“There has been no suspension of the ATO in connection to the threat of invasion by Russia’s armed forces,” Mr. Avakov said, apparently responding to local news reports saying the operation had been called off because of the “heightened risk” of a Russian invasion. “The ATO goes on. The terrorists should be on their guard around the clock. Civilians have nothing to fear.”
Despite the minister’s warning, there have been no reports of renewed conflict since Ukrainian forces moved briefly against pro-Russian positions on Thursday in what Mr. Avakov, apparently playing down the action, described on Friday as an operation by “insignificant” government forces that had deployed “without the use of tanks or other heavy armor.”
Russia has repeatedly denied having a hand in the unrest convulsing eastern Ukraine or any intention to invade. But an announcement on Thursday by Moscow that it would immediately start military maneuvers along the border with Ukraine, and a threat by Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, of unspecified consequences for Ukraine as a result of what he called a “serious crime,” signaled a combustible new phase in a geopolitical struggle set off by the overthrow of Ukraine’s government in February.
Ukraine had a hard time holding itself together and couldn’t manage semi-decent governance, even when Moscow wasn’t applying constant pressure.
Somewhere in Moscow, Putin is playing a Russian cover of Average White Band’s “Pick Up The Pieces.”