Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
The ceasefire exists on paper, though few people on the
ground seem to be paying attention to it. It is not being observed where
tactical necessity demands it. But the shelling of cities has stopped. Which is
Debaltsevo, Mariupol, and Bakhmutka are the sore spots which
are liable to blow up this peace as soon as there is a pretext and a tactical
need to do so.
Judging by this morning’s Ukrainian statements, they have no
successes to claim at Debaltsevo, aside from the night-time statement by
Poroshenko. Ukrainian forces have suffered huge losses both inside the cauldron
and around its outside ring (possibly the highest since the fighting resumed),
and run into the hundreds. It’s impossible to make an accurate count.
There is heavy fighting around Shirokino [east of Mariupol].
Novorossia controlled the town as of the morning. Prior to that it saw heavy
fighting. Azov announced it lost 50 wounded alone. I’m not going to believe
they lost only 3 killed. Given the killed-wounded ratios in this war, we can
safely assume they’ve lost 15-20 killed. The fighting had stopped or nearly
stopped everywhere else.
In conclusion. Both sides are trying to preserve the appearance
of peace, even though it already doesn’t exist. But Ukraine has to earn its IMF
credits and are trying to make something out of nothing, while Novorossia needs
to give respite to its cities (so far the Ukrainian artillery has not risked
shelling the cities) and conduct a regrouping (mainly of artillery around
J.Hawk’s Comment: There is no question that, given half a
chance, the Ukrainian government will attempt to reconstitute its military
power so as to start another war on the Donbass. Question is, will it be
allowed to do so by the West? Probably not.
Let’s face it: one of the main outcomes of the “Dignity
Revolution” is that IMF owns Ukraine. It owns it lock, stock, and (still
smoking) barrel. It is the only thing that stands between it and a default.
The fact that Novorossia can meet any threat that the UAF
can credibly mount (and the option of a genuine Russian intervention is in the
cards should NATO decide to arm Ukraine), is another major deterring factor. Both
to Ukraine and to the West, which knows perfectly well that after another round
of fighting there might be no Ukraine to pay back the billions of dollars it
owes its Western creditors.