Ukrainian soldiers captured by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said in statements on Wednesday that Kiev might launch an offensive against Donbass during the upcoming 2018 World Cup held in Russia.
According to reports, two captured Ukrainian soldiers, Vasily Zhimilinsky and Vitaly Chmil explained the circumstances in which they were captured and answered questions from reporters. The two soldiers confirmed that they were not pressured by the Donetsk side.
“We were told that an offensive would begin either on the eve of the presidential election in Russia, when the snow melted and the earth dried up, or during the World Cup.”
The captured soldiers even revealed that “there was an order and it was all a matter of receiving more ammunition and fuel … The captain also told us that before the offensive, Javelin anti-tank missile systems would be delivered to every unit on the front line.”
Chmil confirmed suspicions that Ukrainian forces are readying for an offensive against Donbass defense forces. The two captured soldiers confirmed the presence of artillery systems at the Ukrainian army’s frontline positions.
One of the captured soldiers was declared a deserter by the high command of the Ukrainian military, although both soldiers were captured on the battlefield, but at different times and in different sectors on the contact line.
The conflict in Donbas began in 2014 when Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, who refused to recognize the new government in Kiev which came to power after a US-backed coup.
The official Minsk Agreements have done little to prevent constant Ukrainian forays and bombardments. The Donbass republics have persistently accused Ukraine of provocations and violating the Minsk Agreements, whereas Kiev habitually claims that the Donbass militias and “Russian occupation forces” alleged to be in the area are shooting at themselves and blaming Ukraine.