Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
It has been a month since the resumption of combat
operations, and one can start drawing conclusions.
I already noted that the UAF are unwilling to attack. It was
perfectly evident at the Donetsk Airport (the 93rd Brigade which
conducted active operations incorporated three territorial battalions of
volunteers into its structure, therefore its “eagerness”, combined with the
eagerness of brigade commander Mikats, is fully understandable).
But it’s downhill from there. UAF units (the old, regular
units, even though that’s not always the correct description) have stopped
being noticed among the counter-attacking forces. The last time they were
active was on the Bakhmutka (the 28th Brigade).
All counter-attacks around Debaltsevo were launched by “volunteers.”
Yesterday UAF units DELIBERATELY opted not to launch a suicidal attack, which
greatly “disturbed” Semenchenko.
Likewise the most recent “attack” around Mariupol was
launched only by Azov. Even though there are many UAF units nearby. Including a
tank battalion. It’s a strange attack. In general one gets the impression that
the operation does not concern the UAF at all, and maybe it was not even coordinated
J.Hawk’s Comment: The relative passivity of the regular UAF
has several possible causes. One is the low morale and level of training of the
units which were replenished through the most recent waves of mobilization
which swept up all manner of unwilling reservists into the ranks. Moreover, the
low competence of UAF officers after the military had been purged of officers
deemed not having the required political loyalty to the junta is also a
plausible explanation for the relative passivity of the UAF. Either way, there
have been many reports of Ukrainian armored vehicles breaking down in large
numbers on the eve of a significant operation, suggesting UAF soldiers are
sabotaging their own military operations.
The second explanation is that the UAF General Staff, which
is loyal personally to Poroshenko, has orders not to risk the destruction of
the UAF because it is needed as a check on the Right Sector and the volunteer
battalions which are rather loyal to Turchinov, not Poroshenko.
But it has to be said that the volunteer units like Azov and
Donbass are not fighting especially hard either, except maybe on Facebook. On
the one hand, they are keen to establish their reputation as the “true”
defenders of Ukraine (presumably in preparation for the inevitable settling of
scores with their political opponents after the fighting is over), but at the
same time they have not shown any qualities of elite fighting units so far.
Rather the opposite—as soon as the going gets tough, the volunteer battalions
withdraw to a safe location and blame their setbacks on the UAF. They, too, are mainly concerned about preserving themselves.
As a side note, it’s not clear whether the operations of the
Azov and Donbass units were coordinated in any way, possibly by Yarosh’s “parallel
General Staff.” Turchinov was reported as “coordinating” the operations around
Mariupol, but the fact that no formations other than Azov participated in the
operation suggests his authority is more limited than his official position