Today, Denis Pushilin, the head of the DNR, held a press conference today.  To my knowledge, there is no English language transcript (so far, if there is one, please send it to me!).  I have not yet had the time to listen to the full thing (3 hours long), but the key moment, as reported by the Russian media, is that Pushilin said that in case of Ukronazi attack the LDNR forces will launch a counter-offensive the Ukraine and that the Ukraine will face a powerful counter-attack and that the LDNR forces will not stop at the current line of contact.

While it is true that the LDNR forces have dramatically changed since 2014 and that they are now organized into units which, in theory, could execute a combined arms counter-attack into the operational depth of the Ukronazi forces, I do not believe that they could do that without Russian support.  I know, some will say that I underestimate the quality and determination of the LDNR forces, to which I would reply that to underestimate the sheer firepower of the Urkonazi forces or the quality and size of their defensive fortifications is also not very smart.

If/when the Ukies attack, their most likely objective will be to pin down DNR forces by an attack on the city of Donetsk, but I don’t believe that their forces will actually try to enter deeply the city.  The attack on Donetsk should be seen here as a distracting maneuver.  The main objective of the main/real attack will be to cut off the LDNR territory by bypassing cities and rushing to the Russian border (either in the south, or the center or both).  They already tried something similar in 2014 (and almost succeeded!).  Keep in mind that the LDNR forces have no strategic depth and cannot trade space for time.

The good news, however, is that Russia can, and will, open up on these forces with much of her firepower and simply obliterate them while also attacking all the command and control centers of the Ukie operation.  If that happens, then the LDNR forces could, indeed, counter-attack and, at the very least, fully liberate the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.  LDNR forces might also attack Mariupol again because, unlike what happened in 2014, the LDNR forces will not be threatened by a Ukie envelopment from the north.  I also believe that the urban assault capabilities of the LDNR are much stronger than what they were in 2014 (when the LDNR forces were still mostly a poorly organized militia of volunteers only capable of small, if very effective, engagements).

If that happens, then it will be for the LDNR command, in very close and intensive cooperation with Russian forces, to decide how far to go.  The notion of a collapse of the entire Ukrainian front would become a real possibility.

Okay, I am going to listen to Pushilin now and if there is something important said, I will report it here, either later today or, more likely, tomorrow.

Kind regards

The Saker

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