Why did the Russian-militant forces attack Krasnohorivka? Latest flare-up in Donbas, explained

One of the rifles abandoned by the militant forces after the battle at Krasnohorivka. Photo: ATO press center

One of the rifles abandoned by the militant forces after the battle at Krasnohorivka. Photo: ATO press center 

Military analysis

The last week in Ukraine was marked by a sudden announcement by the chief of the unrecognized “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”) Aleksandr Zakharchenko on the creation of a new fictional state “Malorossiya,” which he described as a successor state to Ukraine, on 18 July.


There is no need to go into the details of this empty rhetoric. It was followed by a barrage of condemning statements by officials from Ukraine, the OSCE, EU, and the USA. The local blogosphere was abuzz with ridiculous pictures, memes regarding the so-called founding of Malorossiya.

Zakharchenko’s insane proclamations may be laughable, but it’s worth remembering that the Kremlin pulling the shots in Donbas. Behind Zakharchenko’s crazy ideas is always something much bigger and sinister. At least, it is manifest in the escalations at the frontline that followed his similar statements in the past. Zakharchenko’s promise to take Sloviansk, Mariupol, Kramatorsk in mid-February 2015 was followed by Russian-militant forces shelling those towns with Grad and Smerch rockets, causing losses among the civilian population. When “head of DNR” boasted that the militant forces of his “republic” had enough strength and resources to take over all of Donetsk Oblast, we witnessed the bloody fighting at Avdiyivka in the end of January in 2017.

Krasnohorivka: the next hot spot

This time was no different. The small town of Krasnohorivka, a tiny part of the Donetsk agglomeration, became the next hot spot on the Donbas war map. The Ukrainian Army liberated it from the Russian-backed militants in the beginning of August 2014. Since then, it is a constant target for their heavy artillery and sabotage and reconnaissance groups (SRG).

Just two days after Zakharchenko’s announcement, on 20 July, Ukraine suffered 4 soldiers KIA, 1 captured, 7 WIA, despite the “Harvest ceasefire” announced on 24 June. Of them, three soldiers from the 92nd mechanized infantry brigade were killed in a flare-up near Krasnohorivka. The enemy follows a well-known tactic: using the 120 mm mortars and a pair of tanks, weapons prohibited by the Minsk II Agreements, they gave an opportunity for an SRG consisting of 10-15 men to come close to the positions of Ukrainian infantry near Krasnohorivka. The concentrated shelling and the prohibition given to Ukraine’s Armed Forces to use their artillery made repulsing the attack practically impossible. Taking into account the gravity of the situation, the commanding officer made the decision to retreat. Later, when a reinforcement unit came to the rescue, with concerted efforts, the 92nd mechanized infantry brigade regained control over the previously lost positions.

Likely causes for sudden fighting

There are two factors that could explain the escalation near Krasnohorivka. The fighting here needs to be considered in the context of the overall war situation in the Donetsk direction, that is from Kamianka to Slavne. The tactical success of the 72nd brigade at the Avdiyivka Industrial Zone and near Yasyniuvata worsened the situation for the militant forces, making their commanders search for other options on reinforcing their positions.


Krasnohorivka is the position from which it is easiest to deliver flanking blows to Ukraine’s Armed Forces stationed at Nevelske and Pisky and try to obtain footholds for a consecutive splitting attack in the direction of Avdiyivka and Karlivka. This is the first reason why the militants decided to test the waters at this very town.

The second reason is the Kurakhiv power plant, situated just 25 km to the west. This is an important infrastructure object, providing energy not only to the city of Donetsk but, which is more crucial for the Ukrainian government, to some districts of the Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, as well as southern districts of Donetsk oblast, all under Ukraine’s control. The flare-up of fighting in Maryinka, another town between the Kurakhiv power plant and Donetsk, in early June is likely to be connected to the idea of seizing the Kurakhiv power plant, which would allow the self-proclaimed “republic” to either gain more energy independence from Ukraine or to obtain a valuable asset which would allow them to blackmail Kyiv’s authorities to make considerable concessions.

Summing up, it’s worth mentioning that the war in Donbas is still ongoing, it has only changed its nature. The small long-suffering town of Krasnohorivka, as morbid as it sounds, is just another hot spot on Donbas war map where Russian-led militants, without regard for the lives of civilians and flouting international agreements to achieve peace, have been creating chaos. Nobody is able to say for sure where the same may happen next. One thing is clear, war is war, it does not choose its victims.

Editor’s note: the ATO press center reported that in result of the battle at Krasnohorivka, the enemy left behind weapons and medical supplies produced in Russia:

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  • veth
  • Screwdriver

    “The concentrated shelling and the prohibition given to Ukraine’s Armed Forces to use their artillery made repulsing the attack practically impossible”
    Well .. Kiev nazi regime did not hesitate shelling residential areas of DPR
    OSCE reported few shellings on the same days.
    “At 52 Kurortna Street, the SMM saw a destroyed brick and wood structure attached to a house. The SMM also saw a collapsed iron deck, which appeared to be remnants of the roof. The SMM saw a hole in the iron deck. The Mission assessed that the damage had been caused by a 120mm mortar round fired from a south-south-westerly direction”
    So according to this potz ANATOLII SHARA, Kiev regime not really using artillery to “repulsing attack”, BUT instead according to OSCE , shelling residential houses! ” prohibition given to Ukraine’s Armed Forces” is only valid during military clashes, but shellings of residential houses by Ukraine’s Armed Forces are allowed ?

    • Mykola Potytorsky

      blah blah blah

    • svend lykkegaard

      It is alway interesting to read the comments from a Russian teens. They always seen stupid and are funny, stupid, but funny. Mayby, just mayby, you should try to grow up and stop listen to RT, but live in the real world. But of course then you dont get paid. But please make us laugh.

    • Kruton

      Stalin shot his wife in the face,lol!!!

  • zorbatheturk

    RuSSians are scumbuckets.

  • Nikolay Grishakin

    Nazi forces need to be thrown away from Donbass. They are going to be independent countries. Noone will make them come back to ukraine

    • Dirk Smith

      Yes, the Nazi forces are being thrown away from Donbass in Cargo 200 deliveries.

      • veth

        Back to nazzi-Russia

    • veth

      5000 Russian fascist soldiers are killed already in Donbass by Ukraine.

    • veth
    • veth

      Ukraine’s SBU encourages mothers of missing Russian soldiers in Donbas to undergo DNA tests Chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak has called on mothers of Russian soldiers who have gone missing in Donbas to apply for the SBU’s hostage exchange center for DNA tests to determine the whereabouts of their sons, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

      War 11:54, 23 July 2017

      Ukraine’s SBU has a database of 300 unidentified DNA profiles / Photo from newsru.co.il “It is in the interests of the Russians themselves to stop, as they say, the ‘traffic of zinc coffins with Russian fighters’ coming from the territory of Donbas. According to intelligence information, several thousand Russian servicemen and mercenaries have already been killed in Ukrainian territory,” Hrytsak said at a briefing in Kyiv on Saturday, July 22. Read also DNA profiling helps identify 450 KIA in Donbas He mentioned that an interdepartmental group and a single DNA database of people missing in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) zone have been created in Ukraine. “Today there are more than 300 DNA profiles of people whose samples do not coincide with those of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who went missing in the ATO zone. Some of them, no doubt, belong to Russian soldiers and fighters,” Hrytsak said. “We call on all mothers, fathers, children of Russian citizens, who have left to build the so-called ‘Russki Mir’ (‘Russian World’) in Donbas and disappeared, to get into contact with the hostage exchange center and conduct necessary tests,” he said.

    • svend lykkegaard

      A new funny, stupid, but funny Russain Teen, shows his ignorance.

    • MichaelA

      dont have to
      they never stopped being part of ukraine