Spokesman for the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Oleksiy Arestovych says there is a new escalation in Donbas looming as the Kremlin will not give up its attempts to use force against Ukraine.
"I think it [further escalation in Donbas] is not just probable – it is almost inevitable, sooner or later. The Kremlin will not give up attempts to use force against us. I'm not going to give an exact date, although there are signs it may happen this spring, maybe closer to the summer," he told Ukraina 24 TV channel.
The Kremlin has not yet achieved its goal in eastern Ukraine, he said.
"And [why] is it inevitable – remember how it all began? Voices were heard that the president [Volodymyr Zelensky] and his team would surrender everything to the Kremlin. A year and a half passed, they have not surrendered anything," Arestovych said.
At the same time, he admits the negotiations on Donbas lack progress.
Read alsoDonbas war update: Ukraine records three ceasefire violations on Feb 14According to him, the Russian Federation makes everything dependent on the political provisions, while setting negotiations with terrorists' representatives as a main condition.
"But I am 100% sure Russia is preparing some kind of bad surprise, and anyway this will result in an escalation at the front. There are many scenarios, starting with the fact that they intensify the impact so that there are victims, so that alarmists start putting pressure on the leadership," he said.
Arestovych says he thinks Russia has already made up its mind on Donbas.
"No doubt it will go for escalation. We know all the means they have been using for the six years, [they] need to come up with something new," he added.
The situation in Donbas: Update
- In recent days, the situation in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone has escalated: Russia-led forces have intensively been attacking positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and enemy snipers are also active.
- On Sunday, February 14, alone, three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an explosion of an improvised explosive device.
- Their death is being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).