Monday, February 20th, the new ceasefire agreement is in full swing across the front line of Ukraine, but is it going to hold up?
I was in one of the front-line villages in last few days, and the Russian-backed rebels have dropped everything on them from AGS (Automatic grenade launcher), 82mm mortars, 120mm mortars to Grad rockets. It was 7 am Monday morning as the sun was coming up on this ghostly village. This place has been totally destroyed. Not a building intact, everywhere you look: bullet holes scar the buildings, walls, cars, shrapnel litters the road, and mortar tails embedded in the roads. With only a handful of Ukrainian soldiers holding the village, it was quiet, too quiet for my liking. But that would not last for long. At around 3 pm multiple bangs rock through the empty village, followed by small arms whizzing around.
The rebels have been backed out of the village, they lay in trenches just outside of the town; 700m away from the Ukrainian positions and some remote farm building. They can’t help but engage the Ukrainians and this works both ways. It’s not long before Ukrainians return fire and let them know the fight is still on. One of the biggest disadvantages for the Ukrainian soldiers is that they are being monitored. The SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) is positioned in the rear lines of the town making sure they keep the peace or try their best too. On the top of this, the OSCE (Unarmed civilian monitoring service) is never too far away, but there is no one to monitor the Russian-backed rebels. Try and figure that one out.