Russian proxies in Donbas are circulating fake news claiming Ukraine's Armed Forces have been shelling civilian neighborhoods – to convince local residents of Ukraine's intends to launch a military operation to regain territory.
In March-April, Russian supervisors of the occupied territories launched yet another information campaign to compromise the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as reported by the Joint Forces Operation Headquarters on Facebook with reference to the Ukrainian delegates to the Joint Center for Ceasefire Control and Coordination (JCCC).
"The campaign is aimed at creating and spreading fake reports claiming settlements in the temporarily occupied territory are being shelled by Ukraine's Armed Forces," the report says.
The JCCC says such stovepiping is aimed at convincing the local population of Ukraine's immediate plans to launch a military operation to regain territory in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"To reinforce the overall message of preparation for defense, they post photos of sandbags being piled up in front of administrative buildings in Donetsk and other temporarily occupied cities," reads the report.
The Ukrainian side to the JCCC notes that during April 12-17, the invaders went for live-fire provocations using weapons banned by the Minsk agreements (120mm and 82mm mortars, MT-12 Rapira cannons, and anti-tank guns), shooting from Donetsk toward Opytne, Pisky, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka.
"On April 14, the so-called media operating in the temporarily occupied territories spread another fake story – about the alleged shelling of one of the city districts, resulting in a civilian death," it said.
Read alsoRussia deploys attack aircraft in occupied CrimeaThe Ukrainian side to the JCCC stresses civilian deaths have recently become "an integral part of the invaders' propaganda campaign as they pursue the course toward 'demonizing' the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Shelling of religious sites and critical infrastructure facilities, and the killing of children are also among traditional propaganda clichés."
In addition, on April 17, despite the monitoring mission's work in the northwestern outskirts of Donetsk, the invaders three times shelled Ukraine Army's positions. As a result, one soldier was wounded.
Along with the intensifying use of proscribed weapons by enemy forces, the number of disinformation reports blaming Ukraine Army for the attacks will also be steadily increasing, Ukrainian officials believe.
The Ukrainian side to the JCCC stresses the Ukrainian Army complies with the ceasefire, while the invaders' reports claiming otherwise "do not correspond to reality, and are aimed at deliberately escalating the situation."
"Systematic violations of ceasefire by [enemy] side are nothing but blatant provocations amid rising tensions along Ukraine borders," the report says.