Sitrep: changes afoot in Novorossiya, the Kremlin, and on the frontline

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November 6, 2015 –

Compiled and translated for Fort Russ by J. Arnoldski 

RusVesna reports that DPR reconnaissance has detected the deployment of Ukrainian Grad’s and tanks near the contact line in the south. Deputy Commander of the Ministry of Defense Corps of the DPR Eduard Basurin stated that 12 RS3O BM-21 Grad units have been detected 24 km from the contact line in Mariupol in addition to the arrival of 10 tanks 12 km from the contact line near Volnovakha.

This is in clear violation of the Minsk Agreements signed on February 12 which require that all weapons with a calibre of 100mm or higher be removed at least 50km from the contact line fixed in a memorandum to the Minsk Agreements on September 19. RC3O’s are supposed to be withdrawn at least 70 km, and RS3O Tornado’s, Hurricane’s, and Cyclone’s, along with “Tochka” rockets are stipulated to be as far as 140 km from the front.

On November 5 at approximately 20:00 it was reported that the UAF shelled western Donetsk, Spartak and Zhabichevo (Zhabunki) from Grad installations in the village of Staromikhailovka. The three Grad volleys which hit Donetsk were accompanied by small arms fire. The bombardment of Zhabichevo and Spartak (the area of the Donetsk airport) lasted until 5:00 a.m., and unnamed sources have added that the shelling of the northern outskirts of the city was conducted by 82 mm mortars. 

Viking reported that Ukrainian troops have stepped up their activities in probing DPR defenses and provocatively shelling DPR forces. Viking says: “If earlier provocations occurred in some sectors, then now, when according to our politicians ‘there has been progress in fulfilling the Minsk agreements,’ the UAF has transitioned to a total shelling of the army of the DPR, probing its defenses, and firing on our positions with weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.” Viking summed up the most recent instances:

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  • the UAF has more than once per day opened fire at Spartak and the Donetsk airport with small arms, heavy machine guns, and automatic grenade launches. Their forces were repulsed and have retreated back to positions in Avdeevka.
  • In Peski district, the UAF shelled DPR positions, but there was no retaliation.
  • At the Volvo Center, where Vostok is in position, the UAF has fired with automatic grenade launchers and mortars supposed to be sidelined according to the Minsk agreements.
  • In the direction of Marinskoe, the entire front line glows. Tanks and mortars have opened fire on Donetsk from Petrovka, Aleksandrovka, Staromikhailovka, Abakumova, and other positions. 
  • The UAF has constantly initiated fire fights around Gorlovka using weapons supposed to be sidelined according to Minsk provisions.
  • DPR intelligence has repeatedly recorded and reported the movement of heavy weapons by the UAF  towards the front line, suggesting a possible offensive. 

The summary provided by Viking is confirmed by the militia-wide comprehensive report of developments over the past 24 hours. 

According to Novorossiya Information Agency, UAF occupation forces opened fire on a civilian car passing through the checkpoint at Popasnaya. The driver was killed for allegedly failing to stop at the request of UAF troops.

According to Colonel Cassad, significant changes are underfoot in both the Kremlin and Novorossiya. All of the Russian “curators” in Novorossiya have been dismissed besides Surkov, whose position is “unknown” despite Ukrainian reports of his removal. The supervision and re-selection of “supervisors” has been passed on to the FSB as was the case in the spring and early summer of 2014. “In general, the next reformatting of Russia’s policy in Donbass has begun. Some people believe that this may be due to a possible escalation of the conflict…others talk about an escalation of the struggle over the increasingly scanty budgets of the Russian Federation,” Colonel Cassad writes. Additionally, those responsible for “ideological development” in the DPR have left along with those charged with supervisory duties over Donbass’ economic development.  

However, according to head of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky, Surkov is not affected: “Nothing has changed. Just as we have cooperated with Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov on all key issues, so we are cooperating and will cooperate in the future. This is an insinuation spread by enemies of the republic and Russia.” 

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