The OSCE observers admit seven thousand ceasefire violations last week, to 1,000 per day. The real figure is of course much higher, as the OSCE observers are not everywhere, and in any case, they follow a policy of turning a blind eye to the Ukrainian army attacks, if for no other reason that reporting the truth about the situation would put on question not only the mission, but the entire charade of the Minsk agreements, something neither Germany nor Russia desire yet.
By Julio Martinez, for FRN
According to the historical statistics from 20th century wars, only 10% of the rounds fired in shelling and shooting cause casualties (the percentage of hits for small arms’ bullet that wound or kill someone is around 5%), and that the volume of the exchange of fires is much higher, an empirical rule that has been confirmed in previous occasions is that the casualties suffered on that day by the Ukrainian attacker are obtained by dividing the fighting and shelling repots by 10.
That would give an average of 70 daily losses, or 500 that week for the Ukrainian side. As a minimum, Novorussian suffered about 500 casualties (killed and wounded) only in Gorlovka, almost 100 dead in a day, so the estimate of a thousand casualties for the Ukros in that battle must be if not accurate, quite approximate.
Combat and shelling continued in Gorlovka after the attack on the 21st, and lasted until 24 May, but there were no more attempts at infantry attacks.
It seems that in the last three days the intensity of the struggle across the whole front has decreased, further confirming the Ukrainian setback. In any case there is no silence, gunfire and shooting are continuous, especially on the southern front. The Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade attempted to attack near Mariupol, in Talakovka, and received a hard and precise bombardment in response, as the occupying authority of the city acknowledged with regret.
There were also rumors of an advance in Petrovskoe south of Dokuchayevsk, a key position to encircle Donetsk from the south. Apparently, Dennis Pushilin, that disgusting ambusqué at Minsk, caused panic by reporting rumors that the Ukros had took the the town, in flagrant violation of the agreements, that is that the Ukrainians had actually broken the front, when in fact Petrovskoe it is just another of so many towns that are in no man’s land. Simply the Ukrainian “advances” are occupations without opposition of this strip of neutral ground, which leads to an intensification of the fight and the losses as both sides can engage with weapons at closer range, but this “advance”t comes as a disadvantage for the Ukrainians, who abandon their well protected positions and they are more exposed to fire until they become entrenched in the new places.
As for rest, there’s little to comment about, there were desertions of two soldiers of the 14th Brigade who came over to the Novorussian position and surrendered with weapons. That in itself is hardly worth mentioning but is a telling symptom, the desertion reaches already 10% in some Ukrainian units, and some of them are defecting to the Novorussian side. These defections are understandably rarely commented about in order to protect the desertes’s families on the Ukrainian side from reprisals. It’s also significant because unlike 2014-15, there are very few pro-Russian soldiers in the junta army having been drafted against their will and forced to fight against their own people. Most of the Ukrainian soldiers are either amoral volunteers that are in just for money or those dumb, poor, or unlucky enough to be rounded up and drafted, so these desertions confirm the various reports about the bad living conditions in the Ukrainian army: pay in arrears, bad food and housing, and of course that there’s a war going on and the casualties are high enough to make people take the risks of desertion.
Also a high-ranking official of the SBU, a lieutenant colonel, has been killed in an artillery bombardment. I cannot comment if it was luck or good intelligence, but it does confirm a r published report for the US army from an American advisor, a Special Forces colonel, that the Ukrainian troops have reason to fear the artillery fire of the Novorussians, and despite the restrictions forced on them from Moscow to adhere to the Minsk ceasefire which means they fight with a hand tied to their back, their artillery does open up when needed and inflicts painful blows.
There are reports of partisan activity in the occupied Donbass. In the occupied territory around Gorlovka civilians, tired of being used as human shields, by positioning the Ukrainians their material among the houses of the villages, burned a couple of tanks, an armored vehicle and some trucks and cars. Whether this is a spontaneous action, or work of partisans in the enemy’s rearguard, I do not know, but although those operations are cover with a veil of secrecy, as both sides for their own reasons, will not talk about it, it seems that the Ukrainians suffer some losses by mines and attacks in their rear constantly in all these years, and judging from film that shows the precautions they take while on the march against ambush and on their quartering places there’s indeed some risk of attack. At any place this activity is not relevant but it does contribute to the accumulated attrition and it forces the occupiers to use troops in security tasks, subtracting them from offensive.
On desertions in the Ukrainian army: “Even the officers flee”
“The armed forces of Ukraine, which President Petro Poroshenko calls “the most powerful army in Europe”, overwhelmed by defections.”
“Today, the secret documents of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which attest to the deplorable state in the formations of the Kiev forces, have been published on the internet. They relate to the 25th Airborne Brigade, which was withdrawn from the front several days ago.”
“According to the documents, the number of crimes related to desertion simply goes out of scale, since not only soldiers but also officers flee the army. In the roll call of just a single brigade, the 25th, there are 500 deserters. ”
Also 65 soldiers of the brigade were sentenced for drunkenness and military prosecutors filed charges against more than 200 soldiers for disobeying orders. Despite so many defectors, refuseniks and alcoholics, the commander of the 25th Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Oleg Zenchenko informed Kiev that his men are ready to carry out combat missions in the Donbass.”
Author’s comment: If a brigade has about 5,000 men, that’s an alarming desertion rate of 10% (historically that level only happens in a demoralized army on the verge of collapse), and we’re talking about a unit of “paratroopers” that supposedly are the most motivated and trained, although they are paras only in name and few trained soldiers and professional officers from before the war remain.
Losses at the Battle of Gorlovka
It is confirmed that the Battle of Gorlovka was much bigger and more intense than the official briefings say, just think, if it were mere skirmishes between platoons, as reported, why did the Ukrops not continue attacking?
This morning (May 27) there is a report that at the hospital in Dnipropetrovsk many wounded arrived, I take it to mean that they haven’t seen so many wounded since the year 2015, because from that hospital there is indeed detailed information and they did receive a trickle of wounded throughout 2015 and 2016 years, a few a day, as I wrote about in my blog back them.
The removal of the scrap metal from the destroyed material is another indication that confirms the intensity of the battle. The destruction of mortars and military vehicles indicates the harsh response of the Novorussian artillery.
The figures given are modest, but they are only a sample of what has been filmed, with certainty the real losses are much higher.
“Ukrainian militants remove scrap of destroyed tanks, mortars and cars near Gorlovka. According to confirmed data, the “OOS” terrorists near Gorlovka have lost two tanks, two BMP infantry fighting vehicles, a US counter-battery radar set, several mortars and more than ten cars and special military vehicles in recent days. “
These losses are very modest, but I remind the reader that in these circumstances of war of positions, only a fraction of the real losses are photographed and published on the internet. No doubt the actual losses of material are much higher.
Another indication that confirms the serious Ukrainian losses is that they have desisted from more attacks and in addition to entrench themselves, they reinforce their positions by planting mines.
Another ammunition storage site explodes in Ukraine, near Rovno, in the West, video on the link
and in addition, Novorussian heavy caliber artillery hit an ammo dump near the front. Of course the Novorussians always deny responsibility, attributing these explosions to accidents due to carelessness on the part of Ukrainian troops,
It’s good news because the ammunition runs out and these explosions contribute to accelerate the end of the war, although I think it will not end until 2020, when the shortage of ammunition becomes critical.