine which is important. The response of the Western powers is also worth noting, as they have been trying to freeze the conflict at the expense of Ukraine’s interests. The Kremlin is well aware that a lot more than just Kyiv regaining control over Russian-Ukrainian border is currently at stake in eastern Ukraine today.
Last respects were paid to leader of the Will of the People parliamentary group Ihor Yeremeyev, who died last week after falling from a horse and a several-day coma. After the death of its leader, the smallest parliamentary group will see hard times, because law enforcement agencies have massed up some questions to its members Serhiy Melnichuk and Mykhaylo Lanyo. It is interesting, whether it will be Andriy Derkach or Volodymyr Lytvyn who will secure formal leadership in the group. Despite Lytvyn’s considerable political experience, public perception of him is mixed these days.
Meanwhile, the ruling party is trying to achieve unity ahead of local elections. It has been a week since Vitaly Klitschko’s Udar party announced joining the ranks of BPP-Solidarity power bloc, but the format of this union is still being negotiated. It looks like Klitschko suddenly remembered of his ambitions as a party leader. Mykola Tomenko does not exclude that another party to this union will be the People's Front, which cannot boast remarkable rating.
Chief military prosecutor Anatoly Matios missed the opportunity to become a major newsmaker of the week as he decided to limit himself to the calls to amend the statutes of Ukrainian Armed Forces and the promise to press criminal charges against some Russian military. At the same time, Matios asked the Ukrainians to give him several months to name those responsible for the tragedy near Ilovaisk in August 2014 from the Ukrainian side. Surely, the Ukrainians can wait, but will they be satisfied with the answers of the chief military prosecutor?