By Roman Burko
The Coming Days Bring Significant Dangers
Analysis of the incoming information shows that in the coming days a counter-attack on the ATO forces positions is possible. Terrorists have accumulated significant forces, a large number of armored vehicles and are almost ready for large-scale actions. The only thing the terrorists desperately need at the moment is ammunition. However, this problem can be solved in the near future with another “humanitarian” aid convoy from the Russian Federation.
It is noteworthy that the “white convoy” of 300 units moving towards Ukraine draws attention not only of the Ukrainian side but of the world community as well. We cannot rule out the possibility that the convoy can serve not only as a “Trojan horse” but also as a red herring which will be used to draw awareness away from the transfer of ammunition through the usual route controlled by the LNR forces, in other words via Sjevernyi and Popivka villages and then via Krasnodon and Sukhodolsk.
The terrorists started to deliver surgical blows at the ATO forces surrounding Luhansk. They both shell ATO forces, and operate in mobile diversionary and reconnaissance groups that enter into the rear of the group of Ukrainian uniformed services that move towards Luhansk from the north. The fact that the terrorists accumulate their forces to the east of Slovianoserbsk indicates that we can expect an increase in the intensity of attacks in that direction.
The bad news of the past day is that the terrorists attacked an ATO convoy near Shchastya. This was predictable; the warnings about coming strikes by the terrorists in the area of Vesela Hora have already been voiced. Besides, multiple rocket launch systems BM-21 “Grad” were observed to the east near Slovianoserbsk. It looks like the withdrawal of the terrorists from Pervomaisk to Stakhanov is not just a move to a new line of defense but rather accumulation of forces for the attack in the northern direction (Rubizhne, Sievierodonetsk); this scenario combines very well with the availability of MLRS BM-21 “Grad” on the eastern shores of the Severkyi Donets.
As for the southern direction, Kranyi Luch, Antratsyt, Sverdlovsk and Rovenky are still under the control of terrorists. Reinforcements in the form of military equipment constantly arrive from the Russian Federation. Counter-attacks towards Dyakove with access to the rear of the ATO forces in Miusynsk are possible
ATO Progress in Donetsk and Horlivka
On August 12, 2014 the ATO forces struck through Vuhlehirsk and entered Horlivka from the direction of the Kalinin district. They have not been able to entrench in Horlivka so far because the terrorists are still holding the northern direction. The terrorists are also still capable of blocking attacks from the direction of Panteleimonivka. The only way that connects Horlivka with Donetsk is the one via Yenekiyevo which is still under the control of the terrorist groups.
It is possible that the terrorists are planning to use the Dzerzhynsk attack vector; however, there is an option to develop an offensive towards Debaltseve. Besides, it should be noted that a map of contamination “in case the ATO forces blow ‘Styrol’ enterprise” is actively spread in pro-Russian separatist groups in the Internet. This disinformation is spread on purpose for the next round of panic among the locals.
The ATO forces continue to advance upon Donetsk from all directions. The Ukrainian troops slowly but steadily tighten the encirclement around the city. It was reported today that the terrorists were expecting an attack on Mospyne. Given that one of the options to break out of Donetsk is the very withdrawal via Mospyne, we can expect surprises from the terrorists there in the near future. The terrorists accumulate their forces in the direction of Krasnohorivka and Marinka. We cannot talk about a possible attack in that direction because the purpose of such an attack is not clear. As an option, this could be a diversionary attack.
The Question of Russian Flame Thrower Systems in Ukraine
It was reported today that terrorists are preparing to attack the Luhansk airport with the help of heavy flame thrower systems (HFTS) TOS-1 “Buratino” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOS-1) or TOS-1A “Solntsepyok”. Recall that flamethrower battalions of the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) Defense Brigades of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are armed with such systems. Flamethrowers are officially banned by conventions as inhumane weapons; it is therefore considered that CBRN brigade troops use them solely for decontamination.
According to preliminary data on one of the videos provided for private analysis one of such systems was observed in the territory controlled by terrorists (the video is not available publicly in order not to disclose the place and reveal the people who filmed it). Given that the preliminary findings were made by a non-expert, we are skeptical of them for the following reasons:
- No HFTSes have been observed entering Ukraine previously; their sudden appearance looks very suspicious.
- This is a very rare weapon; there are only three units in the entire Southern Military District of the Russian Federations. These three units are on the inventory of the 28th Independent Brigade of the CBRN Defense troops located in the Volgograd region (Kamyshin, Russia).
- The Russian Federation will not be able to hide its direct involvement in assisting terrorists in case it is confirmed that terrorists have these systems. The facts of delivery of a weapon prohibited by the Convention may cause another wave of outrage by the world community with all that it entails. The risks are probably too high and not justified for Russia.
However, the Russian side has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to `go for broke’, and this is why we cannot write off the possibility of a transfer of such weapons. But at this stage neither should we overestimate the dangers. In brief, let us wait for the conclusions of experts.
Suggestions for Improving ATO’s Operations
Both in private conversations with representatives of ATO structures, and in our materials to our readers, we repeatedly emphasized the fundamental problem of our forces conducting the anti-terrorist operation: the lack of interaction.
On the one hand it is clear that everyone is afraid of information leaks but on the other hand it sometimes reaches the point of absurdity. When the commanding officer of one of the law enforcement branch does not know what the commander of another branch is doing 5 km away the situation is fraught with consequences. In this case, there is the urgent need of cleansing the staff of Russian agents and the introduction of new communication systems and command and control methods.
Another weakness of the ATO forces is the unwillingness to involve local residents in consultations on the ground. They could greatly assist with the liberation of the territories occupied by the terrorists. Using local guides and informers could significantly increase the efficiency of actions of the Ukrainian forces directly on the ground.
And finally, we note the discord and fights among different factions of the terrorists for weapons and ammunition. The morale of the enemy is deteriorating rapidly, there is a massive desertion associated with the decrease in financing and payments for the activities of DNR and LNR mercenaries. In Luhansk Oblast representatives of LNR forced the entire male population under the age of 60 years to join the “militia.” But there are virtually no volunteers among the locals. Repression is increasing, along with the citizen discontent with the criminal actions of the terrorists.
Only time can tell what happens when Ukraine finally finishes with the terrorist groups, but certainly we can say that the Russian Federation will not be able to stop its interventions, and perhaps we are waiting for a new round of confrontation… But together we certainly will endure and prevail! Glory to Ukraine!
[hr] Source: burkonews.info, edited by Larry Field&Alya Shandra