Between October 24th and 30th, the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) reported 75 ceasefire violations on the part of Russian-backed troops in eastern Ukraine, up 42% from the week prior. As a result, 2 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and another 10 were injured. Additionally, Ukrainian forces eliminated 321 fires in the territory of the JFO over the past week, with three civilians suffering injuries.
On October 26th, Ukrainian forces hit an enemy target with a Bayraktar TB2 UAV from Turkey for the first time. Russian-backed forces had opened fire on Ukrainian positions in Hranitne, killing one Ukrainian soldier and injuring another, so Ukrainian forces authorized the use of the Turkish drone; aggression from the other side immediately ceased.
Germany was angered by Ukraine’s decision to use a Turkish drone, with the German Foreign Ministry releasing a statement on the 27th warning that “Berlin is very concerned about the increase in the intensity of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, as well as the message of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army [and their decision to use a Bayraktar-type drone],” asserting that the Minsk agreements allow drones to be used only for the OSCE mission. Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk responded that Ukraine “firmly rejects” Berlin’s warning, noting that Ukrainian forces had tried to cease enemy fire through diplomatic channels with the OSCE, but Russian-backed forces had ignored them. Additionally, as Euromaidan Press points out, occupation troops were shooting from within the line of demarcation and use Russian drones all the time, a violation of the Minsk agreements that Germany overlooks.
The JFO also reported that on October 27th, Russian-backed troops fired at the village of Tr’ohizbenki. As a result, 5 local residents’ homes were damaged, a private garage was destroyed, one and a half acres of dry vegetation was burned, and a power line was damaged, leaving 200 residents without electricity.
A renewed buildup of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine – reminiscent of the Russian troop buildup in April of this year – has raised concerns in the US and Europe, with officials speaking on the condition of anonymity describing the “irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank” to the Washington Post. It is unclear what the Russian forces are doing, as the troop movement is not part of a training exercise, but videos show Russian military trains and convoys moving large quantities of equipment such as missiles and tanks in southern and western Russia. Ukrainian officials estimate 80,000 to 90,000 Russian troops to be deployed around the Ukrainian border.