Ukraine is preparing for the defense on the line Slavyansk – Mariupol
According to the data of "Russian Vesti", the leadership of the Ukrainian army has a pessimistic outlook on the perspectives of the ATO. Already now the generals close to the minister of defense Valery Geletey are preparing plans for the autumn-winter campaign and the possible retreat from under Donetsk and Luhansk. The leadership in the Ministry of Defense believes that the main goal of the Ukrainian army in the case of a retreat will be fortifying on the line Slavyansk–Mariupol and preventing the breakthrough of DPR militia fighters into Kharkov region and Zaporozhye. With this goal in mind currently the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine started creating two fortified areas: the FA "Slavyansk – Kramatorsk – Druzhkovka – Konstantinovka – Artemovsk" and the FA "Mariupol". It is supposed that the FA "Slavyansk – Kramatorsk – Druzhkovka – Konstantinovka – Artemovsk" will not allow the DPR militia to organize an offensive on Kharkov, and the FA "Mariupol" – on Zaporozhye. The leadership of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine doesn't consider the Dnepropetrovsk direction as realistic for the DPR militia offensive.
Defensive infrastructure is created in these fortified areas, military detachments and materiel are gathered there, the air-defense is reinforced, a reliable system of aerial communication based on the Kramatorsk and Mariupol airports is also created.
The leadership of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense plans to concentrate its efforts on the defense of these two fortified areas in the case of a retreat.
http://rosvesty.ru/2144/za-rubezhom/9642-ukraina-gotovitsya-k-oborone-po-linii-slavyansk-mariupol/ (in Russian) – link
PS. This variant cannot be ruled out already in medium-term perspective. The offensives on Donetsk and Luhansk are clearly running out of steam, they failed to cut the DPR from the LPR, they failed to cut off the border, the relation of forces even though remained to the junta's advantage, but equalizing of this relation to the benefit of the militia is obvious. And huge losses in people and materiel. So a complex of reasons is apparent, which already force the military leadership of the junta to think about defense.
The problem here is that because the junta was advancing using its advantage in forces and, without paying attention to flanks, wedged into militia combat formations, then if the latter will transition to counter-offensives, these wedges will inevitably turn into cauldrons, which we already saw during the fighting for the South Cauldron, Miusinsk, and Krasnyi Luch. Given the increase of militia forces, the current configuration of the front lines provides opportunities not only for unimpeded advance in those places where the junta has no military (like this happened with the breakthrough of the reconnaissance and sabotage groups to the "Uspenka" checkpoint) but also for the attacks that cut the numerous protrusions and wedges, which, keeping in mind the low quality of the junta's infantry, may lead to new defeats. Therefore, it is quite natural that, observing the current tendency in the development of military actions, the junta increasingly understands that this won't be over in the Summer and there will be an Autumn campaign and a Winter one is also quite probable, which is best encountered not in the field with cut communications, but in defense on well-fortitifed positions with support of major settlements. In the case of final failure under Donetsk, the junta will sooner or later be pushed, both south of Donetsk and north of Luhansk. The described line Slavyansk-Mariupol is so to say a backup plan because the political leadership of the junta still has a hope of succeeding in August, but from the military point of view this is already unlikely. Today, without joking, is August 21. The general offensive with the goal of destroying Novorossia started on July 1st. Yes, several important cities were occupied and a part of the territory of the DPR. But at the same time huge losses were suffered in people and materiel, not a single strategic goal was achieved. And this is despite the fact that the junta's forces were many times bigger than the militia forces in people and materiel, not speaking of aviation. Nevertheless, in general the DPR and the LPR militia successfully conduct a strategic defensive operation against a mobilized regular army and during the last 3-4 days counter-attack increasingly more often.
Overall, the tendencies of the last days are frankly pleasant, although the crisis isn't fully overcome yet.
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1742185.html (in Russian)