Sunday, August 24, 2014

What is, and what is not, happening in Novorussia

As soon as I finished my post about why the Novorussians cannot go on the counter-offensive they did.  Right?

No, no really.  Sorry.  I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, but we have to carefully assess what is going on.  I have listened very carefully to the reports from Novorussia and here is what I think has happened:

From guerrilla to combined-arms:

The Novorussian military command has announced that from purely guerilla-type of operations it has switched to "regular" (combined-arms) military operations.  What does that mean?  Well, in this context it means that instead of the hit-and-run kind of tactics I described yesterday, the Novorussians will go on the offensive in attacks which will include tanks and artillery support.  Officially, the Novorussians have formed at least 2 tank battalions, several artillery battalions,  and they have freed 7 towns (Agronomicheskoe, Novodvorskoe, Osykovo, Novokaternikova, Leninskoe, Stroitel and Novoazovsk) and surrounded six more (Blagodatnoe, Kuteinikovo, Voisovskii, Ulianovskoe, Uspenka, Alekseevskoe).  The southern cauldron been fully reformed, and now includes 5000+ surrounded Ukies including the  Aidar, Donbass and Shakhtersk National Guard battalions).  Finally, the Ukie forces in Ilovaisk are in full retreat.  This is all very good news.  But this is not a strategic counter-offensive the Novorussian suceesfully take Novoazovsk and move towards Mariupol this will be far from over.

For one thing, while it appears that the Ukies were caught off guard, they are far from being down and out yet.  Second, if the Novorussians really make a move along the seashore towards Mariupol, they will risk being surrounded the way the Ukies have been in the "southern cauldron".  Last, but not least, a couple of tank battalions, even supported by artillery, are not the kind of forces that will liberate all of Novorussia.

Don't misunderstand me, what has happened is definitely very good news, but this is not the "counter-offensive to Kiev" some have been expecting.  Still, if the Novorussians are truly successful this time, this could mean that the junta has reached the "breaking point" I have mentioned in my recent post.

Ukie Independence Day celebrations in Kiev and Donetsk

It was a bizzare day today.  While the Nazis were celebrating their (now truly lost) "independence" in Kiev, the Novorussians were parading Ukie POW in the streets of Donetsk and, in a recreation of the German POW parade in Moscow in summer 1944, washing the street after the prisoners.  That kind of parading is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, but against the massive and systematic violation of every concievable norm of civilized behavior by the Nazi junta since the coup which brought them to power, this is a rather modest violation on the Novorussian side.  And the Ukies really deserved it.  It was also a great PR move.  Best of all, it really denied Poroshenko his much expected victory for the 24th.  Instead of taking Luganks, his forces were pushed back, surrounded and paraded as POW.  I can just about imagine his rage :-)

A good day, but not V day (yet)

Bottom line: today has been a great day and I want to congratulate you all with all the good news, but let's not assume that this is the beginning of the end and that the Ukie forces are finished.  It is *possible* that the Ukies are near or at the breaking point, but at this point in time we don't have the elements to conclude this.

The Saker