By Roman Burko
Luhansk Oblast: Fighting Concentrates on the Towns and Supply Routes Around Luhansk
The Northern Combat Zone around the City
To the west of Luhansk illegally armed groups coordinated by the officers of the Russian Federation performed an attempt to attack the Ukrainian forces near Vesela Tarasivka. This is an attempted to unblock the M04 highway between Alchevsk and Luhansk and cut off the Ukrainian forces south of Luhansk.
Taking into account the lack of Ukrainian control in the area of Vesela Hotra and Shchastya north of Luhansk, the probability that Vesela Tarasivka is under control of the Russians is quite high. However there is no clarity on the highly fluid situation which literally changes hourly.
Now it is safe to say that the terrorist and Russian forces are planning to entrench on the west bank of the Severskyi Donets given that they control Slovyanoserbsk. Control over Vesela Hora would allow terrorists to control the river crossing to the area of Shchastya. Thus the militants try to secure their front line in the area of Luhansk and in theory they can abandon the more difficult position they have in Stanytsia Luhanska (which is located on the east bank of the Severskyi Donets). All these maneuvers are due to not tactical concoctions of the terrorist but rather convenient terrain which allows the protection of Luhansk from any Ukrainian advance from the north without significant costs in equipment and manpower.
Within the city of Luhansk itself there are no entrenched Ukrainian forces at the moment. Yes, there are mobile groups delivering surgical strikes at terrorists’ targets in an attempt to avoid the use of artillery against the city, but so far the main Ukrainian force have not been able to enter city.
At the time of preparation of the summary Ukrainian forces started an offensive on Stanytsia Luhanska. We hope they will be in a position to start mop-up operation in this town very soon.
Summarizing the information on the northern side of Luhansk; it is very likely that the militants will attempt in the near future to take control over Zhovte and Shchastya villages, which lie along the Severskyi Donests River, in order to cut off the supply route of the Vesela Tarasivka and Lutuhyne groupings of Ukrainian forces. However, taking into account that some of the Ukrainian reserves were transferred towards Shchastya, the security forces also seem to understand this. For all these reasons we can conclude that the confrontation in the area of Shchastya – Vesela Hora will be continuing. We would like to emphasize that we warned about the dangers of the hidden routes used by the militants to move between Shchastya and Luhansk two weeks ago; it seems that our warnings have not been heard. However, these very communication ways allowed the militants to regroup covertly and deliver blows towards Vesela Hora.
The Zone South of Luhansk
Yesterday the Lutuhyne grouping of Ukrainian forces began a westerly offensive on Malomykolaivka and Illiriya and according to, yet unconfirmed, information was able to entrench in those settlements. However, we fail to see the logic of the command, given that the Russian militants are maneuvering to cut this grouping supply route.
Ukrainian forces still control the M04 highway in the area of Novosvitlivka and are trying to regain control over Novosvetlivka and Khryashcuvate. The result of these actions largely depends on whether the Ukrainian forces are able to hold the corridor between Shchastya and Lutuhyne. In our maps the Lutuhyne group has been seen as “being in a pocket” for a long time. The reason is that there are no main supply lines there, only field roads can be used for supplies. However, all of those field roads are exposed to terrorists’ fire. The ATO forces are located in the key settlements but distance between them may sometimes reach tens of kilometers. This allows the militants to move freely between Luhansk and Alchevsk by field roads and deliver focused strikes at Ukrainian military units.
The Donetsk Oblast: The Need for ATO to Consolidate its Positions
The Southern Donetsk / Border Region
According to our sources, large amount of manpower and military equipment of the Russian militant forces was destroyed in Snizhne last night (22nd Aug). We are still trying to confirm this information. However in general the situation has deteriorated.
The area of Savur-Mohyla is still controlled by the ATO forces but given that the militants are located both to the south of the hill and in Uspenka, there is probably little sense to try to hold this high ground because it is not of great importance in the situation like this now. In addition, the activity of the terrorists in the southern direction (Starobesheve, Amvrosiivka) requires resolution.
As a result of the fights around Savur-Mohyla Ukrainian forces had to withdraw from Manuilivka and Petrivske, which are just sound of Torez. Terrorists propagandize in their channels that they expelled Ukrainian forces; however, this is not true because Ukrainian forces withdrew on their own in order not avoid being cut off should Savur-Mohyla fall.
Russian UAVs are constantly observed in the vicinity of Mariupol. Besides, artillery strikes are delivered to the area of Novoazovsk (on the coast of the Azov Sea). It should be noted that there are many refugees from Donetsk in Novoazovsk.
Donetsk City and Surrounding Towns
Ilovaisk was unfortunately abandoned by Ukrainian forces. The DNR terrorists had large reserves of Russian military equipment and they were able to bring them to bear on the Ukrainian troops in that area. In addition, the Ukrainian forces had to abandon Velyka Shyshivka as well.
As for the area north of Donetsk; Ukrainian forces managed to win back the lost grounds in the south of Horlivka towards Zhdanivka. With this positive situation counter-attacks by the terrorists from Horlivka are out of the question in the immediate future.
The Need to Consolidate Before Advancing
Considering the above information it seems likely that the Russian/DNR strategy is aimed to cut off Amvrosiivka and then later continue to advance upon Mariupol.
Ukrainian forces therefore need to build a fortified area along a line running along Uspenka – Amvrosiivka – Starobeshevsk – Dokuchajevsk; and mop up everything below that line. If this is not done the situation presents a danger of a Russian breakthrough from the side of Novoazovsk and Ekaterinovka (Russia) to link up with the groups of terrorist forces in the area. Once this fortification and clearance has been achieved, as an option, the Ukrainian forces could advance along the southern border gradually building new fortified areas and slowly take the H21 highway with Torez, Snizhne and other settlements under their control. Otherwise, mobile groups of the militants are likely to continue to deliver many troubles to the rear of Ukrainian forces.
In Conclusion: A Word on the “Humanitarian Convoy”
There is an interesting point with the incident with the illegal breakthrough of the convoy that Russia calls a “humanitarian convoy” but which de facto was recognized by the world community as a violation of all rules of international law. According to official sources, there was information on the breakthrough of approximately 145 vehicles in different directions. We are not going to question this information but only 10 trucks were observed in Krasnodon and Molodohvardiisk passing from Izvaryne towards Luhansk. The trucks later returned to Izvaryne.
We see three most possible explanations to such a maneuver:
- White trucks went deeper towards Luhansk only to unload (or load) some freights (equipment, militants, material goods, etc)
- The “Trojan convoy” face the danger of being fired at in the area of Novosvitlivka and had to fall back to find a safer route
- This was a red herring to cover up transfer of military equipment and heavy weapons in the adjacent directions.
The Russian side continues to use the entire arsenal of hypocrisy and impudence in the course of the undeclared war against Ukraine. The world community does not wish to take tough measures to stop Russian aggression. The world community unfortunately does not go further than limited economic sanctions. Perhaps Europe is not aware of the danger of the appeasement of this issue; the appetite of the large eastern neighbor grows excessively and the neighbor will not be satisfied with the annexation of Crimea and will for sure go further. Any delays in matters of military assistance to Ukraine could be very costly in the future, both for Ukraine and for the safety of NATO borders.
[hr]Source: burkonews.info, republished with permission. translated by Oxana Tinko and Victoria Field, edited by Larry Field