Donbass Situation Report, July 27, 2014
Original: Colonel Cassad LiveJounal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov
Briefing about the situations at the front in the DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] and the LPR [Lugansk People’s Republic] as July 27, 2014.
The situation near Lugansk remains stable. The frontlines to the north of the city have stabilized, and the offensive there has petered off. The attempts to punch through a corridor to the airport through Aleksandrovka have fallen through, and here the enemy is engaged in regrouping its forces. Fighting has gradually been reduced to systematic artillery shelling and the activities of the enemy’s saboteur groups that seep into Lugansk, and which the Militia engages commensurately with their available forces. The intensity of airstrikes has declined due to the enemy’s losses and the strengthening of the Militia’s air defences.
Battles in the area of the Lugansk airport and to the southwest of the city also show a tendency toward becoming positional in nature. Due to a lack of forces, the sides have been unable to achieve any significant advancement. The frontlines have also stabilized in the area of Lutugino, where the Militia has been able to isolate a breakthrough by the enemy armoured forces.
The hole on the border is now confidently controlled by the Militia, and the Junta has lost the ability to undertake a serious offensive to close it off. Control over Izvarino and Krasnodon ensures guaranteed deliveries of cargo at least as far as Lugansk.
In the area of Alchevsk and Stakhanov, the Militia, having retreated from the Lisichansk Protrusion, continues to fortify its positions, waiting for the Junta to regroup, pull up its artillery and undertake an offensive with the forces that it will have been able to concentrate there.
In general, the situation, even if not rosy, is quite stable – as a result of a month of offensive actions on the territory of LPR, the enemy can only claim the severance of the Lisichansk Protrusion to its credit.
The operational situation in the southern cauldron has not changed. The Junta grouping, composed of the remnants of the three brigades [the 27th, the 72nd and the 29th], continues to remain there, suffering considerable losses from the Militia’s fire. The last thread near the “Marinovka” border-crossing checkpoint had been cut off yesterday.
All of Poroshenko’s claims that the encircled forces are being supplied with food and ammunitions are simply a bunch of common lies; their supply can only be effected via air, and even then – with great risk to the aircraft airdropping cargo on parachutes. Understandably, there is no talk about supplying the troops with ammunition and fuel for the armoured vehicles. Essentially, the grouping now represents a mass of infantry with the still-battle-worthy tanks and BMP dug in. There is also clear ammunition famine for the cannon and the rocket artillery.
In general, conditions continue to worsen for the surrounded troops, with a part of the soldiers running away and fleeing to Russia. In the occupied Ukraine this has been fueling a public hysteria. Only the lack of forces is preventing the Militia from delivering the Junta troops from their torment.
In the area of Saur-Mogila and Amvorsievka, the frontlines have long had all the characteristics of positional fighting, with activity being demonstrated through artillery strikes and actions of Saboteur-Reconnaissance Groups (“SRG”). The dominant position of Saur-Mogila and the constant shelling of Amvrosievka are preventing the Junta from gathering with impunity its forces for a de-blockading attack aimed at relieving the southern grouping. All the latest successes of the Junta in this area are connected exclusively with the actions of its SRGs.
The road to Donetsk through Antratsit and Torez is firmly controlled by the Militia. In the event that control over the highway passing through Debaltsevo is lost, it the Antratsit/Torez road that will become the key transportation artery of the DPR until the time when the southern grouping is finished off and supply channels through the border-crossing checkpoints in the south of the DPR are established.
In the area of Debaltsevo, the Junta continues to conduct massive attacks aimed at taking control of this major transportation junction that has strategic importance. Yesterday evening the Junta reported taking over Debaltsevo, when, in reality, it simply entered the city under cover of massive artillery shelling, following which heavy street battles began there, leading to large losses on both sides. This morning, the fighting in Debaltsevo continued.
The loss of Debaltsevo will seriously complicate the situation in the DPR, which effectively will be left hanging by one supply thread. We should expect the Militia to redeploy its reserves for a counterattack. Essentially, the section between Gorlovka and Alchevsk is the only part of the front where the Junta firmly maintains the initiative and is conducting large scale offensive actions with decisive goals. On most of the remaining sections of the front of the DPR and the LPR, the offensive that began on July 1, 2014 has come to a halt or become mired in a positional front.
The enemy’s advancement toward Debaltsevo has led to Gorlovka becoming partially encircled from the northeastern direction, with the city ending up operationally surrounded due to a number of the roads being cut off by enemy SRGs and the infiltrating mechanized infantry. The main forces of the Militia have been pushed pack into the city and are preparaing for street battles.
In Donetsk itself, the Junta offensive is bogged down on the outskirts of the city. Heavy fighting in the area of the Peski settlement has led to an full stop of the direct offensive against the city. The Junta was forced to adopt the “Slavyansk” tactics, comprised of massive artillery shelling of residential districts followed by a slow advance with tanks protected by weak infantry cover. The crisis of the first days of the assault on Donetsk (when the Miltia was practically forced into the urban areas) at this time has been overcome, and the Militia is preparing for new battles in the suburbs.
In the general, the situation here remains very difficult. In the event Debaltsevo is lost and Gorlovka is completely encircled, Donetsk will end up semi-surrounded, which, given the enemy’s overall superiority in numbers, will create additional opportunities for the Junta to conduct strikes using the internal communications network that spreads from Debaltsevo into the interiors of the DPR and the LPR.
When we will be tallying up the results of the offensive that began on July 1, 2014, the key for evaluating it will be the outcomes of the battles for Gorlovka, Debaltsevo and in the Southern Cauldron.
According to the information from our person in Donetsk:
As of yesterday, everything was fine with Strelkov personally. Both he and his assistant used to write on the well-known forum. The reasons for the cessation of these briefings are military in nature.
Questions again arose with respect to Khodakovskiy (and to him) following his interview to Reuters, where he blurted something about “BUKs” in LPR.
Our person (he no longer just wields a camera, but now also carries an automatic rifle) has informed us that, during a raid with a Militia SRG into the enemy’s rear, one of the Militia groups from Battalion Vostok prevented them from destroying the positions of one of the enemy mortar batteries. No explanations were provided – they made their objections clear with weapons. There is also information that a group of Vostok militiamen, as well as some Cossacks, has been dealing in racketeering in Donetsk instead of fighting the war. These matters now are being dealt with and investigated at the level of Borodai-Atjunfeev.
Apart from uniforms and equipment and light arms, militiamen also complain that they lack artillery and MLRS, most of which is concentrated in LPR and on the borders of the Southern Cauldron. There are few artillery systems near Gorlovka, Debaltsevo, Alchevsk, and Stakhanov, and, as a result, it has been very difficult to repel the attacks by the numerically superior Junta forces. Nevertheless, and despite the difficult situation, the morale of the visited units is quite high.
Overall, the military construction is gaining momentum, while state building is still lagging. Part of the necessary organizational structures still exist mostly as virtual constructs.