By Roman Burko
In general, there have been no major operations for the past day, either by the Ukrainian forces or by the DNR and LNR terrorists. The main actions that can be noted were artillery strikes against terrorist fortifications in Horlivka. However, the strikes were delivered too late as the terrorists had left their positions in advance (perhaps they had been warned).
It seems that the war has turned to a ‘smoldering’ phase. The Ukrainian forces carefully “test the waters” from the south-western direction towards Snizhne, Antratsit and Rovenky, and the terrorists no less carefully prevent them from doing so.
For the past day we observed the withdrawal of the Ukrainian forces from Shakhtarsk; this changes the map of the fronts and we have to admit that the terrorists managed to make a stand for the communication corridor between Donetsk and the Russian Federation, which is used to transfer weapons and reinforcement.
Despite the artillery strikes, several positions around Horlivka were abandoned by the Ukrainian forces. Let us hope that the retreat of the Ukrainian forces from those settlements is a tactical rearrangement. Perhaps this was done to secure the rears; we wrote about the need for that in our previous summaries.
Luhansk Oblast: Northern areas
Reinforcement for the terrorists arrived at Alchevsk and Perevalsk. Thus the reserve of Girkin’s headquarters has been formed in these settlements. This reserve could be used for counter-attacks in the dangerous directions, such as Alchevsk – Pervomaisk, Alchevsk – Debaltseve, Alchevsk – Vesela Tarasivka, and could also be used to reinforce the terrorists in Snizhne and Torez. It is likely that the Ukrainian forces had to regroup because of this very reserve.
The Ukrainian forces continue to advance upon Pervomaisk, as the terrorists constantly counter-attack upon Popasna from there. The morning began with an artillery preparation and we expect to hear good news in the evening.
The issue of the Lutuhyne forces being cut off has not been resolved yet.
As for Krasnodon: it looks like the terrorists decided to make it their citadel. It is noted that groups of guest terrorists from Russia are constantly seen in the “Tourist” hotel and in the building of “Krasnodonugol” Association. In particular, the accumulation of forces of the Kadyrivtsy group is observed in the city (“Kadyrivtsy” are the Chechens that are loyal to Ramzan Kadyrov; “real” Chechens hate Ramzan Kadyrov and ask that people not call the “Kadyrivtsy” mercenaries Chechens). Krasnodon is a convenient transit point, it is situated very close to the border and reinforcements from the Russian Federation pass near it (via Sukhodilsk). In the light of this information, rumors that the LNR leaders often visit Krasnodon and even plan to redeploy their headquarters there seem quite believable and very logical.
The fact that terrorists can travel through the Shchastya area is also of noted with concern. This is the rear of the group advancing upon Luhansk from the north and that is why the above fact requires particular attention – in order not to repeat the situation with Amvrosiivka and Volnovakha. The problem of the M04 highway which is used to reinforce the terrorists in Luhansk remains open.
The issue of Reinforcements from Russia
Our group has found out that reinforcements to terrorists in the City of Donetsk come from the direction of the border settlements of Sjevernyi and Popivka (north of the Izvaryne border post, Luhansk Region). Military equipment and manpower is constantly transferred there from the Russian town of Donetsk (Rostov region of the Russian Federation). To block this supply route to the City Donetsk we would propose to destroy the bridge over the Shterovskyi reservoir.This will destroy the route that connects Donetsk with Krasnodon. However, because there is a roundabout route via Miusynsk (between Kasnyi Luch and Snizhne), the situation can be dealt with by the destruction of the nearby bridge in Korinne. Then in order to get to Donetsk armored vehicles would have either to drive near Dmytrivka (to the south, close to Ukrainian controlled territory) or pass through Rozsypne (further to the north).
Ukrainian activists overheard information about a few “Hi Chi Minh trails” when terrorists discussed “the best way to get to Luhansk”. There are two options to consider:
1. Move to Izvaryne from Russian Donetsk and then move to Luhansk via Kransodon.
2. Move from Shchastya via the Malynivske forestry.
Both options seem quite plausible and therefore they should be taken into consideration.
The Question of A Full Scale Russian Invasion
Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the NATO announcement according to which the risk of a full scale invasion of the Russian troops under the guise of a peacekeeping or humanitarian mission significantly increases. According to NATO data, Russian forces of approximately 20,000 troops are located near the Ukrainian border.
Moreover, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, tested the waters by making a bold statement about of the plans of Moscow. According to his statement, the Kremlin plans to “send convoys of Russian humanitarian aid under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross” to Donetsk, Luhansk and other cities of Ukraine.
It is interesting that the speaker of the Information Center of the National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Lysenko, reported that the terrorists had kidnapped a few representatives of the Red Cross. It is a rhetorical question how collaboration of the Russian Federation, which supports terrorists groups in the east of Ukraine, can be related to humanitarian assistance of the Red Cross. Most likely we are going to see another round of provocations and daring actions of the Russian side, which are comparable to their occupation actions in Crimea. Both Ukraine and the world community should be prepared to this scenario.
[hr] Source: burkonews.info, Translated by Oxana Tinko, edited by Larry Field