The Fire Next Time: Mariupol



Militia Grad launchers strike Mariupol checkpoints 

 Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

For the first time since September the positions of the Azov
volunteer battalion came under rocket artillery fire.

The commander of the second sotnya of the Azov battalion,
who goes by the call-sign Kirt, said that DPR took Azov positions near under
Grad fire. The battalion returned fire.

DPR HQ reports that militia units by Mariupol struck a
Ukrainian checkpoint with Grad rockets. One can hear both incoming and outgoing
volleys in the city.

The zone of fighting included a number of villages located
near Mariupol. CTO press officer Dmitriy Chaliy said that since 18:00 hours
local time AFU positions near Talakovka have come under Grad fire.

Ukrainian forces near Chermalyk came under mortar fire.
There was also artillery fire noted near Nikolayevka.

DPR head Aleksandr Zakharchenko announced that his forces
are conducting heavy counter-offensive operations along the entire frontline,
from Mariupol to Gorlovka.

Translator’s Note: The number and rapidity of reports does
suggest a major escalation of fighting—this is no longer simply a local battle
around the Donetsk airport. This is also something of a moment of truth, a
trial of strength, for both sides. Whoever prevails in this trial of strength
will dictate the terms of peace. Neither Poroshenko nor Zakharchenko can afford
to lose this one, because a significant loss of life and/or territory for
either side threatens to undermine the morale of the losing side. Though DPR definitely has an advantage in this regard: all it needs to do is survive to win. DPR’s mere survival, on the other hand, would represent a major political loss for Poroshenko. Not Yatsenyuk, ironically, because Yatsenyuk is not the commander-in-chief of the AFU.

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