June 3, 2015
The Maryinka Battle Will Not End Minsk Process
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
June 3 saw a serious escalation along the line of separation between the UAF and the NAF. DPR Minister of Defense Vladimir Kononov said that the UAF launched an assault along the entire front line. One should note that LPR announcements did not differ greatly from those issued on previous days which, apparently, indicates that the situation along that sector remains stable. Judging by Ukrainian media reports, the epicenter was around Maryinka and Krasnogorovka.
Ukrainian media apparently mainly based their reports on the Donetsk city web site and te social media. They contain references to mobile artillery groups supposedly firing from among civilian houses. There are reports of destroyed NAF armored vehicles and numerous personnel losses among the militia, about 500 Russian soldiers supposedly assaulting Maryinka, one of whom was supposedly taken prisoner. None of the above was supported by any documentary evidence. So far nothing that Ukrainian propaganda sites have put out confirming claims of heavy NAF losses. At least so far.
The only confirmed fact from Wednesday, June 3, was the large number of wounded arriving at Donetsk hospitals, not fewer than 90 individuals.
DPR MOD representative Eduard Basurin did not confirm reports that Maryinka is under NAF control. He only said that some UAF units left the town. He linked the events around Maryinka with the arrival of UAF Kiev-1 battalion which provoked, he says, a clash. According to Basurin, the events in Maryinka are nothing extraordinary, therefore they cannot serve as a reason to end the ceasefire. He also said that the NAF is not about to launch an offensive, but will respond appropriately to enemy probes.
J.Hawk’s Comment: So it looks like NAF forces left Maryinka–as much is suggested by the OSCE special report on the Maryinka fight which (and Russian military observer mission confirms it) says that as of 1900 hours on Wednesday Maryinka was under UAF control and we’re not seeing any visual evidence to the contrary. As I wrote earlier today, holding on to Maryinka was not worth the risk and cost of greater escalation, especially in a situation in which the Kiev government actually has a greater incentive to escalate. So the reports that “the Center” ordered DPR troops to return to original positions were likely true. The NAF apparently took advantage of an opportunity to pounce on a vulnerable UAF position inflicting serious casualties (though suffering some in turn) but nothing more than that.