Kiev’s Unsolvable Dilemma. Morning January 26 Frontline Update



Morning January 26

By El-Murid

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

The heavy battles on the Donbass so far have not brought
serious results. However, we can point out two sectors where junta forces’
situation is worsening faster than elsewhere. It’s Avdeevka and the Debaltsevo

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The militia announced the capture of several heights
overlooking Debaltsevo. This will greatly increase the effectiveness of their
artillery fire. The Kiev media immediately started talking about
counter-battery fire against the militia in that area. The supply and retreat routes
for the Debaltsevo grouping are being closed. The Kiev command is not
withdrawing its forces, thus risking 7,000 troops. That’s understandable: the
retreat would be a major political blow for Kiev. However, should the
encirclement be completed, it will be also a major military defeat, which would
have been far more serious than all the summer encirclements put together.

So this is a major dilemma which is still being resolved,
but the outcome will at some point become apparent.

The Ukrainian Avdeevka grouping is likewise signaling its
catastrophic situation. Its defenses have not been broken yet, but the junta
has no reserves on this sector. They were transferred either to Krasnyy
Partizan or to the Debaltsevo sector where the militia could break the
defensive line at any moment.

The Ukrainian command is dealing with the problem of
reserves by scraping together MVD troops from their checkpoints and throwing
them toward endangered sectors of the front. But this practice denudes the rear
area and destroys the checkpoints of the third line of defense.

The situation in Popasnaya is still not clear. It would appear
that the initial enthusiastic announcements that it was captured were somewhat
premature, but battles are continuing and the situation of the Ukrainian forces
is very complicated.

Translator’s Note: Novorossia forces are clearly still
enjoying the initiative. Its strategy has been to launch probing attacks in
various sectors of the front with the intent of capturing significant
geographic points (starting with Donetsk Airport) which would force Ukrainian
forces to spend themselves in unsuccessful counterattacks (because, indeed,
they have not been able to retake any of the localities they have lost), or at
the very least shore up the flagging sectors of the front. That they are
resorting to MVD troops suggests they are really scraping the bottom of the
barrel—these troops are trained for an internal policing role, not
high-intensity combat. One does not sense an overarching strategy on the
Ukrainian side—all of their actions have been reactive, and even then on the
local level. One would think that the main priority for the Ukrainian high
command would be to relieve the Debaltsevo grouping whose situation has been
deteriorating for days. That they haven’t been able to do so yet, suggests an
absence of a sizable mobile reserve a the disposal of the Kiev command. It
would appear that the Ukrainian command, given a choice of a tactical
withdrawal to a second or third line of defense, followed by a possible
counter-attack, instead has practically dismantled those lines of defense in an
“all or nothing” bid to defeat the Novorossia counteroffensive. However, it still seems Novorossia has a sizable mechanized reserve that can be committed at a time when Novorossia’s military leadership decides Kiev has nothing left to counter it.

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