On the situation in Donbass by the evening of September 17th.
1. Strategically, the situation didn't change much. The intercepted communications of the junta military groups that tried to encircle Gorlovka created a solid reserve for major purely military successes if the military action will transition to a more active stage. It is not possible to speak about a complete encirclement yet, but at current tendencies one of the groups may end up in a full-fledged cauldron within 2-3 days. Overall, the enemy, having transitioned to the formation of strike military fists, cannot maintain the needed density of the front on all of its breadth. Thus, even despite its numerical advantage over the NAF in headcount and in the number of armored vehicles, the junta has substantial weaknesses in its front lines: the location between Mariupol and Volnovakha, the front to the north of Lugansk, the gaps between groups that attack Yasinovataya and hold the Debalcevo-Soledarsk protrusion. Significant forces of the junta are involved in holding obviously disadvantageous protrusions that simply ask to be cut. The current announcements by the NAF that supposedly "the largest encirclement of the war was created" are of course an exaggeration. The group of 2000-2500 soldiers with severed communications is clearly inferior to both the South Cauldron 1.0 and the Ilovaysk-Amvrosiyevka cauldron. Nevertheless, this is an indication that the junta continues to get into encirclements just like it used to do. The quality of its military management even during the supposedly "peaceful" period leaves much to be desired.
2. With respect to concentration, the main forces of the junta are already deployed into Donbass. The junta cannot grow the group substantially yet. Taking the planned rotation of the detachments and the combat capable units that were pulled into the front into account, the junta can reinforce its group only by throwing restored battalion-tactical groups of previously routed detachments into action. However, their combat qualities appear quite dubious due to large losses in personnel and materiel. In essence, absent the 4-th wave of mobilization, the junta cannot substantially increase the headcount of its group, which remains approximately on the level of early July of 2014. Considering the failure of the previous 3 waves of mobilization, the possible results of the 4-th also trigger certain skepticism. The junta, of course, isn't close to the limiting values of its mobilization potential, but it is already experiencing serious difficulties. All of this is aggravated by materiel issues: by various estimates, the junta lost about 60-70% of materiel present in Donbass (and the worst thing for the junta is that more than 220 armored vehicles of varying degree of combat readiness ended up being captured by the NAF, which already put between a quarter and a third of captured trophies into action).
Of course, there are still many tanks, IFVs, SPH, and MLRS in warehouses and repair facilities, but reinforcements in August and September couldn't compensate for huge losses. The attempts of getting materiel from NATO countries and the attempts to buy back the vehicles that were shipped on international defense contracts are supposed to close the gap in materiel that was formed. Ukraine continues to reap the fruits of its horrible looting of Soviet military legacy.
3. The situation of Donetsk airport remains the same. The junta holds it despite the fact that the NAF blockaded it once again.
The junta systematically shells the militia positions using tanks and cannons. In retaliation, the militia pile shells and rockets on the airport. Absence of high calibers here prevents smoking the enemy out of the branched system of underground and concrete facilities, which allow the enemy to protect its manpower. Nevertheless, materiel losses and supply issues lead to the attempts to unblock the airport and to push new forces in there. Some of these attempts lead to heavy losses, when the breaking troops fall under concentrated artillery fire by the NAF. On the other hand, there are also the facts of breakthroughs that happened during the "strange armistice", which were lately announced by Strelkov. To a reasonable question of why would Strelkov know about all of these events, I remind that his field commanders are engaged there even up to now, starting from general Petrovsky, so Strelkov knows perfectly well what's going on at the front. Regarding the airport, it is necessary to mention the announcement from the junta media that suggested about certain negations in which the junta supposedly proposed to surrender the airport to the NAF in exchange for the retreat of the NAF from Mariupol by 5 kilometers. A somewhat strange proposal, considering the stubborness with which the junta is clinging to the airport. But perhaps the necessity of keeping it became dubious lately, so they tried to exchange it for some operational benefits on other locations. Overall, this variant remained purely speculative for now.
Translation of the text above:
The fire on Lugansk thermal power plant was extinguished. The north part of Lugansk region has no electricity: this is Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, Rubezhnoye, Novoaidar, Starobelsk, more than a million and a half people. But the worst thing is that the miners are underground. They cannot get back to the surface without electricity. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the power station was mined. The DTEK personnel makes every effort to restore the electric supply so that the miners can return to the surface. 21 mine is fed from the Lugans thermal power plant.
4. To the north of Lugansk, due to the organizational weakness of LPR military squads that don't have joint coordination and act at sixes and at sevens, the enemy is slowly retreating on a number of locations, although nothing significant actually happens. The fighting continues in the area of Schastye, Stanitsa Luganskaya, Slavyanoserbsk, and Veselaya Gora, just like it used to. Wide wrapping and encirclement of the junta group north of Lugansk didn't happen. The junta strike on Stanitsa Luganskaya in the second half of August disrupted the ambitious ideas of intercepting junta communications on the line Novoaidar-Schastye. Thus, everything was reduced to pushing the enemy back and to protracted fighting for Schastye. Among the essential, explosions on the Lugansk power plant must be noted, due to which the majority of the region was left without electricity. Recalling that the commander of the punitive battalion "Aidar" threatened to blow up the power plant on camera in the case of the offensive by the NAF on Schastye, the punitive troops actually followed up on their threat. Overall, while power lines are being pulled from Russia into the LPR in order to "feed" the rebellious republic, the junta continues purposeful destruction of social infrastructure from its side.
5. Shelling cities and settlements of Novorossia didn't stop for a day after the moment of signing the so-called "truce". Donetsk and adjacent cities, which are shelled every day, causing massive destruction and civilian casualties, suffer most. Tentatively, 55-60 civilians perished on the DPR territory between September 6 and 17. Because the junta positions around Donetsk weren't fully swept (which was expected on the wave of the victorious offensive that was interrupted by the "truce"), the junta still has sufficiently many convenient locations, which allow it to cover effectively all of Donetsk districts and suburbs. Just as before, this shelling has no military meaning and is related to the goals of eliminating the civilian population and social infrastructure. Overall, until the enemy is be pushed west of Karlovka, pushed back from Yasinovataya, and swept from Zhdanovka it is hard to expect that shelling will cease.
6. On the situation with "joint command of Novorossia". Apparently, no "joint command" was actually formed, because the signatories decided to declare some rights to power and humanitarian aid without counceling the others. Strelkov already commented today that this act of arbitrariness poses no serious threat for the current alignments. Apparently, the ongoing situation is a continuation of the arguments that have to do with transnistrians and Antyufeyev, the fall of whom aggravated internal tensions. Besides having to do with the attempts to sweep "first-wave revolutionaries", these tensions also have to do with the struggle for control over humanitarian shipments. Such control determines the strength of some or other milita squads that receive it and correspondingly it also determines the military and political influence of such squads. If one takes a careful look at the list of signatories, then it is not hard to notice that it is full of people who are far from being spoiled by huge shipments and with people who fell out of the circle of those who controlled them. The major shipments are locked on Zakharchenko's "Oplot". From this comes the simple fact that significant forces of "Oplot" are currently concentrated in Donetsk itself in order to prevent the attempts of a coup in the light of allegations of betrayal directed at Zakharchenko and also the attempts of forcefully intercepting control over humanitarian shipments. Of course, all of this bickering has absolutely nothing to do with "joint command". So, this initiative didn't trigger a wide response from major media figures of Novorossia. It appears that is was an initiative by a group of people that wasn't negotiated with military or political leadership of the people's republics. It is characteristic that no famous LPR people were present in this "joint command" and none of them supported it. Threats from SRG "Varyag" with the demands to obey the uknown Korsun are of course quite dubious, because there is simply no military way of subordinating "strelkovtsy", "Oplot", or "Ghost" to this command. Actually, the language of such ultimatums that come from squads that are not the strongest is clearly not the way in which the squads of Novorossia can be unified. It is remarkable that Mozgovoy, whose supply of cargo was also quite limited, understands this and disowned such initiatives. However, as Strelkov correctly noted, when the military action transitions to a more active stage, the signators simply won't have time to engage in the kind of trivia that they currently engage in.
http://voicesevas.ru/news/yugo-vostok/4867-voyna-na-yugo-vostoke-onlayn-17092014-hronika-sobytiy.html (in Russian) – the online-broadcast on the "Voice of Sevastopol" for 09/17
http://voicesevas.ru/news/yugo-vostok/4901-video-svodka-novostey-novorossii-za-16-17-sentyabrya.html (in Russian) – the video-summary for 16-17 on Cassad-TV (the problems with registration are well-known, they are currently being solved)
Original article: http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1796841.html (in Russian)