Russia courts Donbas residents while ceasefire violations increase

Lane Johansen
October 4, 2021

Between September 26th and October 2nd, the Joint Forces Operation reported 67 ceasefire violations on the part of Russian-backed forced in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 7 injured as a result of these ceasefire violations. Additionally, opposition forces damaged private infrastructure in the settlement of Avdiivka after their firing toward Ukrainian positions turned into a direct bombardment of the residential area.

The Ukraine Crisis Media Center published a report entitled “Fallen Defenders of September 2021” that honors the 7 Ukrainian soldiers who were killed in eastern Ukraine during the past month: Oleksiy Kulenko, Denys Herman, Artur Holub, Valentyn Cherpurny, Demyan Danyliv, Viktor Molostov, and Oleksiy Strzhak. September saw 222 ceasefire violations on the part of Russian-backed forces, which is 40 more than in the previous month, and this report serves as an important reminder of the tragedy resulting from Russian escalation in the east.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalists gained access to the Russian “Program for Accelerated Economic Development of Territories for 2022-2024”, which lays out the Kremlin’s plans to allocate more than 900 billion rubles ($12.4 billion) for the socioeconomic needs of the occupied parts of eastern Ukraine, where about 2.9 million people reside. The program aims to increase the average monthly salary of Donbas residents from 15,000 rubles ($206) to 20,000 rubles ($274), the same as the Russian Rostov region.

On September 27th, Russia kicked off military drills in Crimea a week after Ukraine’s joint exercises with the US and 14 other countries began in western Ukraine. This latest Russian exercise in the illegally occupied Crimean Peninsula – the 20th of this year – involved more than 2,000 personnel and 100 military units. The drills lasted three days.

On September 30th, the US Department of Defense announced its $84.2 million order of six more Mark VI patrol boatsto give to Ukraine. Kyiv will receive the vessels as part of the US government’s Building Partner Capacity (BPC) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs. The Pentagon has already ordered two Mark VIs worth $19.9 million, which should be completed by December 2022, and the additional six should be completed by March 2026. These orders are a key party of US efforts to revive Ukraine’s navy as Russia exhibits increasingly aggressive behavior in the Black and Azov seas.