Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
The renewed Ukrainian attempts to break the Debaltsevo
encirclement have been unsuccessful. This was admitted by a National Guard
battalion commander Semen Semenchenko. While on a hospital bed, he first wrote
in Facebook that his battalion took Logvinovo, but several hours later he was
forced to announce quite the opposite.
“The mopping up of Logvinovo and the adjacent area by part
of the Donbass battalion was stopped after the withdrawal of UAF units and
their armored vehicles from Logvinovo,” Semenchenko wrote, trying to explain
National Guard’s withdrawal by alleging lack of UAF support. Fighting
continues, in his words, “in the area” of the village.
Semenchenko acknowledged that the militia “launched a counterattack
against UAF forces, which are now defending on the outskirts of Logvinovo.” One
should note that the militia never lost control over Logvinovo, but defended it
with artillery support from nearly elevations.
It should be noted that Logvinovo had become a hot spot due
to the ceasefire being scheduled to take effect as of Friday midnight. The town
is strategically important because it sits astride the Atremovsk-Debaltsevo
road. Kiev forces are attacking Logvinovo in order to clear a corridor for the
Ukrainian forces trapped in Debaltsevo.
LifeNews reported earlier that DPR artillery continues to
shell the road and Ukrainian columns attempting to use it to break through to
Debaltsevo. UAF are attacking both from the inside and outside the
Curiously, Kiev officialdom continues to insist that there
is no encirclement at Debaltsevo. DPR representative Denis Pushilin said that
Poroshenko is being misinformed, as he is being told that everything is fine at
the front. Specifically, the Minister of Defense Poltorak publically announced
that the encirclement of Ukrainian forces at Debaltsevo is wholly fabricated.
But today the UAF threw all its forces at the DPR/LPR encirclement in order to
break it. These attempts have failed.
The ceasefire will begin in two days, at midnight on
February 15, Kiev time. Military experts say that both sides need to fortify
their own positions. Ukrainian forces face the task of breaking into the
Debaltsevo pocket, while the militia needs to hold on to towns and villages.
The militia is repelling intensive UAF armor and infantry assaults.
J.Hawk’s Comment: At this point in time, it seems more
likely than not that there will be a large Ukrainian military concentration trapped
at Debaltsevo as of the start of the ceasefire. What then? It seems relatively
clear the UAF wants to hold all the territory it can—it has never voluntarily
withdrawn from any location, and Debaltsevo is no exception. This means the
fighting is liable to continue until the encirclement is broken or the
Ukrainian forces become too exhausted to attack or even to resist Novorossia
attacks, even if it means breaking the ceasefire. Poroshenko’s denial of the
encirclement is the main reason it was not addressed by the Minsk-2 protocol,
and now it threatens the future of that agreement. And, as Plotnitskiy and
Zakharchenko said, this is Ukraine’s last chance. There will not be a Minsk-3
as far as they are concerned. Considering that the IMF will not extend any
credits to Ukraine if the fighting continues, this puts Poroshenko in a
Which is already weak as it is. By denying the existence of
the salient, either because Poltorak told him otherwise, or to deprive Putin of
negotiating leverage, Poroshenko has made himself vulnerable to criticism by
the likes of Semenchenko, who can justifiably say that the president and his
minister of defense are out of touch with reality. So now Poroshenko and/or
Poltorak are throwing everything they have at the Debaltsevo encirclement in
desperate, and no doubt costly, attacks in order to make up for the attempt to
deny the obvious.
Semenchenko gratuitous dig at the UAF is also notable—whenever
things go wrong, it’s invariably the fault of the regular soldiers. Should the
ceasefire ever take effect, one wonders at how many scores will be settled
between the volunteer battalions and the regular military, which is now
regularly being accused of being responsible for the failures of Ukrainian