An officer of the 128th Brigade, though possibly not “Gusar”. Note the German flag on the Bundeswehr-issue uniform.
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
“Unless a decision is made immediately, the brigade may not
exist anymore. The brigade may vanish,” said ‘Gusar’, an officer of the 128th
Brigade in a telephone interview with zn.ua.
He notes that Ukrainian forces inside the cauldron will not
be able to leave it without massive fire support by other units. They would
also need “even a single sector of a road” de-blocked. In addition, there is a
shortage of ammunition.
“Yes, we received supply convoys. I won’t say how many. One
cannon expends about 200 shells a day. We would receive maybe 4-5 trucks with
supplies. One truck carries only 160 shells. How long do you think that will
last in constant combat?”
Military units are no longer capable of getting out on their
“The brigade might have been able to come out four days ago,
before the situation went downhill. We need to get our aviation in the air,
burn everything to the ground, pulverize the commanding heights, provide even a
bit of equipment and lead the troops out. Otherwise we’ll get a repeat of the
Ilovaysk cauldron, when we used the ‘green corridor’ and then our forces were
annihilated by enemy artillery fire.”
“We have been awaiting reserves for the last 13 hours.”
‘Gusar’ also said that he would like to look in the eye of the commanders
and spokespersons at the Ministry of Defense and the Counter-Terrorist [sic] Operation
HQ, who have been assuring everyone for the last several days that everything
is under control.
“Let them come here and see for themselves under what kind
of control things are over here.”
J.Hawk’s Comment: This is a “damned if we do, damned if we
don’t” situation. If Ukrainian forces remain in the salient, they will
eventually have to surrender. If they try to break out, they will be destroyed
in the open by artillery fire and long-range tank-gun and anti-tank missile
fire. It’s entirely possible that the Novorossia Army command might allow a way
out of the cauldron (say, by withdrawing from Logvinovo) in order to lure UAF forces into a fire
ambush along the road to Svetlodarsk.
But this is all on Poroshenko’s account. He had the option
of resolving the status of Debaltsevo in Minsk, but he balked at the prospect
of acknowledging his troops were trapped. Though, once again, it is possible
his own Minister of Defense told him “everything was under control”, ultimately
Poroshenko is the commander in chief. Considering that Ukrainian officers are resorting to contacting the media directly (which is an act of gross insubordination) in order to report their situation does suggest the chain of command within the cauldron has broken down.
As a final reminder, the 128th Mountain Infantry
Brigade is stationed in Transcarpathia, and most of its soldiers come from the
area under the political control of Viktor Baloga, a fairly prominent Ukrainian
oligarch who more than once had called on Poroshenko to stop the bloodshed, and
specifically inquired about the fate of “his” brigade.