By Roman Burko
Due to objective reasons, we were forced to make an operational pause in posting information and analytical materials regarding the course of “Anti-Terrorist Operation in Donbas.” Beginning August 21, we started referring to things as they are, namely: TERRORIST WAR OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AGAINST UKRAINE.
We believe that, after a week of radio silence from our end, those who found our summaries and projections way too skeptical and improbable have become far less ardent. The likelihood of a strike in the direction of Mariupol; the accumulation of heavy machinery by Russian fighters in order to breakthrough along the key directions outlined in our previous materials; and the entrapment of Ukrainian troops as a result of either malicious or unintentional disregard of the need to bring up reinforcement (of course, assuming such a possibility existed) – all of this was mentioned in our publications on multiple occasions over the past month. This ship has sailed, as the saying goes, and there is no need to stir up the past. As is traditional, the relevant authoritative individuals should busy themselves with rewarding those who were not involved and condemning those who are innocent.
Also, in order to avoid any rumors and allegations that, by marking both parties to the conflict on situation maps, we get in the way of Ukrainian troops’ “covert” fight against the enemy, we have decided, as an experiment, to mark in red on the map only the enemy’s position, along with his projected strikes and maneuvers. This is certainly a serious drawback to visualization, but one can go to great lengths for the Motherland’s good. If only this would help, since the tendency to classify everything and to keep quiet about the actions of incompetent officials is starting to resemble the Soviet approach, where you classify everything that was messed up and eliminate any witnesses. But let’s put the lyrics aside. We won’t be criticizing or scolding anyone, nor will we blaming anything on the foolishness/treachery/obtuseness by certain individuals of responsibility. This turned out to be ineffective and, unfortunately, leads to no positive results. We also leave open the possibility that, perhaps, we are unable to observe all of the cause-and-effect relationships from our end. We will therefore try to optimize our work, to preserve its relevance and interest for our readers. Keep your powder dry. Glory to Ukraine!
The course of military operations
A number of stereotypes have fallen to pieces since our last summary. Those who claimed that Putin will not be openly invading Ukraine, but will instead continue sponsoring Donbas terrorists, while the ATO forces will continue slowly pushing the insurgents out and encircling them, had come head to head with yet another fatal error. Exactly as stated in our previous attempted warnings, the enemy started carrying out his plans for a full-scale operation in the south of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. In doing so, the Russian insurgents managed to introduce significant forces through a Marynivka border checkpoint (Luhansk oblast) and to let them pass south along the border to the town of Markivka, near Novoazovsk. What followed was a direct outcome of a clearly planned operation by the Main Intelligence Department of the General Staff of the Russian Federation.
Following several days of fighting, the Ukrainian forces withdrew from the town of Novoazovsk. Troops were diverted in the direction of Mariupol. Mariupol is now getting ready for defense. Volunteers monitoring the enemy’s Zello radio channels inform that there are now reports of Russian diversionary reconnaissance groups (DRG) stationed in Mariupol itself, and that these will attempt to destabilize the internal situation within the city in a synchronized manner in the event of an external assault by the enemy’s principal forces. Reports are coming in about the shelling of the M14 route and the ingress of the Russian troops towards Yalta (marked as DRG actions on the map). It is possible that the enemy will soon bring up additional reinforcement into this area.
Such a breakthrough in the southern direction has enabled the Russians to completely cut off the Amvrosiivka and the Starobesheve groupings of the ATO forces, which resulted in two pockets (both marked on the map symbolically, to avoid revealing the exact position). The latest reports indicate that our troops are trying to break out from the Starobesheve entrapment. As for the Amvrosiivka pocket, it is located in the deep rear of the enemy’s forces, and we hope it will be possible to resolve the situation favorably for the guys that remain there. Strikes on Volnovakha are expected in the nearest future. Incidentally, it turns out that a recent report of intercepted information on the Russian troops’ planned strikes in the areas of Kurakhovo, Fashiivka, etc. was not disinformation at all; this can already be regarded as an accomplished fact.
The Lutuhyne grouping of the forces failed to accomplish its mission without supplies. It will probably return to the main forces. As for the Luhansk airport, our troops were forced to retreat in the afternoon; thankfully, there were no casualties. Consideration should now be given to the destruction of the runway; otherwise, the airport could become a base for the enemy’s aviation, which is unacceptable. This is especially so in light of a recent report of the Russian aviation’s airstrike against the ATO positions in the area of Shchastia. Additionally, taking into account the accumulation of the enemy’s major attack forces in that area, the loss of Shchastia will open up the way to Novoaidar for Russian troops, and from there – to Starobilsk…
Debaltsevo has also come under a real threat, due to the ATO forces being pushed out from the southern districts, as well as due to the ongoing attempts to take over the Donetsk airport. In the event of it being seized, we could expect the movement of the enemy’s forces from Horlivka in the direction of the village of Myronivskyi and from the direction of Pervomaisk-Stakhanov-Brianka. This could result in yet another entrapment and the rapid seizure of Artemivsk. As far as the Lysychansk-Rubizhne-Severodonetsk triangle is concerned, the Russian insurgents won’t be in any rush there…
As described, the situation plainly demonstrates that we are almost fully transitioning from the elements of an anti-terrorist operation to an open positional war. This calls for a change in the operation’s command, since it shifts from an ATO into a military realm entirely; thus, the fronts should be under the command of experienced military specialists.
I realize that the news are far from rosy. Of course, there are instances of heroism, as well as of successful destruction of enemy machinery and weapons of the Russian aggressors. However, we are considering global changes, a shifting front line, and completed – as well as projected – strikes by the enemy. It is impossible to cover all of the directions, but the key is to avoid getting depressed; this is the last thing we would expect of our friends and readers. It is also crucial to make efforts, to the extent of one’s abilities, towards our common victory – while preserving complete confidence and faith in our common cause. The role that you take on in this struggle is irrelevant; everyone chooses the burden of responsibility that he/she is capable of carrying. The key is to remember that any, even at first seemingly minor, work could become that very drop that will finally wear away the heavy stone of the common misfortune that befall our Ukrainian land. After all, there’s no coincidence behind the theory that even a butterfly flapping its wing could cause a typhoon at the opposite end of the world…Source: informnapalm.org, translated by Olga Ruda, edited by Alya Shandra