After the arrival of Strelkov's brigade into Donetsk, the situation in Donbass undergoes strategic changes. In the LPR now, after the saturation of the military dispositions of the militia with combat vehicles and artillery (even though it is catastrophically insufficient), the militia are not only confidently repelling the junta, but on a number of locations are actually trying to transition to offense.
Following Mr. Strelkov's retreat from Slavyansk, heads came off in the leadership of the punitive operation. For now the motives of the resignations are not clear – either they remove the guilty, perhaps for letting the desired prey out of Slavyansk, because the junta's propaganda was already getting ready to celebrate the success related to routing Strelkov's brigade, and now it is forced to display the few trophies like the defective ATGMs and the booby-trapped IFV. As it is not difficult to notice, in the junta's propaganda there were almost no serious trophies, everything was either taken or destroyed – if not for the loss of the armor group that covered the retreat, the junta's actions for blocking Strelkov's breakaway would look completely talentless.
In Donetsk, under the growing howl of the defeatists "We need no war", Mr. Strelkov is busy building the defense, in which he includes local militia besides his own squads. Judging from the fact that the local commanders pose no obstacles to him, certain agreements were already achieved with them or even the direct subordination to Strelkov is established. Mr. Strelkov already managed to visit Luhansk and speak to Mr. Bolotov about cooperation, so the flow of weapons and other things necessary for the defense should amplify from there into Donetsk.
On the abandoned territory, Strelkov's reconnaissance and sabotage groups act actively, complicating movements of the junta's forces. Also, militia takes over the unattended settlements in the vicinity of Donetsk, which the local officials didn't bother to take under their own control.
By fortifying the checkpoints and digging trenches, Mr. Strelkov is preparing Donetsk for a lengthy defense, decisively finishing off the traitorous slacking, which was observed there over the last 2 months. The remaining Ukrainian military units are being captured, Ukrainian symbols are torn off (this is a disgrace, here in Sevastopol almost everything was cut off in 2 weeks, and in Donetsk they didn't manage in 3 months), direct threats were sounded towards the potential troublemakers in the rear strip, and also about creating commandant's offices. Overall, the active work on fortifying the rear is ongoing.
Mr. Khodakovsky disappeared somewhere, the "Vostok" battalion now fights in the vicinity of Snezhnoye, who leads it now – unknown. The mayor Lukyanchenko quickly shuttled to Kiev, after which from there Mr. Poroshenko announced that he is ready for a truce. The reasons for this move are clear – the truce is needed for:
1. Develop the plan of actions against Donetsk (it simply didn't exist, because the junta was sure that after capturing Slavyansk and routing Strelkov, the city will be surrendered).
2. Provide the same as in June interval of time for concentrating forces against Donetsk, without the risk of constant attacks from Strelkov's reconnaissance and sabotage groups.
Actually, there is no ground for cease-fire – both sides are determined to destroy each other – Mr. Strelkov and Co. want to get to Kiev, the junta wants to destroy the rebellion. There is simply no common ground for negotiations, that is why the truce is an obvious tactical ploy and even if it will be announced again, then the shooting will occur every day.
Despite capturing Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and Artyomovsk, there is no serious movement towards Debaltsevo, Gorlovka, and Donetsk for now. It is not happening because the leaders of the punitive operation didn't even pose the problem of capturing Donetsk by military action and now they are frantically trying to develop the military plan of actions.
Meanwhile on the captured territory there is rough filtration going on – those who supported the militia are snatched, men are attempted to be enlisted into "penal battalions" (the uninvolved won't be able to sit things through, this is obvious), and also silently shoot people from blacklists, there is also constant meddling in the rear related to the reconnaissance and sabotage group actions, which act on the "hit and run" principle, in view of which the junta is forced to keep a part of its forces in the rear, in order to protect the stretched communications and to control cities.
On the front lines currently there are mechanized assault units and special forces squads, pulling in vehicles and artillery even if the communications are free will take up to 7-8 days. If there is serious trouble in the rear, then up to 10-12 days. By the middle of the month the junta will concentrate sufficient forces in order to perform offensive actions towards Gorlovka and Donetsk suburbs. If it will deploy a portion of forces to Debaltsevo or into Lisichansk flank, then it won't have sufficient forces even to blockade Donetsk. That is why the main problem for the junta will be the question – where to attack – on Debaltsevo in order to cut the DPR from the LPR, on Lisichansk, in order to push Mozgovoi group back or to hammer forward on Donetsk.
The main problem of Strelkov – lack of men and weapons, at this time, taking the local militia into account he can put up under Donetsk and Gorlovka up to 7-8 thousands of militia fighters with a few armored vehicles (up to 20-25 units), against which the junta puts up to 18-22 thousand soldiers (most likely, there will be less) and 190-210 units of armored vehicles (tanks, IFV, amphibious IFV, APC), 100-120 cannons and mortars + air support.. The ratio is unfavorable, but for now it is tolerable because when sitting in defense it can be leveled by using industrial area and local knowledge.
Surrounding Donetsk will be difficult, because fighting under Saur-Mogila, where the militia already actively use tanks and howitzers, showed that when the ratio in equipment is leveled on the tactical level, the weakness of the junta's infantry immediately starts to show – from this the heavy losses of the punitive troops from "Azov" and similar units.
The temper tantrum in Kiev due to the difficult situation of the junta's group on the South of Donbass is a reflection of the mismatch between the posed problems and the new reality, in which the junta's forces will have to get directly involved in the fight for the Donetsk agglomeration, and this problem is so much harder than the fight for Slavyansk.
The key tasks before Strelkov at this time are:
1. Consolidating his power over the local warlords with whom he will have to hold the Donetsk agglomeration, and also establish robust connections with groups who hold the Northern front as well as the squads in the LPR. Primarily, close interaction is required with the squads of Mozgovoi, Bolotov, Kozitsyn, and also with groups who hold Snezhnoye, Krasnodon, and the border with the Russian Federation (as of today the hole there is about 60-80 km – the junta failed to capture Izvarino in the end). The process of transforming the militia into the army needs to be accelerated.
2. Establishing close connection with Bolotov regarding shipments of weapons, equipment, and volunteers. It is necessary to both receive new tanks and IFVs and to create an artillery fist, with which it may be possible to repel the enemy who has significant advantage in forces.
3. Intensifying recruitment of volunteers from locals and visitors, and also the process of educating and integrating new people into the already existing and newly formed units.
4. Building defensive installations, mining roads and bridges, creating defensive lines, and firing emplacements.
5. Cleansing of the rear strip from enemy agents and criminal elements, activating the work of military counter-intelligence, and the SMERSH.
6. Blocking any attempts of collusion behind the back of the militia in the interest of the junta and Mr. Akhmetov.
7. Political prostitutes like Mr. Kurginyan and persons who work for both sides, need to be removed from Donetsk by any available means (from officers of Russian special force unit "Alpha" – "Kurginyan is a provocateur and a traitor. Strelkov carried out a competent tactical operation").
8. Force the political leadership of the DPR to actively enlist into organizing the rear and information warfare, putting an end to laxity, rosy illusions, Manilovism, in order to finally start creating the real and not virtual Donetsk People's Republic.
9. Delivering the message to the population of the Donetsk agglomeration of conscription age that indifference won't save them from the war, but it will only bring the war to their home. Propaganda plus material incentives, should help people understand, that the more they sit in their homes, the more people will perish (including their friends and relatives) and increase the number of the DPR fighters to the 8-10 thousand, which Strelkov needs for successful warfare.
10. Broadcasting the conviction to the people that the war will go on until victory, no matter how hard it will be. And also broadcasting this conviction to Russia, so that there they won't try to silently dump Mr. Strelkov and the DPR, even despite the pressure from the West, so that the existing channels of the unofficial official as well as the popular aid, continue to function.
Overall, the active combat in the Donetsk region need to be expected in about a week, when the junta will concentrate sufficient forces for offensive operations.
In the current alignment, capturing Donetsk appears to be very problematic, if at all possible. The vigorous leadership of Strelkov obviously will raise the chances of Donetsk for successful defense, which will most likely lead to the irremediable for the junta prolongation of the war in Donbass, which becomes increasingly similar to the Yugoslavia scenario, which in this case one way or another will lead the DPR and the LPR to independence. Mr. Strelkov is one of those people who can actually achieve it given sufficient aid and proper level of organization.
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1656151.html (in Russian)