The Russian Federation suspended the deployment of "humanitarian convoys" to the occupied Donbas. The last convoy sent arrived in the occupied areas on December 20, 2018. As explained by the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, this is due to the "demand assessment".
However, in reality, the termination of "humanitarian aid" by Russia to the occupied Donbas is due to another reason – the change of leadership in the areas and a certain rotation that is taking place there. And as long as these processes continue, all programs, including the "humanitarian aid", are put on hold.
There are several indications of such rotations.
Firstly, rumors are spinning about Igor Plotnitsky's return to Luhansk. I believe that this rumor was launched by the Russian side but I do not think that this will actually happen.
Secondly, as is known, "convoys" from Russia were used not only to deliver humanitarian but also weapons. At the same time, those insignificant volumes of actual humanitarian aid was looted by local warlords, representatives of the occupation administration. This was one of the reasons why Plotnitsky was removed from office. After all, when the operation was carried out to replace him, he was accused of reselling humanitarian aid to the local population and getting enriched on this.
I doubt that this problem with the looting has been solved. This is a systemic issue with the local leadership. After all, from the very beginning, the occupying authorities brought to power the gangs, and now they are trying to replace them with what could be perceived as civil servants.
However, in fact, the suspension of Russia's deliveries of humanitarian convoys to the occupied Donbas is due to a change in local leadership and a certain rotation that is taking place there
Thirdly, recently one of the "ministers" was detained. It also shows that there is a change in the "leadership" in the occupied part of Donbas, and some sort of cleansing is taking place. Therefore, I think we will witness further arrests of pseudo-minisers and pseudo-leaders.
So, until the cleansing and replacement of executives is completed, all projects will be "frozen". After all, there are simply no people there who would administer the Russian "aid". That is, they need the other side to accept it.
However, the cessation of deliveries of "humanitarian convoys" does not affect the capacities of militants, because the "economy" in the occupied territories has long been formed. I do not mean the economy of a genuine healthy country, but smuggling streams, drug trafficking, seizure of factories, selling coal, etc. There is money there.
In addition, one should not hope that Russia will not resume sending "aid". In order to stop it from being sent from Russia, this should be preceded by the withdrawal of Russian troops from Donbas. And we're not seeing it. And hence, Russia needs to provide its army with all that is necessary.
I'd also like to emphasize that there are no "militants" in Donbas – there are regular and irregular units of the Russian Federation. Recently, one of the combat commanders turned in to Ukraine and told about the staff structure of these units.
Moreover, one should not hope that Russia will not resume sending "aid"
Russia prepared the units that are being curated by officers of the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Moreover, the staff structure is constructed so that these forces at any moment could expand three times their size, replenished with troops from the Russian Federation. That is, they created a springboard for a possible war. Russia has accumulated a large amount of equipment, established logistics, prepared personnel and hardware, built roads from Rostov along the border in the direction of Sochi.
All this is done to improve the supplies for these divisions. So the formation of Russian troops for a possible strike on Ukraine is being completed.
Will it happen? When a huge amount of money is spent on preparations, the probability of this strike is very high. However, if Ukraine is well prepared, Russia will see that its losses will not be worth the success they could achieve, and therefore it will simply be disadvantageous for them. This way, we could probably be able to postpone or cancel these plans of the Russian Federation.
Myroslav Hai is a Reserve Officer, Deputy Head of the Board of Military Reserve under the General Staff of the Army, volunteer, head of the charity fund "Myr and Ko"