20:47 GMT28 February 2021
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    A military-diplomatic source in Moscow told Sputnik that Ukrainian authorities had planned the recent escalation of conflict in Donbass in advance, in order to coincide with meetings of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with western politicians.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ukrainian authorities had planned the recent escalation of conflict in Donbass in advance, in order to coincide with meetings of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with western politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a military-diplomatic source in Moscow told Sputnik.

    "Analysis of the situation around the [Ukrainian] Avdiivka settlement brings us to the conclusion that the rapid escalation of the situation had been premeditated by the Ukrainian leadership. It is not a mere coincidence that the aggravation of the situation coincided with high-level meetings the Ukrainian side had planned for January 30-31 (meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis and Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen)," the source said.

    The source added that these steps of the Ukrainian side showed that Kiev wanted to shift responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in Avdeevka on the Russian side.

    "During two weeks, between January 10 and 23, 16 trains with ammunition for 152-mm artillery guns and MLRS [Multiple Rocket Launch System] were delivered…. to the conflict zone, to Pokrovsk Station," the source said.

    According to the source, in the period between January 24 and 27, the armed forces in the conflict zone close to the contact line were hastily reinforced via the arrival of a complete 'Donbas" battalion and three battalions from 'Azov' regimen which were moved to the city of Donetsk.

    The source added that at least 9 artillery battalions and 6 MLRS battalions were moved close to the contact line.

    "All of these [preparations] clearly show who was actually preparing the provocation and who was responsible for the escalation of the conflict," the source concluded.


    "The fact of 28 pontoon bridges deployment to the Stanychno-Luhanskyi district of the Lugansk Region shows that the commandment of the [Ukrainian] anti-terror operation has plans to cross the Siverskyi Donets River while the Ukrainian leadership has offensive ambitions," the source said.


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