Escalation in Donbas as Kremlin’s psychological operation

This morning, Donbas invaders attacked the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the settlements of Novotoshkivske, Orikhove, Krymske, and Khutir Vilniy. Ukrainian military suffered losses, but the enemy offensive was ultimately repelled.
Many might ask why launch an attack on Ukrainian defense lines if, in fact, not only did the invaders fail to capture any significant, strategic objects and positions, they also once again showed defiance of any international agreements, while the Minsk accords were also violated as the enemy employed 120 mm mortars and artillery…
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is that the enemy offensive brought even more significance to the upcoming UN Security Council meeting on Donbas, especially in the context of a five-year anniversary of the Minsk 2 package of measures. And, surely enough, today Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations and the UN Security Council Vasily Nebenzya will be talking about some “treacherous” attack of Ukrainian troops on the position of defenseless “Novorossiya”.
But, to be honest, this is only one aspect of the complex, and bloody act that Russia has undertaken this morning.

Today, many experts and political scientists recalled that this “offensive”, by a wild coincidence or not, was launched on the anniversary of the most tragic page in the battles of Debaltseve. But, at the same time, not many paid attention to the fact that on February 18, the most tragic page also began in the history of the Revolution of Dignity when security operatives started indiscriminately shooting the Maidan protesters, while some protesters were being snatched from Kyiv streets and have been missing ever since.
And therefore, it’s not only about the UN Security Council, but also about the symbolism, hypertrophied and painful, which Kremlin leadership has a quirk about in setting up various provocations. And these provocations have very definite objectives.
The thing is that the use of the violent military component in achieving their revanchist ambitions has long ceased to be the prevailing factor for the Kremlin. It’s such tool as pressure and, I’d even say blackmail, at the level of economic and psychological impact on mass audiences that is becoming an increasingly common method and tactic.
Due to such information operations, primarily of a psychological nature, the Kremlin demoralizes a potential adversary. Moreover, it’s not only about the Ukrainian Army in this case, but also Ukrainian society. Besides, such operations catalyze chaotic moods.
It only takes one step from the phase where defeatist sentiments emerge to the one with full scale protests of patriotic masses, outraged by the “inaction of the authorities” and annoying calls for peace. And an additional catalytic effect on such sentiments may well be a certain historical analogy – the Debaltseve tragedy and mass executions on Hrushevskogo Street in Kyiv…
In principle, there’s nothing new about this strategy because it was widely used back in Nazi Germany, but does anyone remember how these informational and psychological operations were unfolding almost a century ago? A poor knowledge of history, or even total obliviousness, allows Russian propaganda effectively manipulating over and over again the moods and expectations of Ukrainian society. Moreover, those efforts were equally successful during Petro Poroshenko’s presidency as they are now, under Volodymyr Zelensky.
And therefore, I’d rather classify the latest “offensive” in Donbas as a psychological operation as part of infowars because amid minimal losses (today’s death toll of enemy forces is nothing for the Kremlin), the Kremlin may achieve a lot, including in the internal Ukrainian bridgehead.

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