As of March 30th, Russia has deployed up to 28 battalion tactical groups to Crimea and Krasnodar, with up to 25 more allegedly on the way, according to Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Homchak.

He also said that Ukrainian formations were position in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast and in the Crimean direction.

Social media is filled with videos showing the movement of Russia’s heavy equipment towards Crimea and Krasnodar.

Escalation in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea appears inevitable, at this point.

On March 29th, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a draft of so-called resolution on the situation in Donbass.

It is for the first time that the Parliament in Kiev adopted a document, which says that the war in Eastern Ukraine is a Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict. Previously, the phrase “aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine” was used in Kiev’s official documents. Today, the war in Donbass was designated as an international armed conflict – war.

Separately, Ukrainian diplomats have raised the alarm this week over news of Russian plans to hold Ukraine peace talks without Ukraine’s participation. Allegedly, Moscow aims to bypass Kiev and reach agreement directly with the West over Ukraine’s geopolitical future.

Speaking in Moscow on March 29, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed to reporters that preparations were currently underway for a video conference between Russian President Vladimir Putin and fellow Normandy Format leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, with the conflict in Ukraine set to feature prominently on the trilateral agenda.

Peskov stated that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyywould not be invited to join the talks.

“We continue coordination with Berlin and Paris,” the Kremlin spokesman noted when asked whether it was planned to hold such an event and when it could take place.

“When there are specific results, we will inform you,” he assured.

At the same time, Peskov stressed that the video conference was not being prepared as a Normandy Four summit, adding that it was planned to discuss a number of other issues as well.

When asked why the list of the participants did not include Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Peskov said, “Because the issue at hand is not a Normandy Four event. There are many others issues for discussion. This is not the Normandy Four.”

The Kremlin spokesman agreed that it was impossible to hold such a summit without discussing the situation in Donbass. “Of course, the issue will be on the agenda in one way or another, but this is not the only issue,” he said.

He declined to comment on other issues that the leaders could discuss. “I would refrain from making any announcements right now. When everything is finally clear regarding the time of the meeting, we will let you know,” Peskov concluded.

Observers expect that a potential date for hostilities in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea would be between April 15th and 25th, when there is less humidity, and the roads are easier to navigate.

At the same time, on April 18-22, Turkey is holding a Loyal Bonus I 21 NATO Ground forces command exercise, playing out an Article 5 defense of an invaded ally.

Turkey’s interests are suffering in Greater Idlib, and it is not unlikely that Kiev and Ankara would, at least partially, coordinate their operations, so that they can attempt and strain Russia on two fronts.

Whether that will actually happen – time will tell.

No More Obstacles For War In Ukraine. Russia Deploys Troops In Crimea

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  • On March 30, artillery of the UAF targeted DPR positions near Mineralnoye
  • On March 30, artillery of the UAF targeted DPR positions near Krasnyi
  • On March 30, artillery of the DPR forces targeted UAF positions near Avdiyivka
  • On March 30, artillery of the DPR forces targeted UAF positions near Pisky
  • Russia deployed 28 battalion tactical groups in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, according to Ruslan Khomchak, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
  • Ukraine deployed its own units and heavy equipment in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast, as well as in the Crimea Direction