The conflict in Ukraine has continued to escalate despite an attempt at a ceasefire. Both sides rarely observe a complete ceasefire and small arms engagements and mortar strikes are very frequent.

The violent start to the year has put Ukraine and Russia on track for continued clashes over the regularly contested Donbass region. In the past 48 hours, there have been a reported 15-20 incidents that have taken place on the front lines of the conflict zone. Troops on both sides appear to be preparing for a large-scale assault. There have been reports that the Ukrainian military has held an extensive training exercise close to the front line, reinforcing that presumption.

Officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have recently posted footage showing Ukrainian forces destroying infantry fighting vehicles belonging to Russian-backed militants in the Donbass region. The footage shows four strikes on the Russian-loyalist-controlled village of Svitlodarska Duha bulge. The Ukrainian forces utilized an analog version of the Javelin man-portable anti-tank missile to destroy the targets. Just days before this precision strike, Ukrainian reconnaissance units had been observing enemy movements and recorded a notable buildup in military equipment. This confirmed the need for a strike to curb the movement of heavy military fighting vehicles in the area.

This follows more than 10 attacks made within two days by Russian hybrid forces against Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian media outlets have reported at least five Ukrainian soldiers wounded in action and one killed. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation Center (JFO) commented on their Facebook page that Russian-backed forces mounted a fierce attack against Ukrainian positions using 120mm mortars, 82mm mortars, and a host of small arms.

With the Ukrainian elections just around the corner, the eyes of the world are watching the Ukrainian government and their actions in relation to the Donbass situation. The immediate recapture of the Donbass region and a conclusive end to the frozen conflict should be at the top of the government’s list of priorities.

Is there to be an end to this seemingly eternal conflict? That will depend solely on the new government, should there be one. The only way to decisively end the conflict in eastern Ukraine is for the government forces to recapture the region and its borders. Without this, the war will undoubtedly rage on for many years to come, continuing to produce numerous casualties and destabilizing the region.

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