January 25, 2015
Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus
Reports are coming in about the the capture of Popasnaya [Maked “Попасная” on the map]. The reports are not yet confirmed, but the probability is quite high. Kiev did not expect offensive operations in the area, as there were very meager forces of the militia, which was barely enough for defense.
Therefore, the area Popasnaya – Troitskoye became the junction between the two fortified sectors and was dealt an unexpected blow by the militia. Very large quantities of tanks thrown into an emerging gap became an even bigger surprise. Such breakthroughs strictly by the book have to be suppressed with a strike in the flank, but precisely here Kiev did not have such forces. Strelkov has already said that according to his information the Kiev command is throwing operational reserves from other directions to plug the gap, since the distances are very small. However, the “plugging” boils down to frontal battles which are not effective…
In such circumstances, information about the capture of Popasnaya is plausible: UAF command has no time to deal with it, it has a problem with emerging gap on the route Artemovsk-Debaltsevo. However, the loss of Popasnaya, as a major defensive cluster carries a pending threat: it means that the militia has been able in a week of fighting to finally break through the first line of defense of UAF and create a gap. Nothing can plug it right now, the need is to eliminate a more pressing problem – the shutting of Debaltsevo cauldron.
A crisis in the fighting is looming. Both sides have insufficient forces, very small space to maneuver, therefore any good or bad decision for any party becomes crucial.