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Transnistria-Crimea-Donbass: southwestern anti-Russian front comes to life

Konstantin Vasilyev. Invasion

Most experts questioned by EADaily believe that a new armed conflict in Transnistria is hardly possible. On the other hand, they warn that here Ukraine may well use provocations, propaganda campaigns and economic sanctions. In Donbass, the possibility of a war is much higher. Here much depends on the Americans: if they decide to escalate the conflict, the war will be resumed, if they decide to freeze it, things will stay the way they are.

In the meantime, the people’s republics of Donbass are warning that the enemy is deploying more and more arms along the contact line and is getting ready for an offensive. Member of the Other Russia party Sergey Fomchenkov states that intentions of the Ukrainian army are evident, while first serious signs of offensive against the LPR and DPR were seen in early November. It looks like the Ukrainian party has chosen the military scenario, says Fomchenkov and warns that if Ukrainian forces try to cross the Line of Contact and launch an attack in the territory of Novorossiya, this will be the start of a new military campaign. Kiev’s new strategy may aim to cut Donetsk and Lugansk from Russia. The Ukrainians may also try to provoke a conflict in Transnistria with a view to exhaust Russia.

Chairman of the Committee for State Building in Novorossiya Vladimir Rogov also expects provocations in Transnistria. This is especially possible now that Mikheil Saakashvili is governor of Odessa Oblast. “In May-June, we warned that Ukraine’s Security Council had a plan to organize a provocation in Kotovsk. They recruited a group of youngsters who were supposed to feign an ‘occupation’ of the town so they in Kiev could shift the blame on ‘terrorists’ from Transnistria,” Rogov said.

“Now that the Ukrainians have transferred Grad and Uragan systems to Odessa, the possibility of a provocation is growing,” Rogov said.

He also expects a new war in Donbass. “Unfortunately, there is a 100% proverbial sign: if Biden has come, be ready for war! If after Biden’s visit Poroshenko was left in power it means that he promised to continue the war,” Rogov said.

“There is also a possibility that radical Islamists may get involved in the Ukrainian conflict and may try to attack Russia from this side. It is not a secret that the Turkish and U.S. special services have evacuated lots of fighters from the Middle East to Ukraine. Those people are being legalized in Ukraine due to the local law on foreign hirelings. They hope to open a new front against Russia,” Rogov said.

Earlier former member of Ukraine’s Supreme Rada Alexiy Zhoravko warned that a group of Islamists and fighters from the Turkish ultra-chauvinist Grey Wolves band arrived in Kherson Oblast via Odessa on the invitation of the organizers of Crimea’s blockade Mustafa Dzhemilev, Refat Chubarov and Lenur Islyamov, while Russian expert on Ukraine Yegor Kvasnyuk reported thousands of radical Islamists deployed in Donbass.

Blogger from Crimea Boris Rozhin is of a different opinion. He does not expect any war in Crimea.

Nor does he expect large-scale provocations on the part of Ukraine. “The Ukrainians do not have enough resources for acting in Crimea, Transnistria and Donbass at one and the same time. They may organize some political provocations or terrorist acts but not a military campaign,” Rozhin said.

He doubts that there may be ISIL fighters in Kherson Oblast but he admits that among the organizers of Crimea’s blockade there are people having contacts with Crimea and Hizb ut-Tahrir groups.

“On the border with Transnistria the Ukrainians do not have enough resources for a serious military campaign. They may try to provoke some skirmishes or to block some roads. They may also start a propaganda campaign. For a military campaign they need the support of Moldova, but that country has enough own problems not to get involved in such a risky venture,” Rozhin said.

According to him, the most likely place to face a new war now is Donbass. “Kiev’s current preparations will mostly probably grow into a new military campaign. It is hard to say when exactly they will start it. Today they keep bombarding Donbass on a daily basis and are accumulating weaponry all along the contact line. Perhaps, just like last year, when everybody expected the campaign to start in autumn, it will start in winter. Much here depends on global processes and on the United States’ plans. Russia is not interested in a new war in Donbass as today it is more worried about Syria,” Rozhin said.

Military expert Vladislav Shurygin is sure that there will be no war in Transnistria because formally that region is a Moldovan territory, so, that would mean a war against Moldova. So, by trying to blockade Transnistria, Ukraine is playing a kind of a coin toss game: on the one hand, Tiraspol is home to almost 200,000 Russian citizens, on the other, there is Moldova, who has never stopped regarding Transnistria as its territory. In Novorossiya, the war is much more possible, but if it is resumed, it will be a fiasco for Ukraine – for it will already be a war against Russia.

It is part of the Americans’ strategy to cause instability wherever possible. Instability in all the post-Soviet conflict zones implies additional problems for Russia. But they in the west are aware that new wars may have serious consequences for them, so, they will try to use other mechanisms, like provocations, blockades and propaganda campaigns.

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