“On To Kharkov!”

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1/20/2015

“On to Kharkov!”

By Chasovoy [Sentry]

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Since the situation at the front had begun to change, I’ll
say a few things about the future of this armed conflict.

Everyone now agrees the ceasefire was a farce which only
worsened the situation. AFU increased its forces over the last four months and
started to represent a threat. After resuming heavy bombardment of Donetsk it
became clear to many that the dumbest thing to do under the circumstances is to
simply await AFU offensive, which would turn Donetsk into Stalingrad-2. The
prospect of the city turning into ruins, countless casualties—why would
Novorossia want that? Therefore the leadership made a wide decision: not wait
for the assault but launch a counteroffensive that will push the enemy back at
least 40km, to the Artyomovsk-Konstantinovka-Krasnoarmeysk-Andreevka-Volnovakha-Mariupol
line. And that should have been done in September, regardless of everything
else.

True, there is one advantage to the current situation. Now
there exists an opportunity to completely destroy the AFU, during the winter of
2015, thus obtaining a decisive victory without a march on Kiev. As of today
all of AFU’s battle assets are concentrated on the Donbass All equipment from
storage facilities, anything that could have been fixed up and restored has
been restored and brought to the Eastern Front. All human resources, everyone
who still had a will to fight, were hastily trained, thrown together into
military formations and thrown into the Donbass. Ukraine has no other reserves.
A decisive defeat of the AFU will dot all the “i’s”. The task now is to destroy
not 75%, like in August, but 100% of heavy equipment and 80% of manpower. Do
not allow them to withdraw, regroup, retreat, but destroy everything on the
spot. Ukraine no longer has an ability to restore its military—its reserves
will be fully used up and in any event money for the war has run out. The
economy will begin its collapse by springtime, there will be rolling blackouts,
cold, and hunger. At that point the militia pursues the half-dead, disorderly
retreating enemy and clears the entire territory of LPR and DPR and takes
Kharkov. This will bring the war to an end, because everyone will realize the
impossibility to rebuild Ukraine’s army for the third time and attempt to
attack Donbass yet again. There is likewise no sense in moving deeply into Ukraine
where Novorossia forces will be greeted as occupiers and meet resistance. We
must let Ukraine stew in its own juices until it cures itself of its “national
consciousness” and other infectious diseases and comes begging to join Novorossia.
But that will take time.

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Why Kharkov, and not Zaporozhye or Dnepropetrovsk?

In brief:

1.      To
shorten the frontline. The Kharkov region covers the Lugansk region and allows
Novorossia to develop strategic depth necessary for normal functioning of the
state. All AFU units not withdrawn westward after the taking of Kharkov will be
encircled, and will be forced to quickly abandon LPR/DPR territory (Slavyansk,
Kramatorsk, Artyomovsk), or will be quickly destroyed. The liberation of
occupied territories will take place without bloody battles on Novorossia
territory, without destruction of housing, without pointless losses among
civilians.

2.      Russia’s
support. The Kharkov region is adjacent to Russia and can be easily supplied.
That factor needs no further clarification. From the north the KhPR will be
protected by Russia’s border, thanks to its geographical location, and will be
covered by Russia’s air defense system

3. Kharkov
is the location of the huge Malyshev tank construction plant and the Kharkov
armored vehicle repair plant. Now they work full steam for the Ukrainian
military. After the taking of Kharkov they will work for Novorossia. Kharkov is
also a major industrial center of Ukraine, which will qualitatively improve
Novorossia’s economy and greatly improve its potential. Without Kharkov
Novorossia is too compact and unviable. The Donbass-Kharkov connection will
help establish the economic self-sufficiency of the region.

4.      Pro-Russian
forces are at their strongest in Kharkov. If one looks back on the events of
March 2014, the pro-Russian sentiment in Kharkov was even stronger than in
Donetsk. One can expect that Kharkov will meet tanks with flowers, while
Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye cause doubts on that score. Neither Russia nor
Novorossia needs a guerrilla war or reception of Novorossia forces as
occupiers.

5.      The
geography of Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye favors defense over offense. Moving
into the center of Ukraine exposes the attacker to flank attacks and threats to
encircle Novorossia forces. This would force them to detach many units to guard
the flanks. Moreover, Dnepropetrovsk is protected by the Dnepr river. The
demolition of bridges would greatly complicate the city’s capture. One need not
look for examples—it’s enough to consider the German defense of the Dnepr line,
the so-called “Eastern Wall.”

As far as the Mariupol-Melitopol-Kherson direction is
concerned, it should be viewed as a bonus to the Kharkov direction. Once
Kharkov is taken, the junta will concentrate all remaining forces on the Kiev
front, because that’s the most dangerous front for them, since nobody will be
about to give up Kiev and there will not be enough forces to go around. This
will create conditions for an attack along the Mariupol-Melitopol-Kherson
(Velikiye Kopani) axis, which will finally create a corridor to the Crimea
(this was always the natural passageway during the Russian Empire, which was
lost due to unfortunate historical events).

Beginning the offensive from the southern direction would
not be wise, because once the southern corridor is established there will not
be sufficient forces for the northern direction, and moreover the element of
surprise will be lost because, to reiterate, the Kharkov-Kiev direction is the
most dangerous one for the junta, which means they will defend it using all
forces at their disposal.

Of course, the implementation of these and other plans to a
certain degree depends on the will and decisiveness of the Kremlin, which as of
late has many questions to answer.

Translator’s Note: This is an entirely plausible scenario.
Everything written above about the state of the Ukrainian military rings true,
as does the estimate of the popular sentiment in the regions of Ukraine
described. Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk would not have been begging NATO for
weapons if they had the reserves they (especially Poroshenko) claimed to have.
One has to wonder what the purpose of the new mobilization was meant to be,
apart from providing a show of force, since these 200,000 new call-ups could
hardly be equipped in any meaningful way. Moreover, one can at least entertain
the possibility that Yarosh and others pushed Poroshenko to start a new round
of fighting because they knew the Ukrainian military would fail—they could have
hardly not noticed in what shape it really was. But its failure would be a
success if it undermined the legitimacy of the Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk-Turchinov
triad, which Yarosh seem determined to undermine. As discussed in an earlier
article, Poroshenko likely felt compelled to act because, one way or the other,
his grip on power was slipping. But now it seems to be slipping even faster.

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