Sunday, August 3, 2014

Aug 1 SITREP from Colonel Cassad & Two Analyses of the Military Situation in Novorossiya and Answers to Important Questions

Hostilities in Novorossiya - Briefings, August 1, 2014

Original: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

Map: Positions of the Factions near Shakhtersk

The end of day on August 1, 2014 saw the Ukrainian army retreat in several areas of the front. Specifically, the Ukrainian military abandoned three border crossing checkpoings at Dolzhanskiy, Izvarino and Chervonopartizansk and retreated from Saur-Mogila, which it unsuccessfully attempted to occupy for several days. This is most likely related to the effective work of the artillery units of the Novorossiya Militia, as well as to the overall significant losses sustained by the Ukrainian army. In its turn, the Ukrainian army made attempts to take control of Krasnogorovka, Yasinovataya and Maryinka, and even, as usual, rushed to report that the assaults were successful. In reality, however, the units of the Ukrainian army that attempted to enter these settlements were repelled and, having sustained losses, retreated.
DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic)

On August 1, 2014, artillery shelling continued in the districts of Donetsk. In the area of the Kalinin mine there was heavy smoke; in the areas of Shirokiy and Kirovskiy explosions could be heard. Heavy self-propelled artillery and howitzers were used in the strikes. Unknown (presumably a Saboteur-Reconnaisance Group (“SRG”) of the Ukrainian side) shot at the “Novorossiya” campaign tent in Donetsk, on Gornaya street, not far from the railway terminal. One volunteer died. On July 31, 2014, as a result of the actions of a Ukrainian SRG, Alexander Prosyolkov, leader of the Eurasian Youth Union of the South Federal District of Russia and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of DPR, was killed.

Map: Positions of the Factions near Donetsk

Starting at about 13:00, the Ukrainian side commenced an offensive on the southwestern outskirts of Donetsk, coming from the side of the settlements of Pobeda and Karlkovka, using approximately forty armoured vehicles. In a sudden attack, the Ukrainian forces were able to take control of the checkpoint to the southwest of Maryinka. Simultaneously, an offensive on Krasnogorovka was also underway. The units of the Milita retreated directly into these settlements. As of 16:30, fighting was ongoing in Maryinka, and no information about losses had been made available. Around lunchtime, the units of the volunteer Ukrainian corps “Praviy Sector”, reinforced with military hardware of the 51st Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, appeared on the approaches to Krasnogorovka atop several armoured vehicles and were met by the militiamen. Having suffered losses in manpower and armoured equipment, the attackers retreated. Control over Krasnogorovka was retained by the Militia.

On the northern outskirts of Donetsk, fighting continues between the Militia and the Ukrainian military. In particular, the Ukrainian military attempted to take control of the northern suburbs of Donetsk – Yasinovataya. Their goal was to cut off Gorlovka from Donetsk. Tank units tried to occupy Yasinovataya, but the attempted assault was repelled.

In the area of the Donetsk airport, controlled by the Ukrainian forces, howitzer fire could be heard.

In the course of today’s artillery shelling by the Ukrainian army, the city of Pervomaisk seriously suffered, with numerous instances of destruction in the residential areas. It appears that the Ukrainian army is preparing a strike on the city, which is occupied by the Militia, from the direction of Popasnaya (to the west) and Lisichansk (to the north), with the intention to advance toward Stakhanov.

In the course of the battles for Shakhters, the 25th Brigade was almost entirely eliminated. It suffered not only large losses in terms manpower (at least 23 dead, while the number of woulded is unknown) and in terms of military hardware (30 armoured vehicles were destroyed, and 2 BMPs were captured), but also lost virtually all the artillery that was in its possession. Also on August 1, 2014, an exchange of prisoners took place – two captured militiamen were exchanged for two captured “paratroopers”. However, while each of the Militia’s prisoners left on his own two feet, the militiamen were returned by the Ukrainian army in very serious condition (it is highly likely that they were subjected to beatings and torture, and it is unclear whether they will survive or not). Following this incident, Strelkov ordered that no officer of the 25th Brigade is be taken prisoner.

It was also reported during the day that a column of Ukrainian tanks was advancing on Shakhtersk; however, after being shelled by the Militia’s artillery, the tanks stopped their advance and began to dig in.

Overall, fighting with the semi-encircled grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces continued in the Shakhtersk-Snezhnoye-Torez region. The remnants of the 25th Aeromobile Brigade, Battalion Dnepr-1 and supply units were ended up being surrounded. In the night of July 31st-August 1st, a battle took place in the settlement of Serditoye, located between the settlement of Zugres and Shakhtersk on the Donetsk-Snezhnoye highway. The Ukrainian military sought to break out of the encirclement with a column of armoured vehicles and infantry and also attempted to destroy the checkpoint of the Militia in the area of the Davidovka village by shelling it, but failed. At this time, the encirclement of the enemy’s grouping from the north is nearing completion.

Map: Positions of the Factions near Shakhtersk

To the south of the settlement of Snezhnoye, the units of the Militia continued conducting artillery strikes on the positions of the enemy in the vicinity of the settlements of Stepanovka, Saurovka, Amvrosievka (up to 5 different armoured vehicles and two stacks of ammunition were destroyed), Blagodatnoye, as well as near Saur-Mogila. Also, as a result of successful artillery shelling, the Militia destroyed an enemy military base near Elenovka, which housed MLRS units, howitzers, an ammunition depot, and enemy personnel. Over 90% of the armaments and personnel was eliminated.

At approximately 14:30 (MSK), near Shakhters, fighters of Motorola’s unit stationed at Checkpoint No. 20 on the Donetsk-Snezhnoye highway shot down a Ukrainian military craft (a Soviet-made Tu-143 “Reis”).

The 34th Kirovograd Battalion, deployed near Gorlovka, on one of the heights, is experiencing a serious lack of military hardware, bulletproof vests and footwear. A tank they have been provided does not have a working night-vision apparatus. Among 30 men they only have 6 bulletproof vests.

In the night of July 31st-August 1st, the units of the 1st Reconnaissance Company attacked an enemy checkpoint near the settlement of Andreevka, to the south of Donetsk. The checkpoint was eliminate. One tank and two BMPs were destroyed.

In the morning of August 1, at approximately 07:00 (MSK), the Ukrainian army conducted an airstrike on the settlement of Nizhnyaya Krynka (DPR), located not far from Khartsyzsk.

After multiple unsuccessful attempts to take control of Saur-Mogila, the Ukrainian army has retreated from this strategic height. Saur-Mogila remains firmly in the hands of the Militia.
LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic)

Uragan MLRS and aerial bombs were used to bombard Lugansk. As a result of artillery shelling, the Ukrainian army destroyed two of the city’s electrical substations. Around midnight, the Ukrainian army conducted yet another mortar-artillery strike on the Yakira district of the city. There are multiple instances of destruction in various areas of Lugansk, including in the Artyomovsk and the Zhovtnevyy districts. The shelling caused several fires in at least eight separate locations. As a result of the shelling by the Ukrainian army High-School No. 4 and the supermarket “Lugan’” were damaged. An exploding shell shattered windowpanes in the building next to High-School No. 4 and damaged the façade of the building. A wall of the supermarket “Lugan’” was destroyed after being hit by a shell.

The numbers of killed and wounded are being confirmed. Lugansk continues to experience interruptions in the supply of electricity. Lighting is available in approximately 1/6th of the city (the regional hospital has electricity).

During the day, information came in that the Ukrainian army had abandoned it positions near the Dolzhanskiy, Izvarino and Chervonopartizansk border crossing checkpoints, located on the border with the Russian Federation. A bit later reports started coming that a battle was taking place in the area of the Dolzhanskiy border crossing checkpoint.

Map: Border Crossing Checkpoints Abandoned by Ukraine

Kiev Continues Actively to Redeploy Additional Forces to Novorossiya

On August 1, at 18:20, a column of Ukrainian vehicles, comprised of at least 18 elements (primarily trucks), was noticed on the road from the Kharkov airport toward Balakleya.

Also on August 1, a column of Ukrainian military hardware passed through Kiev. The column included 8 trucks with infantry, with each vehicle towing a ZU-23-2 antiaircraft unit.

On July 31, at approximately 21:30, a train with 6 transport cars with ammunition arrived at the Braginovka station (in a Dnepropetrovsk region village bearing the same name) from the direction of Pavlograd. The train remained there until 05:00 on August 1, while the ammunition was being unloaded.This is not the first time that train cars with ammunition have arrived in Braginovka (it appears that a transit base with a depot has been established there). The train car numbers were: 24455883, 24537847, 24532863, 24540676, 24542821, and 24626715.

Two columns with six Uragan MLRS each, supply cars, and personnel passed from Zaporozhye to Donetsk. In the area of Mariupol, active movement of the columns of the Ukrainian army with Uragan MLRS was observed. In particular, military hardware was spotted near Berdyansk, coming from the side of Tokmak. The column was comprised of 15 units of military hardware, among which were several Uragan MLRS, ammunition and loading vehicles, a refueling vehicle, as well as one BTR and several transport trucks. And at 13:30, up to 10 ammunition transportation and loading vehicles (presumable 9T452, intended for Uragan MLRS) and two transport trucks passed through the settlement of Osipenko in the Berdyansk area, heading toward Mariupol.

Map: Ukrainian Troop Movements near Mariupol


Over the last three days, in the area of Slavyansk, at night, regular sorties of the Ukrainian air force have been observed, flying from the Chuguev airport toward Donetsk (according to some information, no fewer than 16 flight-worthy aircraft are based there). From approximately 01:00 at night and until 08:00 in the morning, there are at least 10 flights over the city. During the day the flights are less frequent. They pass quite high, and can only be identified by the sound of the jet engines. First, a lighter aircraft passes (possibly a Su plane, perhaps something else – to draw the attention of MANPADS), followed by a heavy propeller aircraft.

At about midnight, coming from Karachun, there were two heavy volleys, separated by three minutes. Their direction is unknown.

Over the past day, 48 wounded fighters from the area of the punitive operation in Novorossiya were delivered to three hospitals in Dnepropetrovsk. Among them were paratroopers that were ambushed by the Militia near Shakhtersk.

Unknown shot the head of the Dokuchaev city policy department, Vasiliy Ryabokon, and a precinct police inspector.

Two Analyses of the Military Situation in Novorossiya and Answers to Important Questions

Brief Overview of the Military Situation, July 30, 2014

Original: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

The Junta offensive has petered out in most areas. The ambitious plans of encirclement of Donetsk and Gorlovka has failed. The Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Valeriy Geletei, has announced that the Junta’s capacity for offensive operations has been exhausted, following which the Junta started to make inquiries in Belarus, with the intention of having Lukashenko act as an intermediary in negotiations. The Junta is in desperate need of a break to continue regrouping and concentrating its forces. In general, while the situation is difficulty, it is clearly leaning in favour of the Militia, which has been able to repel a massive offensive by a regular army on most fronts.

Particularly sensitive was the Junta’s defeat in the areas of Shakhtersk and Saur-Mogila, where even the deployment at the front lines of over 250 armoured vehicles did not achieve in any way appreciable results. Nevertheless, the occupation of the larger part of Debaltsevo has complicated the lines of communication between DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] and LPR {Lugansk People’s Republic] is allowing the danger of encirclement of Donetsk and Gorlovka from the north to persist. While, in view of the defeat near Shakhtersk, there can no longer be talk of a complete encirclement of Donetsk, the Junta, having fortified itself in Debaltsevo, might try to attempt the less ambitious task of encirclement of Gorlovka. The Junta retains sufficient strength to do so, and, in essence, the area of the front between Gorlovka and Alchevsk remains the only one where the Junta is still able to undertake an offensive aimed at achieving serious operational goals. That is why we should not rush in saying that the Junta offensive has completely failed. In the very near term, the battles for Debaltsevo will demonstrate whether the Junta is able to advance any further, or we will gradually see the Junta forces enter a period of serious difficulties.
The Hubris of the Southern Intestine, July 30, 2014

Original: Comment at Yurasumy LiveJournal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

The catastrophe of the “Southern Intestine” did not occur because operational information was leaked. With the availability of means of surveillance from space, reconnaissance drones and mobile telephones the very concept of “military secrecy” has become purely theoretical. Any large redeployment of military hardware, material resources and personnel will be discovered by the enemy in mere minutes, maximum in a few hours.

The death of the Ukrainian troops in the “Southern Intestine” was caused not by errors at the level of strategic planning (from a purely military standpoint no such errors were committed).

This catastrophe was predetermined by the decisions made by at the highest level of the systemic hierarchy – at the level of the basic foundations of the worldview and the overall cultural level of the people that planned the armed forces group operation “Cordon”.

Only Americans, “Yankees”, could put forward an idea of the “boa constrictor encirclement” of the territory of the enemy. No one other than them has this idea embedded in their subconscious. Whereas for Americans, “Yankees”, this idea is inherent at the level of their national self-identification – as a base military-strategic mythologem of modern American statehood, born in the throes of the victory by the North over the South in the American Civil War.

And only Americans could so utterly miss the option of voluntary withdrawal by Strelkov’s Brigade from Slavyansk. And the reason is elementary – their lack, at the level of the subconscious, of centuries of experience of European military history. The option of voluntary surrender to the enemy without battle of their most important stronghold, which, to the very last day, was being pumped full of all sorts of resources, simply did not fit in their head! 

Brief Answers to Important Questions, August 2, 2014

Original: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

What is happening on the northern outskirts of Donetsk? – The enemy has taken Avdeevka and is concentrating its forces for an assault on Yasinovataya; the offensive is expected tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

What is happening with the Southern Cauldron? – According to confirmed information, negotiations with respect to the surrender of a part of the surrounded forces are ongoing at this exact moment. Approximately 1,500 men are ready to surrender; they are asking for passage to the territory of the Junta in exchange for surrendering all their weapons, the remaining ammunition and the surviving military hardware (altogether approximately 60-70 armoured vehicles, most of which are without fuel, including up to 30 tanks, BMPs, BTRs, Grad MLRS, as well as a number of artillery pieces).

What is happening in Lutugino? – The enemy has dug in in the centre of the city and is transferring in reservers from the north of Lugansk in order to create a grouping for further offensive operations to the west of Lugansk. The Militia is concentrating its forces in order to attempt to retake Lutugino.

What is happening in Marinovka? – Having taken Marinovka, the enemy attempted to advance further toward the surrounded grouping of its forces, but failed. Artillery fire complicates the movement of the enemy forces and, despite taking control of Marinovka, it was unable to complete the strategic task of de-blockading the Southern Cauldron.

What is happening near Saur-Mogila? – Saur-Mogila is firmly controlled by the Militia despite being semi-encircled; attempts to conquer the height are being thwarted by the lack of infantry and its low combat qualities. Artillery and tanks are unable, at this time, to compensate for this deficiency.

What is happening in Shakhtersk? – Everything is in order near Shakhtersk, as well as near Torez and Snezhnoye; the 25th “Aero-grave” Paratrooper Brigade that broke through on July 27th sustained large losses in terms of killed, wounded and captured personnel and lost its offensive capabilities. The enemy is unable to transfer its reserves to this area – all the reserves have already been deployed in the area of Marinovka and Saur-Mogila. Accordingly, the enemy will be unable to proceed further here without regrouping its forces.

Will Donetsk be encircled? – Because the assault through Shakhtersk and Debaltsevo failed, the Junta will seek to perform a close encirclement, with the next strike to be performed by the northern grouping. The nearest task is to take control of Yasinovataya, followed by an assault on Enakievo. If this plan is realized, then the situation in Donetsk from the standpoint of lines of communication will become threatening.

What is happening with Vostok? – At this time, there are three different groups of forces operating under the name of Vostok (one of them, instead of fighting, is engaged in racketeering in Donetsk). The name has successfully turned into a brand. In the near future we can expect new draconian orders aimed at the elimination of banditry at the rear lines.

What is happening with Borodai? – For now, Borodai will continue to retain his position; he will return to Donetsk after concluding all the pending business in Moscow and Rostov.

What is happening in Stakhanov and Alchevsk? – Having withdrawn from the Lisichansk Protrusion, Mozgovoi’s group redeployed to their new positions and continues to rattle the enemy with their attacks in the area of Pervomaisk, Popasnaya, and to the north of Debaltsevo. Their main assignment is not to allow the enemy with impunity to entrench itself on the occupied territory (resulting in the control over Pervomaisk and Popasnaya passing back and forth between the warring factions), as well as to draw onto itself a part of the enemy forces to prevent the Ukrainian army from immediately starting an offensive from Debaltsevo deep into the DPR. In essence, their goal is to draw fire.

What is happening with the Lugansk airport? – The airport continues to be blockaded; the enemy’s attempts to break out continue to fail. Daily, the airport is shelled using 3-5 Grad MLRS and several mortars. It is expected that, if the Southern Cauldron is dealt with in the next few days, then at least one battery of D-30 howitzers can be transferred to continue strikes on the airport.

Additional information of interest: a Swedish prosecutor has recognized that what is happening in Ukraine ought to be considered a war, rather than an “anti-terrorist operation”. Details will be made available in the nearest future.