Radio Free Europe: Guns Of August: Fears Of Full-Scale War Return As Casualties Mount In Ukraine
MARYINKA, Ukraine -- Framed by a tiny cutout in the fortified bunker, this particular piece of no-man's land is tinted a blood-reddish orange by the setting summer sun.
It's hot as hell, and it's about to get hotter. When the sun goes down, the guns start blazing. And all that separates the men at their triggers is a grassy patch of land the size of a soccer field that is heavily mined. If you're a Ukrainian soldier here, you don't need binoculars to observe the enemy -- you just look in his direction.
It starts with a single shot from a Kalashnikov: Ziiip. Then another: Ziiip. And three more: Ziiip. Ziiip. Ziiip. Each shot whizzes dangerously closer. In the time it takes to boil an egg, the situation escalates as the rifles are joined by .50-caliber machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades that explode with hollow thuds against the earth or cottages where the soldiers eat and sleep, showering everything with shrapnel. Within an hour, shells from howitzers and tanks -- and eventually surface-to-surface Grad missiles, whose name is Russian for "hail" -- begin pummeling the scarred steppe.
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WNU Editor: For the moment I do not see a full-scale war happening .... but a low intensity conflict .... definitely. But I was told something that sent a chill in me today .... a friend of mine in Kiev with good contacts in the government gave me a heads-up on what he thinks will happen next. If Donald Trump wins the Presidency, there is a perception (rightly or wrongly) that he would push Kiev to negotiate with the rebels and Russia, and to find a compromise. If Hillary Clinton wins the election ... all bets will be off, and both sides will restart the war since Kiev will feel that they will have the backing of a Clinton administration, and the rebels in the east will feel that they have nothing to lose.