A brief but important update.
1. Regarding optimism. All of our sources in Novorossia are very positive about the development of the offensive towards Volnovakha, Mariupol, and to the southwest of Donetsk. You know, I am typically skeptical while assessing various triumphant reports, but the information from the fronts (open and closed), the configuration of the front lines, and the current trends are obvious, as well as their possible consequences. Of course, the militia may not have enough forces in some places, there may be some mistakes in planning (recall that mistakes were made not only by the junta - our command recently missed an attack on Krasnyi Luch and the breakthrough to Novosvetlovka), somewhere the junta may start fighting tooth and nail, and slow down or stop the offensive. And, anyway, this offensive will definitely run out of steam at some point. But this will not happen immediately, and no matter how the events will unfold in the next 3-4 days, the outcome will almost certainly be positive for us. In war, everything is possible, but nobody can change the objective operational factors. So, despite my well-known skepticism, I view the new developments optimistically.
2. The talks in Minsk were largely fruitless. Mr. Poroshenko was essentially asked to discuss the departure of Donbass from Ukraine. Because he cannot accept this for political reasons, his counteroffers were completely divorced from reality, e.g. asking to "return control of the border" to the Ukraine, and were no longer interesting to anybody.
The Kremlin is clearly pushing for a situation where the junta would be forced to recognize something like a Greater Transnistria, and if it refuses to acknoweledge reality, then the futility of fighting for Donbass would be explained to it by purely military means. Yesterday's speech by Zakharchenko and today's announcement by Gubarev, with openly voiced threats of occupying regions adjacent to DPR/LPR by force, is also a warning for Poroshenko, who, however, is dependent on USA and on the fascist radicals, neither of which are interested in ending the war. Overall, the war will go on, and one can guarantee that the active fighting will last at least until mid-September, with a possible extension in October - Poroshenko cannot capitulate before the elections to the Rada, otherwise he will be simply swept away and he will not get the kind of parliament he wants.
3. In this regard, donating autumn and winter uniforms is becoming increasingly important. Cold weather is possible as early as late September - early October. Thanks to all of you who have already responded and participated in preparing the army of Novorossiya for the fall campaign. As usual, those who want to help the militia with gear and various equipment, please contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Special thanks to our comrades who are now preparing a shipment of newly made "Novorossiya" chevrons for the soldiers of the people's republics - the standard flag of Novorossia was taken as a base, in the form of a shield where "Novorossia", as well as the slogan "Liberty and Labor", are embroidered in gold thread. Maybe we will be able to ship out uniforms with chevrons already on.
4. I talked to the sabotage/reconnaissance group (SRG) fighters from "Oplot", who are in Rostov for treatment after being wounded in combat in July. Of course, I won't tell everything (not until after the war), but certain things I can tell.
They are waiting for Strelkov in Krasnodon, but the decision is still pending. People are really hoping that Strelkov will help to put an end to anarchy near the border, strengthening the unity of command with his reputation. It is expected that anarchist actions of Cossack ataman Kozitsyn and the like will soon come to an end.
There is better control over the transfers through the border from the Russian side. The facts of selling weapons from the LPR back into Russia weren't ignored by the Russian Federation and there's a more stringent security regime now. are mostly what’s needed. SRG operatives usually try to find more expensive equipment (imported scopes with a German steel bracket cost about 2.5-3.5 thousand dollars). A good scope can increase the effectiveness of even a standard-issue SVD several times over. It was also confirmed that with proper modification, WWII PTRS anti-tank rifles can be used as sniper rifles – as long as the gun is in good condition, and with high-quality imported scope, the range is up to 1.2-1.4 km (an American advisor in Mariupol was sniped with a PTRS, too) . Some of the PTRSes were bought from the junta warehouses in Soledar way back in April.
They are trying to standardize automatic rifles for infantrymen by issuing AKMs(7.62 caliber) to everyone - AKSU and AKS(5.45 caliber) are less effective fighting in forests. They almost never use foreign-made weapons, both because of the higher reliability of Soviet weapons and because of the wide availability of 7.62 and 12.7 ammo. Some snipers use captured Austrian rifles, which do have a greater range and accuracy than the standard SVD. In general - snipers would be happy to get good steel mounting brackets, expensive foreign-made scopes (or our modern analogues for special forces); quality thermal imaging and night vision devices are also needed. Quality equipment for trained SRG operative (engaged in frontline combat or raiding the enemy rear) can cost as much as 7-10 thousand dollars. Military mountain boots are preferred for footwear; urban warfare requires spherical helmets, body armor level V.
They have met mercenaries - fought Poles during the battles for Kozhevnya in July. Those fought professionally (our side lost more than 10 people and 2 tanks in those clashes - 1 broken down, 1 knocked out), but very carefully, due to which they missed good opportunities. In general, they were evaluated quite highly as adversaries, in contrast to the ordinary soldiers of the junta, who usually cannot withstand a serious firefight for a long time and tend to flee if put under real pressure. The Right Sector militants are usually not taken as POWs, as opposed to conscripts, who are either released back to their homes or exchanged for our prisoners. Conscripts are very easy to distinguish from professional fascists by their old and dirty uniforms and their lack of modern equipment.
5. I have also clarified the information about 1200 specialists mentioned by Zakharchenko, who were hyped up as 1200 Russian military personnel. In fact, these are volunteers from among the locals who underwent training for various technical specialties, so trained people who are able to use armored vehicles and artillery systems are now present in many units. Here is an example from the battles for Shakhtersk - when VSU paratroopers entered the city, the first IFV was blasted to pieces by the “Oplot”’s T64 from just less than 100 feet (thus the well-known video with a bunch of corpses scattered on the street - the ammo inside blew up, the and the people who sat on top were scattered in pieces all around the IFV), the second BMD hit a tree in panic and the soldiers began to flee through the backyards of houses, while the third IFV threw a track that was damaged by an explosion, and was also abandoned. So the militiamen managed to start the IFV that got stuck by a tree, put a trained person as a driver, and this vehicle took part in the fighting on our side in just a couple of hours. This is just one result of the work on the preparation of armored vehicle specialists that was announced back in May. It is nice to know that the words weren't far away from the deeds in this case.
PS. And regarding the tank on the top photo, they write http://www.novorosinform.org/news/id/7083 (in Russian) that this tank strayed away from the rest of the unit and encountered militia positions, which fired at it with heavy machineguns. The crew panicked and fled, the commander surrendered. The tank was commanded by the chief supply officer of the 40th Battalion of the military unit №2603, captain Fedoseyenko. Militiamen want to exchange this hero-tankist for captured DPR soldiers.