|Debaltsevo AO as of Tue Feb 17 2010 GMT
Amazingly, the freaks in Kiev as still insisting that there is no cauldron but only a "bridgehead". The good news is that apparently nobody buys that nonsense any more and the mothers and wifes of the men caught in the cauldron are trying everything they can to force the Ukie high command to accept the Novorussian offer of an evacuation corridor. The try to protest in front of the General Staff building in Kiev, then the blocked traffic. In a particularly poignant moment one of these women put a megaphone next to a cellphone to amplify the voice of her son/husband calling from the cauldron and announcing that they had for about 3 hours of supplies left.
All this is truly catastrophic news for the junta in Kiev. First, their policy of denying the issue made it impossible for their forces to get out while it was still possible. According to Russian military experts, about half of all the (comparatively) combat capable units of the Ukrainian military have been surrounded in this cauldron and that means that 50% of the Ukrainian army is now gone. Second, while Poroshenko and the junta freaks tried as hard as they could to completely deny the very existence of the cauldron, thanks to the Internet and the Russian TV channels most folks in junta-controlled Ukraine know that they are being lied to. That, in turns, means that the regime is loosing the very little credibility it might have had with the general public. Last and not least, now there will be a lot of very ugly recriminations from all sides of the political spectrum about who is guilty for that latest disaster. I would not be surprised one bit if the Ukrainian death-squads (aka Azov battalion & Co.) decided to storm Kiev for two reasons: a) to take out their rage on the regime and b) because it is safer to storm Kiev than Donetsk. Poroshenko better watch his back now. By the way, rumor (unconfirmed!) has it that he already evacuated his family to Germany.
Novorussian intel is reporting that the junta is trying to assemble three battalion tactical groups and numerous MLRS north of the cauldron to try to rescue the surrounded forces, but this will be too little too late. The Novorussians are used to Ukie artillery and they don't fear their armor or, even less so, infantry. Besides, I bet you that now that they are inside Debaltsevo, the Novorussians will deeply dig in. When is the last time that the junta forces succeeded in an urban assault operation? Exactly.
Bottom line: yet another brilliant victory for the Novorussian forces and yet another humiliating defeat for the junta in Kiev.