By Roman Burko, burkonews.info
Donetsk Oblast: North and Western Donetsk and Horlivka
Starting on the evening of July 30 the ATO forces began an offensive on Avdiivka. By mid-day on the 31st the town has been liberated. However, fighting continues on the outskirts of the town. The release of Avdiivka opens the way for the Ukrainian forces to Yasynuvata and brings about the complete encirclement of the militia forces in Donetsk. It also provides an opportunity to finally cut all ways in and out of Horlivka. It is noted that the militant groups were trying to break out the cordon and escape from Horlivka. Already there were reports of the release of some areas of the city, but the information is not confirmed yet. In general terms, the initiative in the battle for Horlivka currently belongs to the ATO forces.
The build-up of groups of terrorists towards the Western outskirts of Donetsk and Makiivka were spotted. This happen due to the successful development of the Ukrainian force’s offensive from the side of Mar’inka and the release of Avdiivka.
Donetsk Oblast: Central and Southern Areas
It should be noted that today the terrorist were utilizing the multiple rocket launcher systems Grad in the rear of the ATO forces which had moved to Donetsk from the Southern direction. It seems that the ATO forces do not provide a reliable rear-guard for their striking groups. For example, the terrorists again move freely in Amvrosiivka. So we can expect further terrorist attacks in these areas.
About the situation in Shakhtarsk: The corridor on the map separating the Donetsk and Luhansk groups of the militia forces, as well as separating the forces in Shakhtarsk and Torez is relative. The hostilities have continued in this corridor and the Ukrainian forces have not been able to consolidate their control in this area. We are not dealing with a positional war as described in books on the history of military warfare. Almost all the movement of terrorists and the forces of the ATO are along the main communication routes. There is no continuous front line or fortified zone. Within this context the ATO forces are carrying on an active offensive in Shakhtarsk and Torez via Rozsypne from the North-Western direction, as well as to Krasnyi Luch from the side of Debaltseve. However terrorists constantly counter-attack from Krasnyi Luch and Torez, as well in Shakhtarsk from the side of Zuhres. Today the situation nearly became critical, but the ATO forces retained control of roads. The main purpose of the terrorist counter-strikes is to regain control of the road N21. So till the moment when the militant groups of DNR in Donetsk are destroyed, these attempts will continue.
The situation with the height of Savur-Mohyla is similar. The ATO forces cannot complete the release of Savur-Mohyla while there is the danger of continuous attacks from Snizhne from the North. It should be noted that from the territory of the Russian Federation units using multiple rocket launcher systems BM-21 Grad are periodically shelling the Ukrainian forces established on Savur-Mohyla and in Stepanivka. In addition, a part of the ATO forces began movement in the direction of Rovenky and Sverdlovsk in order to connect with the units in Dolzhanskyi in order to finally take the control of the southern border of our country. However the situation for the Ukrainian forces is quite difficult in this area.
Luhansk Oblast: Northern Area
The ATO forces continue to advance upon Pervomaisk from the direction of Popasna; another advance from the direction of Debaltseve has started today.
The Pervomaisk problem should be resolved as soon as possible because constant counterattacks by terrorists tie down ATO forces. Besides, the increase of the terrorist forces was noticed in Stakhanov and Bryanka meaning the militants could attack from those directions as well. It is most likely that the reinforcements in these towns are the reserves arriving from the directions of Zolote and Lysychansk.
Luhansk Oblast: Luhansk and the Southern Area
As for Luhansk, the militants have strengthened their positions along the M04 highway (south of the city). After Savur-Mohyla was captured by the Ukrainian forces, this highway remains the only way of supply the militants from the Russian Federation. The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) maps show almost complete encirclement of Luhansk from the south. However, yesterday we asked the question about Novosvetlivka and Novohannivka: these settlements are located along the highway and are controlled by terrorists. In addition, we observe constant movements of militants on this highway. In fact, the group of the ATO forces that has taken Lutuhyne today is cut off from the western direction by that highway.
Border Areas and Forecast of Provocations
Our forecasts about possible attack directions by terrorists (except the ones above) remain the same. However, we would like to point out that given the worsening of militant positions further escalation of the situation in the border area should be expected. Reinforcements for militants continue to filter through the open 12 km border area (Popivka, Velykyi Sukhodil) from the Rostov Oblast of the Russian Federation.
There is also an extremely critical forecast by our experts according to which if Ukrainian forces do not resolve the problem of locking the border by Friday evening, on Saturday the “peace keeper” forces of the Russian Federation will come. For this reason DNR and LNR groupings have to be cut off from the border as soon as possible. It is important to keep these forces away from the border by at least 20 km minimum (this is the average firing distance for MLRS BM-21 “Grad”). Otherwise in the night of July, 31 to August, 1, a serious provocation is possible. For example, militants could shell the Russian troops from the Ukrainian territory and attribute that to the Ukrainian forces located in Savur-Mohyla. This provocation will provoke the invasion of the “peacekeepers”. Preventive measures have to be taken to avoid this scenario.
Translated by Victoria Field and Oxana Tinko; edited by Larry Field