Friday, June 20, 2014

Ukraine SITREP June 20th, 13:30 UTC/Zulu: Slaviansk encircled

Combat SITREP by Juan:

I can not tell all details of our operations in Novorossiya. Operation security is practiced. Our situation is not desperate but is very difficult and fluid. We will win, then we will rebuild what Ukraine has destroyed. We are paying the price of freedom with the blood of our soldiers and civilians. The price is heavy.

1. Strong fighting areas of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk City outer areas and Lugansk outer areas. 

2. 100% confirmed reports of detention camps in areas west of Novorossiya. Evacuees going west by train and vehicle are being stopped by units of right sector. Many are taken to these camps. Women and children are interrogated and usually released, some are held for further interrogation. No food or water is provided to the children or women. Men 16 to 50 years are locked in cells and interrogated by right sector and SBU. Evacuees released have all money and valuables taken and often documents, then are released on to roads. Local residents near camps terrified, will not speak or help released evacuees.

3. Tactics of Ukr Army are from Soviet book 1944. Storm of artillery fire including Grad and Hurricane missile salvos followed by mass attacks of tanks and armored vehicles towards the objective. Close air support for Ukes is expensive but sometimes effective. The tactic is to destroy Novorossiya Army by attrition. Ukr Army cares not for their casualties. Their losses in tanks and BTR's are quickly replaced. We have no replacements for our few tanks and BTR's. 

4. Confirmed reports of more Ukr helicopters in white UN colour, some marked 'UN'. 

5. Confirmed reports of aircraft reinforcements and crews sent to Ukr forces from Poland and FRG. Polish crews are confirmed flying combat missions, voices speaking Polish heard on tactical radio.

6. Il 76 shoot down area in Lugansk searched by Novorossiya forces morning after. Ukr forces had secured sight and removed all bodies and documents at night. Novorossiya forces found many Ukr had missed at sight after day came. Many identification documents were Polish, one FRG. Confirmed.

7. Situation in Kramatorsk is critical. No water, little food. Electric in some areas returned last night, then off again. Bombardment continues. Many civilians have run from the city.

8. Ukr Army is slowly surrounding Lugansk city and Donetsk city. Outlying towns and villages are coming under more intense bombardment by arty, air and missile salvos. Civilian areas targeted.

9. Idar Battalion right sector ambushed yesterday and destroyed by Novorossiya forces. Prisoners taken, some vehicles captured. 'Battalion' should be called Rota, not enough men to be battalion. Now should be called 'section'.  

10. Ukr Army moving strong units east to border Novorossiya/Russia.Attempt will be made to stop refugees running to Russia.

11. Confirmed over 100 civilians killed in Mariupol by right sector action under Lyashko early this week. Novorossiya Army casualties unknown. Two sections of right sector ambushed in Mariupol at the close of the operation as they retreated. Wiped out, no mercy.

12. Many thousands of refugees from the fighting have arrived in Rostov area, Russia, some to Krimu. Russia and Russia civilians are helping the refugees. No refugee is hungry, all have some kind of shelter. 

13. Unconfirmed but reliable report of two mass graves found outside Mariupol containing men,  women, two children all stripped and shot, some with hands tied. 

14. Intense bombardment of Slavyansk and outlying areas from Karachun Mountain Ukr forces started 05:30 today. Grad and Hurrican missile salvos with arty. 

15. Unconfirmed report of small bus with evacuees fired on, tyres shot out, burned Kherson Oblast, exact location or destination unknown, casualties unknown. 

16. Red Limahn has been taken again by Novorossiya. Small right sector units are fighting as they retreat. Most civilians not there. 

SITREP by the Saker.

Poroshenko's "peace plan" has been leaked.  This plan contains the following points:

  1. Security guarantees for the negotiators
  2. Amnesty for those who surrender weapons and did not commit serious crimes
  3. Liberation of hostages
  4. Creation of a 10km buffer zone between Russia and the Ukraine and withdrawal of illegal armed formations
  5. Safe passage through corridor for Russian and Ukrainian mercenaries
  6. Disarmament
  7. Creation in the Ministry of Internal Affairs for special joint patrols
  8. Liberation of the illegally occupied administrative buildings in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions
  9. Resumption of the work of the local authorities
  10. Resumption of the broadcasting of the central TV and radio programs in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions
  11. Decentralization (by the election of local executive committees, defense of the Russian language - the planned amendment of the Constitution)
  12. Agreement on the nomination of governors with the representatives of the Donbass (if an agreement is found, a single candidate, in case of disagreement the President will decide)
  13. Early local and parliamentary elections
  14. A program to create local workplaces
In the meantime it has been confirmed that the city of Slaviansk has now been surrounded by junta forces.

Russian forces have been moved back to the border as a way to "increase security".


The Poroshenko peace plan is anything but a peace plan.  Basically, this plans foresees an unconditional surrender of Novorossia.  My personal conclusion is that this peace plans was drafted with the double purpose of declaring that a peace plan was on the table and to make sure that it would not be accepted by the Novorossians.  One could argue that this is just an initial plan and that it could be amended through negotiations.  However, this is also not the case because any serious peace plan would have to begin with an immediate and complete secession of all combat operations whereas Poroshenko only mentions "disarmament" and you can be absolutely certain that this is not a reference to his death squads.  Also, the liberation of the "illegally occupied" buildings means that the Ukie SBU and death squads would regain access to their buildings in the center of the Novorussian cities.  The bottom line is simple: Kiev is still hell-bent on a complete military victory and a total and unconditional surrender of Novorossia.

In the meantime the pressure on Putin to intervene is huge and the recent move of Russian forces to the border could be part of a Kremlin effort to show that "we are doing something".  If so, this is a case of too little too late as both Slaviansk and Kramatorsk are in real danger to be overrun.

While I personally believe that Strelkov has a record of exaggerating in order to get attention, and while it is one thing to encircle a city and quite another to enter it and take control of it, it is undeniable that the Ukies have moved huge forces around Slaviansk and Kramatrosk and that the fall of these cities is now only a matter of time: water, electricity and medicine supplies have been cut, food supplies are probably decreasing (no refrigeration), the sanitation/sewage situation is probably becoming critical (no electricity), and the constant bombing and shelling is creating a massive stress problem which the fighters and civilians cannot endure forever.

Furthermore, if Slaviansk and/or Kramatork fall to the Ukies - with all the atrocities and horrors their death squads will then commit - there will be a violent and very angry backlash at the Kremlin and at Putin personally.  I believe that Putin fully understands that and that therefore a Russian intervention is inevitable.  In purely pragmatic terms, the fall of Slavniask and Kramatorks is nowhere nearly as important as the continual resistance of Donetsk and Luganks, but in symbolic and psychological term this would deal a huge blow to the resistance of the people of Novorossia.

Again, we have a situation in which Poroshenko or, should I say, Poroshenko's puppeteers in Washington, are absolutely determined to achieve either one of the following goals:

1) To extend Banderastan all the way to the Russian border
2) To force Russia to openly intervene militarily in the Donbass

This is a winning strategy because Kiev has the means to achieve at least one of these goals and Putin does not have a third option.  The Kremlin's preferred solution - to have Novorossia successfully resist the Ukie aggression - does not seem to be achievable, at least not if the Kremlin does not take dramatic action to change the dynamic on the ground.
The Saker