The Kremlin could be plotting an armed provocation aiming to ultimately deploy "Russian peacekeepers" into the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas, suggests Serhiy Harmash, a Ukrainian journalist and delegate to the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas settlement, representing representative of certain areas of Donetsk region.
In a Facebook post Harmash wrote as an analyst expressing his personal opinion, he recalled that the Germans and French have completed, within the framework of the Normandy Four, their work on "cluster proposals". Steps have been worked out to become the base for a roadmap for ending the war. All parties are now waiting for Russia's reaction to the steps put forward.
"Being dissatisfied with the situation in the Normandy Four (Western 'cluster proposals') and seeing that they are losing the initiative, the Russians are preparing a military provocation in Donbas, which may become a pretext for the introduction of 'Russian peacekeepers' into the ORDLO [certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions]. Fearing that a provocation may cause a counter-offensive by Ukraine's Armed Forces, they're preparing for defense," Harmash wrote.
In his opinion, the purpose of such provocation and the subsequent deployment of "Russian peacekeepers" is to create a new reality in Donbas, which will make the German-French "cluster proposals" that are disadvantageous to Russia no longer relevant, and allow the conflict to be mothballed along the Abkhazian model.
Read alsoMore armed provocations in Donbas after Ukraine sanctions Medvedchuk – Zelensky"That is, reformatting the region into what in fact will be Russia's military base under the guise of depopulated 'DPR/LPR', with the possibility of resuming hostilities at any moment Moscow finds fit," Harmash suggested.
He believes that since the scenario with pushing the 'DPR/LPR' back into Ukraine doesn't work out, while the geopolitical background becomes unfavorable, Moscow "starts playing a long game".
Harmash noted that in the current situation it is important to tell a provocation from an actual offensive, to correctly assess enemy moves and respond adequately, while giving no grounds for the introduction of "peacekeepers".