Frontline Update: January 23 Summary

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1/23/2015

Frontline Update: January 23 Summary

By Cassad

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Novorossia forces occupied junta positions near the flight
control tower, leaving junta with only the control of the northern edge of the
airport, removed from the terminal by 2km. Town of Spartak and the south-eastern
section of Peski is under Novorossia control, but the rest of the town is in
Ukrainian hands, as are the air defense unit, Opytnoye, and Avdeevka. Our
forces went over to defense, while the enemy is amassing forces for a
counterattack.

A column of Novorossia forces was ambushed during the night
of 22/23 January, suffering human and material casualties [estimated a 30-40
killed, wounded, and missing].

Situation in Dokuchayevsk sector remains stable, sides are
exchanging artillery fire. Forward movement of Novorossia forces stopped near
Maryinka. Enemy continues artillery bombardment from the direction of
Krasnogorovka toward the Petrovskiy region.

Our forces continue to push against junta forces at
Mariupol, but no major gains. Vinogradnoye is still controlled by the junta.

Our forces captured Krasnyy Partizan on the Gorlovka sector,
and slightly advanced toward Mayorsk and Dzerzhinsk, but so far have not taken
these towns. It was not possible to suppress enemy artillery positions, which
means Gorlovka shelling is continuing. No confirmation of the news that a junta
attack aircraft was shot down on 22nd.

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Fighting continues in the area of 29th and 31st
checkpoints, attempts to break into Krymskoye still not successful, the enemy
is actively using artillery. Mozgovoy’s attack on Popasnoye is developing
slowly, the town has not been captured yet.

Novorossia forces made an attempt to close the Debaltsevo
salient. The attack in the Troitskoye sector caused some panic among the junta.
This created the danger of creating an encirclement around Debaltsevo. They
started to evacuate wounded to Artemovsk, with them went Russian officers
belonging to the “ceasefire” monitoring mission. Although the junta was able to
hold on to Troitskoye, the threat forced the junta to start acting more
decisively and bring up operational reserves to critical sectors of the front.
The main reinforcements are moving toward the airport and Svetlodarsk, and we
have noted a large movement of forces toward Lisichansk. It would appear the
enemy had begun to use up his reserves to shore up failing sectors of the
front. It is still not clear where Novorossia will launch its main attack. This
forces the junta to spread its forces by trying strengthen everything at once.
Our main forces have not been introduced and will likely be used depending on
enemy reactions.

Reconnaissance by force near Stanitsa Luganskaya had no
serious results, the announcements of a clearing operation were premature, but
the attempt to feel out the enemy defense was obvious. No changes on the
Schastye sector.

The bringing up of Ukrainian reserves sharply reduced the
pace of Novorossia advance and the operation entered a chaotic phase in which
both sides are trying to attack, but artillery and insufficient force levels
meant these attempts failed. As a result Novorossia made only modest gains,
while the junta none at all. We can still observe a moderately favorable
tendency for our forces, but the situation has grown more complex due to junta
reserves. Nevertheless, we still have the ball.

Concerning the political sphere, we can note the public
abandonment of the Minsk Format by the DPR, and in a categorical form. That
format died already in December, but only now did Zakharchenko (with Moscow’s
permission, of course) that none of the provisions signed in Minsk will be
fulfilled. The situation is developing as follows.

The promised combat operations that were to undermine Minsk had
begun.

Negotiations reached a dead end, as both sides adopted
mutually incompatible positions.

Combat operations by Russia using Novorossia forces will
change the situation sufficiently to begin maneuvers on other positions, which
will give LPR and DPR a certain carte blanche to seize part of junta-occupied
territories. The ultimate objectives of the offensives are not being announced,
but it’s probable they’ll include Debaltsevo, Lisichansk, Mariupol,
Severodonetsk, Schastye, and Stanitsa Luganskaya. There are no signs that the
current phase of combat operations will bring Novorossia to the Dnepr,
therefore so far they are concentrating on LPR and DPR borders. Whether they
succeed depends on the military. Military outcomes will determine the nature of
subsequent negotiations with the junta and Europe, while the US position will
remain one of encouraging a permanent war on Russia’s border. We cannot count
on a rapid resolution of the conflict.

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