Fool me twice … Russian troops take large parts of Debaltseve

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME.

Shortly after the Minsk 1 ceasefire started, it became clear that Russian forces were in no mooed to respect the agreed on truce and started repositioning around the then Ukrainian-held airport of Donetsk, getting in favorable positions all around the new terminal, the only mention worthy position of the Ukrainian military then. After some weeks of relative calm they started an intense shelling campaign of the large building and in late December, they used the advantage which was given to them by the Ukrainian political and military command, assaulting the area from all relevant directions. Three weeks later, the strategically important airport fell to invasion forces (article) from neighboring Russia, a fact that should have been a chilling reminder for the government and military command in Kiev that signing a ceasefire with Russia and relying on it was a grave mistake which should not be repeated at any point in the future.

Far from that! Only 4 weeks later – on February 15 – another “ceasefire” came into effect against the backdrop of a dire military situation around the strategically crucial city of Debalteve with Russian troops claiming (and there are many arguments this was and is indeed the case) the city and thousands of Ukrainian troops in and around it were – and are – encircled and would have the choice to either surrender and withdraw or being obliterated over the next days. However, the Ukrainian political and army command seemed once again to have developed a very unique perception of reality on the ground, claiming – until today – troops are getting reinforced and resupplied and there is no need to reconsider the current – ceasefire – strategy to hold the city. This comes all the more ridiculous as the same army command recorded more than 200 Russian ceasefire violations and more than 40 killed and wounded own troops during the first 48 hours of the latest would-be-agreement.

At the same time, (pro-)Russian media, being embedded with its regular army forces, showed daily footage which – after being analyzed and geolocated – proved that Russian forces were advancing towards the city, into the city and finally took wide parts of it until today, claiming that most parts of it fell and Ukrainian units are either surrendering or withdrawing, only holding the western quarters by noon February 17.

To achieve this, the Russian army used the total absence of heavy Ukrainian artillery and MLRS cover for its troops in Debaltseve, breaching the defensive ring of the city from the north east (Zorynsk) in the night when the ceasefire started (shortly before midnight, February 14). Being inside the city on the morning of February 15, it then could follow its perverted logic of “observing the ceasefire while securing [its claimed city of] Debaltseve”. Nonetheless at this time, there might have been a tiny chance to see, the Russian “ceasefire” commitment was just another of Putin’s lies, attack the entire front and send a strong forces to Debaltseve to either retake the city and its surroundings or withdraw with weapons and leave it to the Russians. Instead the Ukrainian leadership decided – once again – to simply ignore what was happening on the ground and – even worse – counter its own soldiers begs for help, saying they were wrong and there would be no need to do so as the situation was “controlled”.

On February 16, these pleads for urgent help continued without Kiev accepting them or changing anything about its tactics. Instead the evening, the Ukrainian deputy Foreign Minister reasoned like totally out of touch with the reality, saying “everybody should stick to the agreed on ceasefire.” and that the “military is not returning their fire.” This morning (normally around 12 hours delayed) footage appeared once again, showing more territorial gains in Debaltseve, a heavy push from both sides along the main railway tracks with all sorts of Russian army high tech tanks, several Ukrainian POW and an abandoned Ukrainian base, which was seemingly left by soldiers without even taking their heavy armored vehicles with them. The below map shows a summary of the (geolocated and proven true) developments which actually happened on the ground (with a small degree of uncertainty) until the morning of today – February 17.

Developments

However the situation might have changed once again dramatically until the afternoon of today. Since the early morning, (unconfirmed!) Russian media reports claim that around 120 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered in the city and the center was taken over by invasion forces from Ukraine’s eastern neighbor. While this is not confirmed yet, some Ukrainian journalists acknowledge parts of the version, reporting the central police department and train station were taken over by Russian forces from the Cuacasus region or that Ukrainian troops can hold out for a maximum of another 12 hours and face the threat of being killed if not reinforced after that.

At the same time, the Ukrainian geral staff told in a press conference at 1pm the following, leacing severe doubts, it was even able to see what was happening on the ground not alone act accordingly:

“The Ukrainian military control the village of Logvinovo, and also partially control the road to Debaltseve. There is fierce fighting on the outskirts of the city now, there is a tense situation in the area of the railway station, but our military are holding their positions,”

It took until 5pm in the early evening, when another communiqué was published, painting an entirely different picture of the situation:

“The situation as of right now is extremely difficult. A certain part of the city controlled by illegal armed groups. They assault groups, supported by armored vehicles and artillery attacked our positions. Continuing street battles. Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations to maneuver units and fire, and do everything possible to contain the aggression of terrorists

However, it can be argued that this insight comes at least 3 days too late to react in any meaningful way to the Russian advances. Also there is no word on any planned reaction included in the statement, seemingly leaving it up to the winter-withered, outgunned and outnumbered remaining forces in the city to battle it out on their own. In conclusion, signing and relying on another ceasefire was a grave mistake. But it was an even it was an even larger mistake to not revoke the agreed on halt in fighting as soon as it turned out, the Russian side had again no interest in the signed truce and would only use it to its strategic advantage. By now, it seems to late to react and save hundreds or thousands of Ukrainian troops to get killed or turn prisoners of war by the Russian army. Blind trust in the least trustworthy political actor on this planet and a refusal to realize its again made mistake led to a situation, which will now lead to another “Ilovaisk” like in late August / early September 2014. The difference this time: Everybody responsible involved this time exactly knew, about the strength and intention of the enemy and ignored all that knowledge and experience nonetheless. Being fooled for a second time in only 6 months, the involved naive actors – also from central Europe – should know who they should be ashamed of.

Update

Minutes after this article was published, the worst predictions turned out to be true. Russian troops parade more than 30 Ukrainian prisoners of war near Debaltseve, which – according to the Russian command – surrendered voluntarily and – according to the Ukrainian Defense Minister – were captured during a fight after a reinforcement convoy was ambushed and “smashed”. In any case, this is what I forecasted since weeks and also in the article above: No change in strategy by Ukraine and its western partners will lead to complete defeat against the Russian aggressor.

pow

Ukrainian POW near Debaltseve

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34 thoughts on “Fool me twice … Russian troops take large parts of Debaltseve

  1. Hey I should give you the update on Syria s well seems you forgot about that one.Reports are that Aleppo has fallen under siege today and government forces are on the verge(4.5km) of breaking the siege of Nubl and Zahraa.In 12 hours they have captured 4 villages and menaged to cut off the road from Turkey.They have also advanced in southern Syria(Iran,Hezbollah,Syrian Armed forces) and have overrun the rebel defenses in the area.
    http://syriahr.com/en/2015/02/the-government-troops-still-advance-in-the-countryside-of-aleppo/
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/17/us-mideast-crisis-syria-aleppo-idUSKBN0LL0JQ20150217?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter

    Also you are just stating the obvious in the article it was known that the Russians will take Debaltsevo.There is no force in Europe that can stop them.

      • No problem you can delete it now I only wanted to update you on the info you seem busy on Ukraine.Now on topic if Ukraine does not get its shit togheter r they will lose the whole Donbass will fall they should have retreated from Debaltsevo long ago and established a real front rather than keep a bulge in the line of the Russian forces.Soon they will feel the pain.They have sent in 8-10K troops and know they have nothing left to defend the front of Artemivsk and even Slavyansk.This is the most stupid thing that any military has ever done.

      • The Ukrainian high command needs to be frank and honest about the situation. The troops deserve the truth.

        That aside, I don’t think they capture of Debaltsevo is going to result in thousands of prisoners. Rather, the total captured will probably be far closer to 300, maybe even less.

        My bet is that there were never thousands of troops in the pocket. Rather, several hundred volunteers were drawn from many thousands in the vicinity. It was the same situation with the airport. Thousands of Ukrainian troop in the vicinity of Donetsk sponsor a committed company of volunteers to hold the terminal.

        At the end of the day, both sides have alot of units whose men are not fully enthusiastic about their role in the war. The Russians, however, can bring it wave after wave of reinforcements until they find the right mix of units to succeed.

      • I am wondering the same as Nomad below here.. What confirmation do we have on the number of troops in Debaltsave?

        There is something fishy about a general staff that is so incompetent that they leave so many troops caught in a pocket. Ilovaisk happened mainly because they were caught of guard by such a blatant invasion from Russia, which arguably could have been suspected, but they were close to breaking the Russian rebels back so it might have been a risk worth taking. At that point a direct Russian invasion would be a total game changer for strategy, since there would be no doubt that they were suddenly fighting a numerically superior force, now the Ukrainian generals KNOW they are fighting an enemy that outnumbers and outguns them

        I do not have much confidence in Ukrainian generals but still.

        They all have access to the same maps as we do, that pocket was screaming for miles away. They also have access to information about how effective there fighting force is, how many troops they have lost and so forth, and most certainly better intelligence about enemy troop formations, we might not get the real numbers but they do get better numbers than us unless their officers are lying to them when they report in.

        I guess the number of prisoners we will see over the next few days will tell how bad the Debaltsave pocket is and how incompetent the generals are….

    • Its still not Russians itself. Just proxy. Ukraine are too weak to bring real army openly. Georgia was harder nut(better motivation, training than current Ukraine army), still crushed in 5 days. With Ukraine it would be even faster.
      Still do not know why Kiev have prefered to start a war that it cannot win instead of accepting federalisation.

      • “Still do not know why Kiev have prefered to start a war that it cannot win instead of accepting federalisation.”

        Well, ask yourself: Why Warsaw prefered to start a war that it cannot win instead of accepting “modest” German demands in 1939? BOTH Kiew 2014 and Warsaw 1939 hoped that the West will protect them/punish the aggressor.

      • Cause polaks always were irrogant and sucked at diplomacy(there is a reason why they always end being divided by neighbours). Poland could have prevented WW2 just by letting USSR defend Czechoslovakia in 1938. Or by supporting antiHitler coalition including USSR, not sabotaging whole effort of USSR to find allies vs Germany.

      • LOL. Let me guess Dmitriy, you went to school in Russia. You guys are too funny, so patriotic and so damn insecure.

      • 1. It is Russians, evidence is all over internet. Use google please. You may also refer to lostivan.com if you are still in doubts.

        2. Your comment below abt CCCP protecting Czechoslovakia is beyond ridiculous. Actually, have you heard about Molotov-Ribentrop pact? I guess not. So better study it – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov–Ribbentrop_Pact

        This just proves that Hitler started ww2 TOGETHER and in coordination with Stalin and CCCP can hardly be considered to be a victim there, rather the aggressor – same as in Ukraine today (regardless of what the kremlin propaganda tells you).

        PS – be careful looking at those sites. kgb folks are watching all of you in russia,

    • Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrullah, in a fiery speech last nigth warned that new battlefronts will be openned, It seems he meant this surprise Aleppo offensive. It seems that the axis of resistance with the help of Russia are taking the initiative in Syria, with Allepo encircled, Southern front rebels pushed back and Debaltseve overrun, I think Russia and its allies are seemingly wining this geopolitical hot game, at least Vlad Putin and his allies , Assad, Nusrallah adn Khomenie are not backing down., even Sisi could join this tough league.

  2. This report is just heartbreaking. If Ukr doesn’t start executing officers that collaborate with Russia, there will not be many solutions to their military failure.

    Since executions is not the hippest trend right now, another option would be to transform the paramilitary groups into regular army units. Then they could transfer regular army control to them, bypassing the DM, solidifying the control under the president directly.

  3. Interesting, but you don’t mention the fact that in previous cease fire Ukranian army was running out of armoured vehicles and about to collapse as President Poroshenko said. Maybe they didn’t have any other chance…and maybe they don’t have now.

    • I do not think anyone can deny the Ukrainian armed forces lost a huge amount of armour back in August of last year. And it has taken them months to rebuild that to even manage to mount the defence they have so far.
      The problem is about a 3rd of that new or reconditioned armour has now been lost again, mainly through incompetent military leadership.
      Even worse we are hearing tonight rumours that UA General Staff have issued an order to retreat and destroy equipment from Debal’tseve and considering how much armour and heavy artillery they have poured into that area which again will be lost.
      Now I fear it will be difficult to mount any serious kind of defence against a serious armoured push on Kharkiv or Mariupol by the rebels.
      The other week we heard comments from the Ukrainian government that it has plenty of armour and conventional weapons systems but lacks advanced weapons such as light anti tank weapons. Forgive me for being highly sceptical but if they had sufficient reserves of armour (Tanks & APC’s) why have they not utilized them to prevent the Debal’tseve situation forming in the first place?
      We have heard many fine words from the UK defence secretary, from the US and other NATO members, saying we will not allow the collapse of the Ukrainian armed forces. Well as much I realise this will be highly unpopular, this is exactly what we are seeing now.
      The Ukrainian Military needs a massive injection of armour (both Tanks and APC) as well as light anti tank weapons and small battle field drones, as well as integrated C4i solutions, none of which are going to be cheap. The current US plan of $350m doesn’t even come close to returning the Ukrainian military to an effective fighting force that can provide a robust defence of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. And that does not even begin to address the serious failings of Ukraine’s General Staff.

      • The Ukrainians have lost hundredsof armored vehicles, but they have thousands more cold war left overs in reserve. Sadly, the Russian probably have ten thousand such vehicles. In short, Ukraine’s problem is not the raw number of vehicles, but matching willing users to competent commanders.

        Both the Ukrainians and the Russians have a limited number of fully motivated units. The Russian seem to solve this problem by demoting wavering units to garrison duty, then bringing up a fresh unit.. The Ukrianians seem to solve this by relying on small number of volunteers to hold exposed postions like the airport and Debalt’seve. As a result, i dont think there was alot of Ukrainian armour in the town.

        As for the impact of US equipment (hopefully coming tomorrow), I think it can be substantial if given to competent batallion commanders. Even now, a certain number of Russian units are not willing to press attacks against actively defended positions.

        Javelins, Stingers and advanced TOWs have the potential to greatly increase the cost to Russian attackers and move even more Russian units to the “sorry, we are garrisson only” side of the equation,

        Russia would then need to call for the “praetorian guard”- the small number of fully trained and truly modern equipped units that they have. Equipment and personnel osses in these units would take years to replace. Putin is not an absolute dictator. Some Russian generals may simply veto any request by him to use the Praetorian guards. Heck, Russia needs a credible detterant against China.

        . .

      • Nomad

        Have you seen the state of those large cold war reserves of armour in Ukraine? Having spent a lot of time in Ukraine, I have visited some of these large stocks of coldwar reserves and believe me they are next to useless.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10672722/In-pictures-Inside-Ukraines-tank-graveyard.html

        This link shows one of the better looked after tank graveyards, some graveyards just contain the rusting hulls after all the other useful parts have been scavenged and sold to other countries to maintain their stocks.

        Ukraine did have several hundred new T-80 tanks after the breakup of the soviet union, but after Russia objected to a deal to sell 320 new build T-80U tanks from the Kharkiv Morozov tank factory which Russia claimed to have the rights too, Ukraine ended up shipping its own stock of T-80UD tanks and scavenging the rest to put together a spares package.

        The T-72’s in the Ukrainian inventory are the early variants and have largely been scavenged for spares and as such are unserviceable, Russia is not going to sell spares to Ukraine.

        So that leaves large stocks of T-64 tanks, and unfortunately we all saw what happens back in August when you put old unmodified T-64’s up against T-72B3’s, it was wholesale slaughter. The upgraded T-64 Bulat does fair well against the T-72’s the Russian insurgents are using, but Ukraine just does not have the funds to upgrade enough of them or fast enough. They only managed to field as many as they have by defaulting on an order for 50 T-64 Bulat variants for the Congo that was ready to ship.

        At the start of this conflict Ukraine did have 10 T-84 Oplots but I have not seen them used so far, I have seen no reports of them being destroyed or captured, so what has happened to them I do not know. Ukraine has stated it has the capacity to build 40 T-84 Oplot M tanks this year and 120 next year. But at $4.6m+ each I am not sure where the funds are coming from and even so. It only has a few months of relative calm to enjoy from this current “ceasefire” before the Insurgents are prodded again by their Russian paymasters to destabilise the situation again.

        There are solutions, it just requires an inventive answer from the US and EU partner countries..

      • James,

        Thanks for the information regarding Ukraine’s tank truly available tank fleet. Those pictures of the graveyeard look grim. As further indications of Ukraines lack of servicalbe tanks, 40 servicable Czech t-72s that were to be shipped overseas, were suddenly sold again to a broker in Romania.

        One solution is that Poland has about a thousand T-72s in storage. . Poland’s version of “storage” probably does not mean “dumped in the graveyard”. In addition, Poland makes upgrade packages. In short, US aid could quickly supply Ukraine with say, 200 refurbished and upgraded T-72s- especially if Germany offered to tranfser more Leopards to Poland at “friendship pricing”.

        I once read that most wars are one or lost at t\he batallion level. So far,Ukraine does not seem to have used armour in batallions. Rather, a batallion’s worth of vehicles are parceled out to crews of varying skill levels and lvarying levels of commitment. Fortunatly, the rebels operate in much the same way.

        Myt guess is that crash courses in armoured warfare (not “how to parcel out armour”), at the NTC.for select Ukrainian batallion and company commanders as well as gunners would have a big impact.

        One piece of good news is that after capyuring all the towns in the pocket, the rebels are only claiming 150 prisoners – and that number probably includes auxillaries as well as combatants. Even more telling, despite a strong love of POW photos,they have only shown photos of 30. This may indicate that Ukraine is not going to lose thousands of men..

        In either case, Ukraine needs to find winning generals and fast. Lincoln and Churchill both had to fire a series of senior commanders before they found ones who could somewhat compete with their opponents. Hopefully Poroshenk starts firing soon.

      • Nomad

        Poland has approx 600 T-72’s left, quite a few of the original reserve have been sold already. They are gradually replacing them with Leopards and trying to come up with a domestic upgrade for the early secondhand Leopards they bought which they described as 30% worn out.

        Having said that, a broker is hawking around a batch of Polish T-72’s and is being very coy over the number available, 50 or so is the rumour.
        Another broker is offering 150 used T-72’s believed to be from Bulgarian reserves.
        Another 200 are supposed to be available from unknown sources, possibly Belarus or Kazakhstan.
        Algeria is buying upgraded T-72’s that are available, Congo is in the market, after the deal for the T-64 Bulat’s from Ukraine fell through.
        The problem is any country that considered selling T-72’s will come under intense pressure from Russia to make sure they do not end up in Ukraine. So it would take some clever planning and numerous cut outs and shell corporations. But is entirely feasible.

        Unfortunately I do not see those hoped for and needed light portable anti tank missiles coming any time soon. Obama’s foreign policy is strong on one point, Dithering. We all saw how long it has taken for him to order air strikes on ISIS. So I do not expect any decision to be taken on weapons supplies to Ukraine in the next 6 months. The only hope is US congress coming up with a new bill that outlines a large package of military support in the region of $1bn per year for the next three years and make sure its appropriated so that Obama finds it hard to continue to dither on the issue.

      • James,

        Fortunatly, Poland is immune from Russian pressure as they have already made it very clear that they are oriented to the west.

        I have a feeling that if asked directly and promised friendship pricing on future weapons purchases, Poland could uncover alot more than 50 functioning T-72s and would have no problems ignoring other sellers and transfering them to Ukraine.

        As for the possibility of real military aid from the US anytime soon, the coming elections might give some hope.

        While Obama is useless, the Democratic party as a whole may not want to be presented as the party that let ISIS go on rampages and Putin swallow all of Ukraine- I think his true goal is making Ukraine into an autonomous Russian protectorate.

        As a result, Obama may find himself under pressure from his own party to take more decisive action, and thus steal a Republican talking point in 2016. In the end, I hope the Ukrainians will see some real assistance in the coming weeks.

  4. Completly incompetent UA upper command. These clowns should not be given weapons from the west until they are purged.

    • Totally agree. How can the US or EU give any weapons to the Army that is lead this way? All the weapons would end up in the hands of separatists. Ukraine has once again elected an incompetent president who has no will to defend its country and to purge the army command from the Russian spies. So sad, my heart is just ripping into pieces from seeing this… what a disgrace the “new Ukrainian givernment” brought to the fallen on Maidan. You want to give away Debaltseve? Then do it, and even up the front line, – but why the charade and making so many more people killed an injured?

  5. Poroschenko und seine Generäle starren seit Monaten wie das Kaninchen auf die russische Schlange. Merkel und die anderen Europäer zucken mit den Achseln. Putin lacht sich ins Fäustchen. Traurig. Einfach nur traurig.

  6. Nice writeup.

    It’s totally bizarre though – how a bunch of random idiots on the internet like us could see this coming from weeks if not months away, have that position reinforced by the public thoughts of low-level commanders like Semyonchenko, yet UAF high command remained (apparently) completely oblivious.

    It just doesn’t add up. Even when you explain the oversight by a combination of incompetence and perhaps some high-level infiltration by Russian sources, the seeming inevitability of this disaster is kind of staggering.

    This may be an unpopular opinion here, but I’m fine with Ukraine not getting weapons from the West until they display at least a baseline level of competence in conducting military operations. One of the conditions to successfully help people on the micro or macro level is that they also show an interest/ability to help *themselves* to some extent, and UAF ain’t doing that at the moment. It’s pretty sad.

    • Ukraine always was and still is a corrupt state. iIt doesn’t surprise me in the least that they left those men cut off to suffer this way.
      They have been accepting bags of money from the west to wage this war to a successful conclusion and have lied not only to themselves but to thier western backers. They’ve been stealing from the troops and are even selling those armored vehicles that Britian gave them on the open market.

      This army is no better than the South Vietnamese army or the current Iraqi army. The rebels had no intention of honoring the ceasefire as they knew that they have the UA on the ropes and see no point in letting the UA rebuild with the new bags of money(About 40 billion $) being shipped to Ukraine by the west.
      The rebels would be stupid to surrender the initiative now.

      • Umm okay…. “bags of money from the west” “western backers”, you reveal your prejudices pretty clearly there.

        And let’s be clear – the DNR/LNR rebels are incompetent idiots also, probably moreso than Ukraine’s leadership (albeit differently). They’re blinded by this pipe-dream notion of some completely fabricated romanticized state, while not acknowledging that the supporter who makes their existence even possible (Russia) doesn’t want them to achieve this end (let alone absorb their dilapidated & costly territory into Russia). They’re simply being used as a tool to destabilize Ukraine and Putin will forsake them as soon as they’re no longer useful. This is obvious to everyone but themselves – they’re gaining tactical victories at the moment but are an utter dead-end in the big picture.

        Russia also is stupid in this whole ordeal. Rather than be a constructive partner in the international community, diversify their internal economy, move toward an open & just society, and reap the benefits thereof….. they’ve been willingly blinded by an authoritarian ruler’s cult of personality and sacrificed any hope of long-term development by feeding their collective insecurities in the short-term. For whatever reasons, Russia’s national ego is extremely fragile and in the subsequent chest-pounding they wind up hurting themselves more than anyone else, and looking absurd in the process.

        Unfortunately, as a result of all this folly thousands of people are being killed and/or having their lives ruined.

    • Hmm that’s about the same with Americans, right?
      But you should say never trust a politician – and it doesn’t matter if he is sitting in Moscow, Washington or Kiev.

    • Putin is pathological. I think the world knows that by now.Long term Russia has set itself back decades. There will be bread lines again in Russia.

  7. From my point of view Debaltseve was a land mine in Minsk2 ceasefire deal. Everybody involved had to know that the importance of this town for separatists is too high. At the end separatists were too optimistic when they hoped that they will get Debaltseve in two days just before the ceasefire will take place. Poroshenko had a chance to withdraw Ukraine forces from the besieged town but Ukrainian command decided to sacrifice a lot of soldiers and civilians for no real reason. Government forces were withdrawn today but still some representatives call it as “regrouping” or “planned evacuation”.

  8. I am concerned by the sheer amount of armour that seems to have been left in a serviceable state or at least in a repairable state. Your estimates on twitter earlier seem about right, but th are several weapons systems that we know were taken to Debal’tseve and yet we have not see any reports of them leaving, mainly the heavy artillery systems several MSTA-S and 2S7 Pions were deployed to the area around Debal’tseve during the last reinforcement. Both of which are systems that Ukraine can ill afford to loose.

    I note the General staff are again out of touch with the reality on the ground when we this statement:
    “Ukrainian servicemen taking part in the army operation in the country’s south-eastern regions destroyed all units of military hardware that could not be evacuated from the town of Debaltseve, Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff spokesman Vladyslav Selezniov has said.”
    Yet we can see a fair amount of armour was left behind, and it does not look from initial inspection to be badly damaged, so the insurgents can claim they repaired more captured Ukrainian armour.

    Why the retreating soldiers could not stack the unused artillery and mortar shells inside that abandoned armour, pour in some fuel and then hit it from range with tracer rounds is beyond me. It would have made sure that it cannot be repaired.

    Then we come to the most unforgivable error of them all, leaving behind the American supplied counter mortar radar system. Whether the Ukrainians removed key parts to make them unusable or not is not the point, they abandoned it for the Insurgents to capture, and most importantly give the opponents of supplying weapons systems to the Ukrainians a key piece of propaganda.

    The Ukrainian General staff is not just content with shooting the Ukraine Military in the foot, it shoots the other foot just to make sure, then ties it hands.

  9. Do you think we will have an article on the exit of the cauldron ? Found this video on cassad (pro russian) which seems to at lest give an insight on the positions of the russian and the ways used by the ukranian units to break out.

    No english subtitles sadly, any russian speaker could sum it up ?

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