"We'll face certain escalation of the conflict until the end of the year. Why? Because the number of pro-Russian mercenaries currently deployed in the Donbas is immense. All these people must be somehow provisioned, they need to be paid some allowances, they need to be provided with food, fuel, ammunition, and so on. That is a significant load upon the economy of the country, even such as Russia," the General Staff representative said.
He added that Russia had no intention to withdraw militants back to its territory "while there was actually the rag tag, which had been undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation at the time." "Unfortunately, these people do not understand it," he said.
According to Mazepa, trying to escalate the situation in the Donbas, the Russian Federation will reduce the number of mercenaries there in a certain way. "Basically, I believe that the conflict in the Donbas will pass its active phase this fall and will gradually subside," he added.