July 12th arrived, which was viewed as a border date for the offensive that started on July 1st.
It can be stated that the optimistic plans of the junta leadership did not come to fruition. The DPR and the LPR continue to resist confidently, and the offensive is noticeably running out of steam and has a number of issues.
It is possible to make certain conclusions from the 12 days of fighting.
Luhansk People's Republic
Over the 12 days of fierce fighting on the North accessions into Luhansk the junta couldn't make essential advances into the city suburbs. The fighting for the last few days has a strictly positional nature. The sides suffer losses, but there is no substantive change in the situation. Saturating the militia military disposition with vehicles and the emergence of artillery systems and the MLRS and also stubborn defense of the LPR infantry, in essence led to the failure of plans of the offensive on Luhansk.
The Luhansk airport is still holding on, but at this stage it is not clear how it can be unblocked.
The convergent attacks on the border also didn't reach their goal, the hole on the border wasn't closed in the end – from the North the junta's forces got stuck into bloody combat under Izvarino and Krasnopartizansk. From the militia side the MLRS already entered combat, which shell the junta's forces that advance to Izvarino, yesterday only the MLRS attack helped to stop the stubborn junta attempts to capture Izvarino.
The Southern group does even worse, it got stuck in fighting a bit to the North of Dolzhanka, the junta's forces stretched into a long sausage from Saur-Mogila to Dolzhanka, and the supply lines got cut near Saur-Mogila, which resulted in the junta's forces already feeling the lack of supplies, meanwhile the rear is constantly attacked by the reconnaissance and sabotage groups of the militia, and the group itself already effectively has to transition to defense.
Stopping the South group and pulling the North group into fighting for Izvarino and Krasnopartizansk allowed the militia to preserve supply channels, through which volunteers and various cargo arrive, meanwhile on the LPR territory the accumulation of armor and artillery systems continues, which through the territory of the LPR are pushed through into the territory of the DPR.
Correspondingly, over the 12 days of the offensive the junta is yet to solve the main tasks – it couldn't gain a foothold on the Luhansk outskirts, it couldn't establish control over the border, it failed to cut the LPR communications with Russia, it couldn't unblock the surrounded Luhansk airport.
Meanwhile, very serious losses in men and equipment were suffered. Overall, by the 12th it can be stated that the LPR militia gained significant strength (numerically and technically) and carried out a successful defensive operation, disrupting the junta's offensive plans. Mr. Bolotov's and Mr. Kozitsyn's achievements are worth noting in the work of organizing the successful defense of the LPR.
Donetsk People's Republic.
The junta achieved most success on the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk direction. By refusing to engage in frontal assault against Slavyansk, over the fighting of July 1–4 the junta forces managed to wrap Strelkov's group and cut its communications by capturing Nikolayevka, after which the Strelkov brigade ended up in operational encirclement.
Strelkov managed to pull off a break-out through Kramatorsk and with relatively insignificant losses retreated to Donetsk and Gorlovka, after which after insignificant fighting Artemovsk and Seversk were abandoned. The fatal role for the militia defense served the eventually not captured Soledar (where the warehouses of guns are located), and also the junta's garrison that survived in Artyomovsk in the vicinity of the tank base, which also weren't destroyed in the end. The reasons for this had a political origin and were related to the surrender of Donetsk to the junta that was being prepared, which was another reason for the rapid retreat of Strelkov exactly into Donetsk. The tactically correctly organized retreat allowed Strelkov to break out of the pocket that was being formed and to seriously reinforce the defense of Donetsk and Gorlovka, after which the militia immediately transitioned to actions related to capturing the not yet captured Ukrainian units and authorities, more serious attacks against the blockaded Donetsk airport and to occupying the forefield. By 12th the new front line stretched from Saur-Mogila through Snezhnoye to Donetsk and Gorlovka. The central hub of the new position is Debaltsevo, which is in essence the center of the position of the whole Novorossia and by losing this settlement the DPR and the LPR are threatened with dismemberment and with being killed by parts. The militia simply must protect Debaltsevo by all means, otherwise the Slavyansk pocket will simply repeat on a larger scale.
The Lisichansk-Severodonetsk group of Mozgovoi ended up in a fairly difficult situation, which holds the defense in a protrusion, which the junta may try to cut off as forces are accumulated. Nevertheless, despite the abandoned cities, the main tasks are not solved by the junta here as well, after reaching the operational success under Slavyansk the junta nevertheless couldn't destroy the main militia forces. In the area of Snezhnoye and Saur-Mogila the junta got pulled into low-perspective fighting, trying to breach the militia defense, and suffering huge losses in manpower, as the result of which the offensive against the DPR from the South effectively fizzled out. The junta push from the areas of Kramatorsk and Slavyansk towards Donetsk resulted in a series of battles on the approaches which go on with varying success, and in a number of locations the junta was forced to retreat, because under Donetsk the MLRS and artillery emerged besides armor, which changed the situation on the tactical level crucially.
Because Strelkov's maneuver disrupted the surrender of Donetsk and led to the emergence of the joint command of the DPR with intiating rebuilding the militia into a full-fledged army, the junta here ended up before the threatening necessity of storming Donetsk, to which it was clearly not ready even on the level of planning. That is why the sensible offensive actions currently can be observed in the gap between Gorlovka and Lisichansk, where the junta is trying to advance deeper into the DPR in order to cut off the forming front line. The main task of the militia here will be exactly extinguishing the offensive impulse of the junta, because it can achieve strategic goals only here. The direct assaults on Donetsk and Lisichansk are unlikely to offer rapid success, and the offensive is already noticeably fizzling out, the infantry will be clearly not ready for heavy urban fighting, where the militia will be supported by armor and artillery. Therefore, the crucial hubs of the defense will be attempted to be bypassed, in order to force retreat after intercepting communications.
Overall on the DPR territory the militia is restraining the junta's offensive, but the situation is more difficult, because there are still questions of forming the front line between Gorlovka and Lisichansk with exit to Debaltsevo. If this problem will be solved, then it will be possible to say that here as well the junta's offensive didn't lead to the decisive results. The credit for this primarily goes to the units of Strelkov, Mozgovoi, and Bezler. The plans of "blitzkrieg" that were announced in press didn't come to fruition. The backstage plans of dumping the DPR also didn't work.
By July 12th the relation of forces is the following: the militia has 29-33 thousand under arms on the territory of the DPR and the LPR, up to 30-35 units of armor (not including the combat-capable monuments) + unknown quantity of the MLRS, howitzers, various cannons (anti-tank, recoilless), and mortars, a significant number of MANPADS and several SAMs.
The junta concentrated by the 12th up to 48-53 thousands of infantry, up to 280 units of armor, up to 250 cannons and mortars, 10-12 helicopters, and up to 25 aircraft.
Overall the prevailing relation of forces doesn't allow to expect the rapid end of war. Most likely the junta will be forced to suspend the offensive for regrouping, rotation of the units that suffered serious losses, securing communications on Donetsk and Dolzhansk directions, growing the manpower of the group up to 70-80 thousands and then starting a new offensive. By the end of this month at current reinforcement rates the militia should confidently breach 40 000 men, which with preserving the supply channels will allow to hold the strategic defense relatively successfully and to perform offensive actions on certain locations.
Russia continues to occupy a purely defensive diplomatic position, while keeping the unofficial support of what is happening. After the events in Donetsk, one more curator on the state security side showed up there, who will have to establish singular authority in the security structures of the DPR and put an end to the sabotage of the war effort in the political and the security structures of the DPR. The political decision about the military intervention/dumping Novorossia at this time isn't made and in the nearest weeks absent serious changes on the front lines, Russia will keep the previous line of conduct.
In this respect the main burden of fighting will be carried by the militia of the DPR and the LPR, which will have to finally become the army and to deflect at least one more serious offensive by the junta's forces. At current tendencies, if the militia will be able to keep the main cities of the DPR and the LPR under its control, by mid-August/early-September it will be able to transition to specific offensive operations.
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1661754.html (in Russian)