Nine years ago, Russia unleashed war in Donbas

April 13,2023 1177
Nine years ago, Russia unleashed war in Donbas

On April 13, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament’s speaker and acting president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, announced the beginning of an Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) in Donbas, an eastern Ukrainian region that comprises the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk. The ATO became Ukraine’s response to the invasion of Russian commandos who took control of the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk one day before and started advances on other localities in the region.

This happened after pro-Russian puppets in Donetsk occupied the Oblast State Administration building and declared a so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” on April 7, and after the occupation of Crimea by Russian troops in an operation that began on Feb. 20.

“We did everything to avoid human casualties. But we are ready to take up arms to fight against all attempts at invasion, destabilization and terrorist actions. The National Security and Defense Council has decided to launch a large-scale anti-terrorist operation with the involvement of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We will not allow Russia to repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern region of Ukraine,” Turchynov stated on April 13, 2014, according to NV.

Four years later, on April 30, 2018, the ATO was replaced with a Joint Forces Operation, and the operation’s command was transferred from the Security Service of Ukraine to the Armed Forces.

According to official UN data, which is certainly an underestimation, the eight-year low-intensity warfare preceding Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 took the lives of over 13,300 Ukrainians, including more than 4,200 Ukrainian military personnel. Approximately 7.5% of the Ukrainian territory (including Crimea) was occupied.

On April 13, 2014, Ukraine did not declare martial law – otherwise, the presidential election in May would be impossible.

Neither did Russia want to call the armed conflict a Russo-Ukrainian war but did what it does best – lying. They said there were no Russian troops in Donbas, and all these tanks, howitzers and MLRS had been dug out by Donbas miners from their coal mines.

As for the West, they preferred to call the Russian troops in Ukraine “Russia-backed separatists.”

The war in Donbas resulted from the world’s indecisive and inconsistent reaction to Russia’s illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Having not received adequate punishment for gross violations of international law, Russia went even further and ignited the local war in the eastern regions of Ukraine, disguising their commandos as local “separatists.”

However, the initial plans of the Russians failed. Unable to break Ukrainians’ aspiration for freedom and will to resist, and having failed in numerous attempts to destabilize Ukraine from within through this low-intensity conflict, on February 24, 2022, the Russian terrorist state launched a full-scale genocidal war against the Ukrainian people.

Today, we once again remember all the brave men and women who gave their lives in the fight for the freedom and independence of Ukraine and call on the world to consolidate efforts to stop the Russian aggressor once and for all.

Photo: via Persha

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