On Monday, Kiev and the Donbass began a large truce, which for the first time is equipped with such unprecedented control measures and bans. The parties will no longer be able to conduct reconnaissance and carry out sabotage, launch drones and hold positions in the “gray” zone. Sniper fire is also prohibited. For the first time, all this was recorded by the orders of the commanders — the OOS and the “people’s militia” of the separatists.
Special officers with experience in peacekeeping missions arrived at the frontline to monitor the ceasefire. In other words, the measures are serious and could really remove the heat of the war if there is a will on both sides. The first day of the armistice showed that the shooting had actually subsided.
We should immediately note that all our interlocutors dismiss the talk that the army was almost disarmed. Weapons are all in place. But in the rest there are nuances.
“If a weapon is held on both sides, it will still fire»
Alex G. is the captain: “Most of the fighters like the truce, the salary is paid, they are fed in the kitchen, they are no longer sent to the “gray” zone for reconnaissance, where you can be blown up by a mine or die under enemy fire. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, no one believes that this truce will last long. Who will record that the enemy started firing first and give the command to respond? Headquarters? Don’t make me laugh. If they shoot at us, of course I will not tell the soldiers about the truce and the Minsk agreements, but we will shoot back.”
Yuri, Sergeant: “If both sides are holding weapons, this weapon will still fire. On the front, it happens like this — a hare or Fox ran through the neutral zone, touched the tripwire-an explosion. Almost always the first thought is that the saboteurs are crawling towards us. It is natural that after this there will be a response, strelkotnya-who is interested in that saboteurs cut the throat of all our people? The matter has gone too far, so no one will be silent.”
Dmitry, a senior soldier: “by and large, the truce is good. Because for many of our fighters, the meaning of the battles for the “gray” zone was not quite clear. We fight for it for months, or even years, losing guys, and in the end, we advance a hundred meters. Still, no one gives the order to go on the offensive and liberate Donetsk and will not give it. And if so, why simulate war and lose people? But few people believe that they will stop shooting at all. When two armies are facing each other, it is almost impossible to make sure that they do not fire.”
Konstantin, major: “the generals who are Looking after the “silence” are still sitting three or five kilometers from the front, in the trenches or on the supports, you can not tighten them with a rope. How can we control who started the shooting, us or the separators? Let Homchak keep quiet when a mine lands on his head. We brought the order from headquarters to the personnel. But this order caused irony among the majority.”
Denis, the senior soldier: “I don’t believe that the sniper from the other side will refrain from shooting when he sees my head in the trench. I was there when they raised troops in Gold. Immediately after the departure of the generals, everyone immediately rushed to the abandoned positions — there are no fools that the separa would move to us in our own trenches. No one here trusts anyone, we don’t trust the separatives, they don’t trust us.”
They can start fighting at any moment
From the words of soldiers and officers, it follows that their attitude to the truce is ambiguous. They say that in theory this may be correct (the current format of positional war is a senseless bloodletting without any prospects of winning a military victory by defeating the enemy), but in practice they do not believe in observing the prohibitions on firing. After all, two hostile armies standing side by side will fight in any case. No matter how many truces are declared.
That is, stopping the fire is a half-hearted measure that cannot last long without more effective steps. For example, the withdrawal of troops along the entire front line. This was proposed to Ukraine back in December at the Normandy four summit in Paris, but Zelensky replied that such a development of events is “unprofitable” for Ukraine.
Of course, this process is painful: many positions of the APU are too well equipped over the past five years to give them up. But, first, such a breeding is carried out in a mirror, and the enemy also loses its defensive advantages.
Secondly, and most importantly, the shelling becomes even more difficult (unless the troops return to their original positions, which happened, for example, in the area of Zolotoye).