Russians against Russians: Ukraine’s new offensive in Donbass

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June 1, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

By Eduard Popov –  translated by Inessa Sinchougova 

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Today, a well-known political scientist, an expert in the Moscow Carnegie Foundation, Dmitry Oreshkin, said that the war in the Donbass is over. According to him, shooting and provocations are possible, but neither Ukraine, nor the republics of Donbass will advance.

However, the head of information and propaganda portal of military intelligence of Ukraine (GUR), and deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, Dmitry Tymchuk disagrees. According to him, Oreshkin and other political scientists who claim that the war is over, are rushing to conclusions. Neither of the sides have achieved their goals, which means that there are still grounds for resuming full-fledged military operations.

I fully agree with this opinion. The recent weeks and months of aggravation of the situation in the Donbass leave little reason for optimism.

I will quote excerpts from the statistics of the People’s Militia of the DPR about the shelling of the territory of the republic in the last few days.

May 24: The Armed Forces of the Ukraine (AFU) violated the ceasefire 55 times. 16 DPR settlements fell into the zone of bombardment. The Ukrainian military used rocket launcher systems (MLRS), artillery, tanks (types of weapons that are located near the line of delineation of sides and are prohibited by the Minsk agreements), mortars, anti-tank missile systems, armoured vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, grenade launchers, and small arms.

May 28: The AFU violated the ceasefire 64 times, firing at 19 settlements of the republic. As a result of bombardment, 9 residential buildings were damaged in Staromikhailovka, Zaitsevo and Dokuchaevsk.

May 29: on the Gorlovsky and Donetsk tracks, the AFU shelled Zaitsevo, Ozerianovka, Red Partizan. In the south-west of Gorlovka, Ukrainian reconnaissance drones were seen. In the direction of Donetsk, the AFU fired on the area of ​​the Yasinovat checkpoint, Spartak, the area of ​​the former airport, the neighbourhood of the “Volvo Center”, Trudovsky. The fire came from artillery with the caliber of 122 mm and 120 mm mortars (prohibited by the Minsk Agreements).

May 30: The AFU violated the ceasefire 55 times. In total, 23 settlements of the Republic were subjected to attack from the AFU. In Yasinovatiy, six houses were damaged, a power plant and a gas pipeline. The Ukrainians used artillery pieces, mortars (including heavy mortars), infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers. Along with the shelling, the Ukrainian side violates the Minsk agreements by producing concentration of manpower and military equipment. Under Gorlovka and Mariupol, heavy guns and tanks have been brought in. These areas, as well as Donetsk, continue to remain the main targets for the aggressive actions of the AFU.

This is only a small excerpt from the statistics of Ukraine’s violation of the Minsk Agreements.

Along with shelling, Ukraine applies other ways of violating the Minsk agreements and continues the genocide of the population of Donbass.

Located in the west of Donetsk, the town of Krasnogorovka, was fired upon several times by Ukrainian security forces. Among the victims are civilians, as well as damage to houses. Ukrainian propaganda stated that the bombardment was carried out by the DPR.

According to intelligence reports of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic, Ukrainian punishers planned a “bloody” provocation to Avdeevka (a small town north of Donetsk), similar to the recent shelling of Krasnogorovka. According to Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the operational command of the DPR, the shooting of Avdeevka is planned to be carried out in the same way as the shelling of Krasnogorovka, having also utilised two directions of fire. Ammunition has already been brought in.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the population of Avdeevka supports the DPR almost universally. The author of these lines himself lived in this city for quite a long time; here I have relatives and friends. There is no sense in shelling a city which is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the DPR. To shell the city remains the desire of the military and political leadership of Ukraine.

The fighting in this city at the end of January and beginning of February gave President Poroshenko the ability to declare to the whole world the humanitarian disaster in Avdeevka. The Ukraine is not the first to use such tactics of provocation and shelling of cities and villages, which supported the referendum of the DPR and LPR, and were subsequently occupied by the Ukraine. Similarly, the Ukraine organised mortar shelling of a shuttle bus in Volnovakha (controlled by the AFU), for which it blamed the DPR. Subsequently, Donetsk provided evidence of Ukraine’s involvement in this terrorist attack, with Kiev attempting to silence this problem. 

So, the above facts (more precisely, a small selection of facts) indicate that there is no truce in the conflict zone in the Donbass. On the contrary, the war of low intensity continues. According to the testimony of many civilians of the same Donetsk artillery shelling can be heard across the entire city with a population of one million. Therefore, the words of the Moscow political scientist, who talked about peace in Donetsk, can only be believed with a fair amount of sarcasm. 

But what happens on the perimeter of the borders of the DPR and the LPR? I will repeat what I said in an interview with Russian media.

In the spring of this year, the Ukraine carried out a concentration of manpower and military equipment in the area. It should be noted that Ukraine has done a great job of replenishing the loss of armaments and military equipment and officers, although it suffers a greater or lesser deficit of both. Thus, at the Kharkov Tractor Plant and the Lviv Armored Factory, the production and repair of tanks was set up. 

These and other defense enterprises came into significant money (there is nothing known about their source, it is possible to only assume their foreign origin). Workers and engineers of these plants get a good salary by Ukrainian standards and work on the production of tanks, which will be used to shoot at the peaceful cities of Donbass. The situation with aviation, which suffered irreparable losses during the military campaign of summer-autumn of 2014, is worse. Military equipment was removed from the conflict zone in the Donbass, withdrawn from conservation in the exclusion zone at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. 

In other words, part of the units utilised in Donbass have increased radioactive content, which threatens human life and, at least, the health of Ukrainian soldiers and officers. Literally, all the reserves from the interior and the border areas were transferred to the “ATO” zone; the western and south-western borders of Ukraine remained without military cover. It seems incredible, but even the units guarding the border of Ukraine with the Republic of Crimea were also removed, and transferred to the Donbass. 

As military experts from Ukraine, Russia and the Donbass republics have repeatedly noted, the Armed Forces have 2-3, and sometimes 4 times superiority in manpower and certain types of weapons and military equipment in the Donbass. 

At the same time, the issue of mobilizing resources is acute in Ukraine. In fact, there is another wave of mobilization in the country currently. In the first and second waves of mobilizing, long lines of volunteers were created. Now, there is a wave of desertion. According to representatives of military intelligence of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ukraine, 10,000 Ukrainian servicemen have deserted. I think these figures are not exaggerated. In Western Ukraine, desertion of mass proportion took place in order to escape the military ‘agendas’ that were handed out by military commissariats (compulsory notices to serve in the army). Young men were handed out agendas literally in the workplace and were immediately seated in buses and taken to military commissariat offices. In part, such measures can be explained by the size of Ukrainian labour migration to Poland, for example, estimated to be at least 1-1.5 million people. 

As a result, mostly residents of ethnically Russian regions of Ukraine go to fight in the Donbass. Therefore, Russians are at war with Russians. Western Ukrainians-Galicians and Rusyns never differed in courage in battle and were, as a rule, poor soldiers, unlike Little Russians (Malorossi) and Russians (Great Russians). So, it is not the nationalist regions of Galicia, but the inhabitants of historical Novorossia, who are fighting for the cause of the “great Ukraine”. 

It is more difficult for the AFU to deal with the level of cadre officers. Military sources in Ukraine openly note the shortage of trained personnel, as well as a wave of dismissals of officers who received combat experience in the Donbass. To compensate for this shortage, the Ukraine went to the Jesuit way: they created a system of ultra-short 3-month courses for graduates of military departments of civilian universities. Together with diplomas on graduation from the university or institute, the graduate receives officer shoulder straps and is mobilized into the active army. 

The level of psychological and ideological motivation of these newly-minted officers, as well as the level of their professional training leaves much to be desired. I believe, however, that this is not the main thing. Kyiv’s plans are not about the maximum reduction in the level of losses among young officers, but the maximum number of servicemen who take part in the Donbass war. This is necessary in order to weaken the separatist tendencies in the regions of Ukraine and to connect all the inhabitants with the blood of the Donbass. This is a model of total war, borrowed from the Third Reich in the last years of its existence. 

The ruling regime of Ukraine benefits from heavy losses among poorly trained officer corps, privates and sergeants of the Armed Forces, as well as large losses among the civilian population of Donbass. Reconciliation with the Donbass on the wave of general hatred of the kleptocratic regime of Poroshenko-Groysman will become almost impossible after that. That’s what Poroshenko’s regime is trying to achieve by organizing a new wave of mobilization and accelerated officer courses. 

It is also obvious to us why it was necessary to remove military units from the Chongar Isthmus and denude the Ukrainian defense from the side of the Crimea. Ukraine unpretentiously invites Russia to strike at the unprotected underbelly of Ukraine to immediately blame the “imperial Moscow” for aggression against the “European” Bandera’s Ukraine. Thus, mass production and repair of military equipment, speedily preparing the officer corps, focusing all available living force, armaments and military equipment on the borders with the republics of Donbass, Ukraine does not demonstrate an attitude toward peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Therefore, a renewed war in the Donbass cannot be averted. The only question that remains is whether it’s sooner or later. 

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