Avdeevka Sitrep: Ukrainian provocations ongoing, DPR prepares for rapid response

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February 2, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

Colonel Cassad – translated by J. Arnoldski –

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Ukrainian tanks deployed between civilian homes and apartments (!) in Avdeevka while an officer speaks with an OSCE representative. 

The situation in Avdeevka as of the evening of February 1st: 

1. Despite the efforts of the “international community” and the calls of the UN, OSCE, US, Russia, and EU, the fighting has still not stopped. Attempts to temporarily cease firefights in the Avdeevka area in order to repair damaged infrastructure came to naught as both sides continued to shoot. As is the tradition, both sides blamed each other for now allowing the power supply to Avdeevka be repaired while the partial evacuation of the city continues. 

Due to the destruction of life-support infrastructure [water, heating, electricity – JA] and ongoing firefights, there is no sense in speaking of a normalization of life in Avdeevka. The PR of various Ukrainian politicians on this matter serves purely political purposes. In regards to the situation with the Avdeevka Coke Plant, Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov has been frozen in a kind of split as the continuation and intensification of hostilities could lead to the further destruction of the remnants of his industrial empire.

The shelling of residential areas in the Donetsk People’s Republic is ongoing. Once again, dozens of homes have been damaged, there are killed and wounded among civilians, and various life-support infrastructure have been confirmed as damaged. 

Overall, the war is for now developing in line with the positional warfare scenario which is costly in terms of damage and casualties. Against this backdrop, Savchenko has declared Poroshenko an “enemy of the people” and called for a struggle against him. 

2. However, there have been no serious advances on the front near Avdeevka. Both sides are dealing with heavy fire from cannon and rocket artillery which largely keeps the situation in a positional phase. But here it must be understood that the damage caused by shelling to the first line of defense of the Novorossiyan Armed Forces and Ukrainian Armed Forces is establishing the prerequisites for them to attempt to test the each other’s defenses by throwing into battle tactical battalions from the second tier which will be tasked with rapid operations. At the same time, however, it is not necessarily Avdeevka that will be the main point where a decisive intensification takes place. The UAF’s activity on the Mariupol and Volnovakha fronts almost hints at an alternative scenario.

Both sides are ready for such a turn of events. Donetsk has declared that the UAF is preparing to break through the Avdeevka industrial part with the aim of surrounding DPR troops near Donetsk. Also circulating are various rumors that the go-ahead could be given for a DPR offensive on Avdeevka with the aim of taking the town. 

If civilians are evacuated from Avdeevka, then the Novorossiyan Armed Forces will certainly be strongly tempted to take advantage of this. Avdeevka will risk turning into another Donetsk Airport with the total destruction of the town. This would be largely unavoidable if the UAF fortifies the city. It is worth recalling that despite the cries of “separatists fire at us from cities,” the UAF’s positions in Avdeevka are deployed directly between houses and apartments:

The destruction of these positions would naturally be accompanied with the destruction of the adjacent housing. 

These and other scenarios are currently hanging in the air. 

3. Due to the fact that neither side has enjoyed operational successes, various provocations and propaganda bluffs are in the forefront of the routine of shelling. Today, Ukraine attempted to exacerbate the situation by sending an An-26 scout over the Tavrida and Crimea-1 drilling platforms in the Black Sea, which Kiev does not want to recognize as belonging to Russia. But Ukraine can do nothing with this, hence the flying of a spy plane over the platforms as a form of provocation. They were allegedly fired at from small arms, but Russia has declared that only flares were shot in the direction of the plane, not bullets. Whether they shot or not is irrelevant since this is the territory of the Russian Federation and any violations of a state boarder can be answered with opening fire, including to kill. The main point of this story is that Ukraine needs a media picture of “Ukraine fighting against Russia,” precisely for which this episode is being used. In this regard, it cannot be ruled out that new provocations will surface on the Russian-Ukrainian border, including at Perekop.

We’ve also been confronted with the story of the BUK missile supposedly shot at an OSCE UAV. By the evening it became clear that the OSCE did not lose any drones. Why the BUK rocket was launched, a fragment of which was found in Makeevka, remains unclear. Perhaps the target was DPR drones…

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4. Attacks, provocations, and various information-psychological warfare elements serve the clear aim of creating a media image intended by the initiators of this bloodbath to revive the Western political establishment and media with the image of “Ukraine as a victim” attacked by “Putin’s executioners.” 

Due to the changes in Washington and its likely reassessment of events in Ukraine (today Ukraine noticed that mainstream American media used the term “civil war” in relation to the war in Ukraine), taking into consideration the scenario of a changing out of the Kiev puppets (not in vain did Onishchenko, Pinchuk, and Saakashvili speak against Poroshenko’s corruption from the US – it is none other than there that the question of changing out one Ukro-Fuhrer for another will be decided), as well as regarding the confusion and vacillation in the camp of the US’ European satellites, the picture of “Ukraine fighting Russia” is needed to form a new anti-Russian agenda. In this case, Poroshenko would retain the capacity of political survival and the Euro-Atlantic elites can count on an update of their habitual policy aimed at “containing Russia.” 

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