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Kiev Stirs The Pot In Eastern Ukraine

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Kiev is, once again, back at its attempts to stir the pot in Eastern Ukraine.

Over the last several days, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) claimed to have lost two of its servicemen in Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) shelling, while several others were injured.

All of the casualties are from the 93rd brigade, a 37-year-old major by the name of Bogdan Brodovsky, and the head of the medical center Yriy Pismenniy.

From the DPR’s side the story is a bit different. According to DPR intelligence, 1 serviceman of the 93rd mechanized brigade was killed and 4 others were injured on July 5 as a result of a mine explosion.

A group of 93 brigade staff officers consisting of the deputy commander for the rear, the heads of food and clothing services with a security guard were returning to their base, when the driver lost control over the vehicle and drove to the road side where the vehicle blew up on a mine.

DPR local officials stressed that it was the second such case of a car explosion in the 93rd brigade over the past days.

As per the DPR’s statement, the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers are not the result of shelling on their part, but rather a gross disregard of any safety standards by the UAF.

Losses were also reported in the ranks of militants in Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). On July 2, as a result of shelling, one soldier of the LPR was killed. This was announced by the official representative of the Defense Ministry of the Republic.

As the death toll is rising on the frontlines, Kiev is signaling that it is preparing to act in Eastern Ukraine. Oleksiy Arestovich, Ukraine’s representative in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) said that the UAF are capable of seizing part of the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

According to him, Ukraine does not fulfill the Minsk agreements because they have no binding character. The English version of the document does not include such words as “requires”, but there is “welcomes”.

As such, Kiev could carry out an operation to capture a part of the area of the two self-proclaimed republics.

Likely feeling a sense of urgency, the LPR representative in the TCG – Rodion Miroshnik called for a renewed Normandy Four Format – one that includes the United States.

Ukrainian officials are also in favor of US participation in the Normandy format, as it is already a member of the OSCE and the guarantor of the Budapest Memorandum.

The DPR and LPR hope that Washington’s participation would return some sense to Kiev’s actions and would limit its aggressiveness, while President Volodymyr Zelensky and his aides likely hope for the exact opposite. In their view, the US in the Normandy Format would mean that even more assertive statements and actions could potentially be undertaken.

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