If you thought Ukraine was in for a better summer than last year, think again. "Vladimir Putin's drip-drip invasion continues" and "a summer offensive is inevitable," write Michael Weiss and James Miller at the Daily Beast. They back up the claim with news from Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko that Russia has 50,000 troops on the border and more than 40,000 separatist fighters in Ukraine for "a combined 50% increase in possible invaders over July of last year." Plus, in less than three months, Ukraine says it has lost 28 towns to Russian-backed separatists. Ukraine has deployed three tanks in government-controlled territory in violation of a ceasefire signed in Minsk, but 30 separatist tanks have also been spotted moving toward the front lines.
Separatists claimed the movement was linked to military parades in honor of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, but the tanks haven't retreated since. There's also "the presence of advanced Russian surface-to-air missile systems near the contact line in blatant violation of the Minsk agreement," a diplomat says. A NATO commander said last month Russia was perhaps using the ceasefire to train and equip separatists and to "reset and reposition" their forces. Others note the separatists appear ready to "launch an all-out offensive against the Ukrainian military on little notice and without direct military assistance," Weiss and Miller write. Meanwhile, Ukraine announced today it has captured two Russian soldiers in Ukraine and plans to prosecute them for "terrorist acts," Reuters reports. Russia denies it has soldiers in the country.