Russell Bentley is an American soldier and war correspondent in Donetsk (eastern Ukraine) and has been there since December 2014 as a soldier in the Novorussian Army, serving with the Essence Of Time combat unit in Vostok as well as with the XAH Battalions.

Donetsk is a city located in eastern Ukraine.

It’s an important industrial and cultural centre in the region. However, it has also been in the media because of a conflict that started in 2014 when the Russians in the region wanted to have closer ties with Russia due to the Ukrainian government making their lives miserable and even killing them.

Since the conflict began, Donetsk has been divided into different parts.

One part is controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (supported by Russia). The other part remains under the control of the Ukrainian government.

In 2014, an armed conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine following the installation of a new government by the Obama administration and US Congress members, which was obiously a coup.

The Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Donbas responded to this US-backed coup by holding referendums on secession from Ukraine. The majority of voters in Luhansk and Donetsk supported the creation of two independent republics in eastern Ukraine. Moscow regarded the vote as a reflection of the people’s will, but the European Union (EU) deemed it illegal and illegitimate.

The situation quickly escalated into a violent conflict between the Ukrainian military and separatist forces supported by Russia.

During the period from 2014 to 2022, the war in Donbas took the lives of around 14,000 individuals, displacing millions and transforming the conflict zone into one of the most heavily mined areas globally.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been present in Donbas since the onset of the conflict, serving as the sole international civilian observer mission authorised to gather information from both sides of the contact line.

The OSCE observers provide daily reports with maps showing ceasefire violations and explosions along the contact line between the Ukrainian military and the Donbas republics. These maps indicate that Ukraine initiated artillery strikes against Donetsk and Luhansk on 16 February 2022, preceding Russia’s military operation announcement by nine days.

The number of documented explosions rocketed significantly from 76 (15 February) to 1,413 (18 February). The majority of the explosions occurred on the side of the Russian separatists.

Former NATO intelligence analyst Jacques Baud highlighted the OSCE reports, stating that on 17 February, Joe Biden predicted Russia’s forthcoming attack on Ukraine.

How did he know?

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