Volunteer group “Information resistance” (IP) from the first days of the existence became a source of information about what is happening at the front, on the Russian-occupied territories of the Donbas and annexed Crimea for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians. After more than three years after the start of Russian aggression, experts of IP continue to collect, organize and analyze data on the number and quality of opposing the Ukrainian army of Russian-terrorist troops, as well as possible plans of the aggressor and most likely scenarios.
In the first part of an interview with “Apostrophe” group coordinator “Information resistance”, MP from the party “people’s front” Dmitry Tymchuk told about what is happening today in the area of the ATO, is there a risk of the escalation of hostilities in the near future, wants Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is willing to go to achieve the goal and what the Kremlin is not enough for keeping Crimea.
Apostrophe: What is the situation as of today was formed in the zone of the ATO?
Dmitry Tymchuk: the Situation is ambiguous. We see that Minsk agreements are a dead end. It is, in General, it was clear almost immediately after their signing. Any progress we are seeing. I believe that the latest attempt to move the process forward was made in the autumn of last year, when we “channel four” has promised that before the end of 2016 we will see a roadmap — a document that must in detail describe sequence of actions for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. But to this day, until the end of may 2017, the road map does not exist. Therefore, any attempt now to say that Minsk has not settled yet, unjustified.
As for extrapolating this to the political deadlock in the fighting in the Donbas, we see that Putin has the option of freezing the conflict, or else surrender the area, like chirping the same militants — drain “new Russia”. However, the high degree of opposition that we are seeing in the Donbas, indicates that this is not happening.
If Putin just wanted to take the territory under control, as it controls Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he therefore would need to freeze the conflict, to move to the stage of Nagorno-Karabakh. But it would mean that the Donbas would have started a very serious de-escalation, with possible skirmishes once in five years. But we see that this is not happening. So Putin sets itself other goals. What are the goals? We don’t yet understand.
The sole purpose of, more or less logical is to pump from Ukraine, first, the economic resources required by the war, and secondly, to use the confrontation in the Donbass as one of many, but not the last lever to destabilize the situation in Ukraine. Our society is tired of war. And along with the extremely adverse socio-economic situation, this factor allows, for example, to promote Pro-Russian forces: we see that the same “Opposition block” for 3 years from the beginning of the war, gained weight and voice. And, of course, this situation works against the current Ukrainian authorities.
This, in my opinion, the only explanation for why Putin holds the degree of tension on the front.
– What can you say about the movement of equipment and manpower in the occupied territories? What are the enemy forces? How many Russians are now fighting in the Donbass?
— Any major rearrangements, the transfer of power and money at the moment — and I emphasize: at the moment, we do not observe. We see that there is a transfer of armored vehicles, logistical resources, personnel — Russian mercenaries and partly, in some degree, of military personnel of the Russian Federation. But this process of resupply of those teams that are part of the “first army corps DNR” (AK DNR) and the “second army corps LC”. We do not see any major changes in quantitative terms the Russian troops. As approximately 36,000 insurgents, regular Russian troops and Russian mercenaries, and still is. Of them are Russian regular soldiers — about 6,000 people. First of all, there are various instructors, unit commanders, plus the crews and calculations, attendants of the most high-tech weapons and equipment used by the Russians. For example, the divisions of electronic warfare, electronic intelligence, in fact, all staffed with personnel of the Russian military. Fighters use aircraft complexes, mostly civilian quadcopters, to perform reconnaissance tasks of the tactical level. More serious system — the same military pattern of the UAV “Orlan”, which is used by the Russians — it is Russian military personnel.
And this is understandable. Because from the very beginning of hostilities in the Donbass, the Russian command was a very serious problem in the training of personnel. As they were going to use a local resource? Initially planned to organize in the Tula region (Russia) training of specialists on the bases in the first place, GRU. And then these training centers have appeared in the occupied territory of Donbass. This option is not very good for one simple reason: it is necessary to understand the contingent mostly consists of those local militants who are fighting in the “first and second army corps” of DNR/LNR. That is, the mass is lumpen, lumpen elements, as previously discussed. People who have very questionable moral and psychological qualities, and the more business — like.
Count on the fact that most of the male population of Donbass has served his time in the Ukrainian army, so has some skills with weapons, military equipment, is not necessary, because we know that in fact, before the annexation of the Crimea and war on Donbass, the Ukrainian army simply degraded. Instead of training combat training soldiers swept the parade ground, painted fences. Accordingly, people who have military occupational specialty, but really they are unable to exploit technology and to use weapons.
With regard to the problems posed by purely military terms, the Russian command in the Donbas, we see the strengthening of defense in Novoazovsk district. For us, it is, oddly enough, probably the hottest area. We are not talking about constant shelling, although Shirokino we hear in the reports, Palopoli — direction is under threat and so on. It is very difficult to monitor the situation with the transfer of additional forces and means. Since a small distance from the front to the state border with Russia, in fact the operational-tactical rear of the Russian terrorist troops from the first AK DNR on those areas already rendered on the territory of Russia. I think not only us but the Ukrainian military intelligence is also quite difficult to monitor such transfer in the frontal zone of the Russian Federation. You also need to consider that the opposite of Donbass is the Russian division, in fact we see there are already two armies. There is a constant movement of troops. And to identify — there is a movement of troops in the process of formation of these new compounds at the border, or is it the movement of troops, intended for the Donbass — is rather problematic.
– So you can’t say that I see the signals of preparing to attack?
— When I say that at the moment we do not see any major transfer of troops, which would indicate that the Russian command is going to conduct offensive operations tactical level, this does not mean that the situation will not change dramatically just a week. They are for a very short time can throw at it the direction of additional forces and means to conduct offensive operations.
And again. When we say that the Russians are constantly trying to attack, we need to understand that they to stupor, wildly afraid of a counter or even pre-emptive attack, APU. It’s not only hysterical, which swells in separatist or Russian media, the mouthpiece of various miracle experts like Alexander Khodakovsky, or Igor strelkov-Girkin… just messages in the media are clear, their goal is to mobilize the population of Donbass, to try to get another resource, those who went to serve in both army corps.
We see in practice that at the same Novoazovskiy direction a year ago was equipped with two full fortified, that is, the defense areas. We see that the same defense areas are created in the rear, in fact, fighters — Makeyevka district, there, in Shahtersk, in Luhansk oblast — to the South of Stakhanov. This suggests that the Russian-terrorist troops are really afraid that the Ukrainian army two strikes they will make just on the territory of Russia. Novoazovs’kyi district difficult to monitor, but at the same time the release of this site would be the most simple. If you do not intervene in the Russian army personnel, the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
– Why? Because the border — hand?
Yes, a small distance. They therefore cling to, create whole areas of the defense just because of the fact that very much afraid that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will conduct such an operation, and for I think 5-6 days will be released on the border of the Russian Federation. I take another kind of scenario. In the optimistic scenario, given the small distance to the border, things can be much faster.
Today the situation is such that you describe it is problematic. There are several scenarios, and all need to be considered. We understand that whatever offensive plans may be built in the Kremlin, the Russian General staff, the Russian-terrorist troops will not be able to carry out no operations operational-tactical level without creating a core in the form of units of the regular Russian troops, i.e., armed forces.
– That is, they can’t do if you don’t pass the border, as they did, say, during Ilovaysk?
Yes. If we talk about the balance of power, the APU have, I would say excessive force, even by tactical standards — 1:3 defending against the attacking side. At the strategic level, the ratio may even be 1:1,5. But, nevertheless, still according to the standards of the numerical and technical superiority of the Ukrainian armed forces. Accordingly, the question of carrying out our part of the offensive is a question of political will. But we understand that in fact, today, the Ukrainian government is held hostage to the so-called “Minsk process” and negotiations in the framework of the “channel four”. And any attempt to carry out a military operation will cause very negative reaction in the first place, the participants of the “Normandy four” — Germany and France. Again, reasons, how it will react to Putin. And Putin, of course, will react far without inspiration and delight.
As for their part, these 36 thousand people, and with extremely low morale and questionable levels of training will not be able to carry out such major surgery. We now see their attempts to move ahead, in groups of up to platoon — well, for the scale of the conflict is nothing.
Therefore, to answer the question whether Russia to conduct offensive operations in the Donbass, it is necessary to monitor the border, those areas that are not controlled by Ukraine.
During Ilovaysk, Debaltsevo, we have seen that just the shock – and account for battalion and company tactical groups of Russian troops who came in, and after the operation were withdrawn to the territory of Russia.
Everybody remembers the end of January-beginning of February of this year, the event under the Avdeevka. In fact, the escalation of the conflict was on the frontline, but Avdeevka just happened to be in the spotlight as a kind of epicenter. Then we recorded the input of two battalion tactical groups of Russians. One of them we lost, recorded her introduction, but then realized where she was going. Followed Makiivka, just to the side of Donetsk, Yasynuvata interchange…
The problem is that Russians highly appreciate the Ukrainian military intelligence, the ability of the Main intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine. Therefore take measures in order to confuse the trail. That battalion tactical group, which we recorded (I’m sure that our intelligence especially saw it) they were transferred for 2.5 days in small batches, for 2-3 cars, 2-3 units of military equipment, weapons. This was done in order to understand, it is just there is a kind of planned deployment of a platoon or company, or something more serious. We identified that this was still a Russian battalion tactical group.
But two battalion tactical groups — this is a very little effort on any front to achieve this superiority in manpower and equipment to carry out a successful operation tactical level.
– And if the task is to be horrible to because?
— No, I think that the problem is not even to be horrible to because stood. Just seeing the fierce resistance of Armed forces of Ukraine, the Russian command — first of all, the command of the territorial troops of the southern military district of the Russian Federation, which, in fact, commanded these two corps through the corps in the Donbas controlled by the Russian General staff — they are wildly frightened. Afraid that the Ukrainian army after repulsing the militant attack in the region of Donetsk just go into the offensive and then will not find it! And these Russian battalion group was deployed there not to carry out offensive operations, but in order to deter the possible occurrence of Ukrainians.
Anyway, after the January and February events we have yet to see a serious transfer of power and resources from the territory of Russia. That is, it mostly goes for resupply and replenishment. This primarily applies to ammunition and fuel and lubricants.
The Russians for a very long time tried to refuse supply system with wheels of its units in Donbas. We have seen in the past that there is a period of escalation, then a lull, delivered ammunition, a large consignment. After taking Debaltsevo was just to do it — has had a direct railway communication with Donetsk. Went several levels — from the period of escalation. They had shot all the attacks subsided. Sit waiting for them with a new batch of ammunition will be delivered…
It is clear that to fight so no one can. So the Russians for 2016, tried to create spaces for the accumulation of material and technical means, primarily, fuel and lubricants and ammunition. Began enhanced the accumulation of the materiel in warehouses, bases of storage. However, again, January-February 2017 showed that the scheme was extremely stupid. We watched literally 5 days was completely exhausted the reserves of the 11th regiment, which fought in the town against the Armed forces of Ukraine. Literally 5 days they ran out of ammo at the most marketable items, types and calibers and they are again, as in 2014-2015, waiting for will be delivered from Russia, in order to carry out the attacks.
After that the Russian General staff instructed to completely revise the system of munitions. And they got into a rather unpleasant situation. First, in order to dramatically increase the supply of ammunition, they had to remove part of the emergency reserve warehouses of the southern military district of the Russian Federation. But not only that, they delivered. The question arose of how to re-organize a system of warehouses, as old as I have already said, has proved ineffective.
While the Russian command was, as it were, between two fires. On the one hand, it is clear that the creation of major transport hubs, large warehouses easier — when all the threads converge, it builds up and then, if necessary, transported to the front. Commending the Ukrainian intelligence, the Russian General staff decided in any case not to create large warehouses. And this decision was made just after the events in Balakleya in Kharkiv region. At least we got the information about this decision after burning our warehouses.
It was decided, on the one hand, to do an extensive system to the logistics system worked, the system of delivery of ammunition to the first line, the second line, but not to create some large warehouses.
Here they are now trying to steer clear of this situation: gradually imported from Russia ammunition and warehoused in such warehouses. But as far as this new system is effective, it can be said only after, God forbid, the escalation in the Donbass. When they have Willy-nilly to test the system.
– You say that the main task of the Kremlin is most likely with the fighting in the Donbass keep us in suspense or drain economically. And from his plans to attack Putin has already refused as you think? For example, plans to cut through the land corridor to Crimea, which in his time spoke so much? Could the fact that Ukraine shut off Crimea’s fresh water, to increase that threat?
— If you view my comments from that period when in Vogue a thesis about the break land corridor to the Crimea — I’m always skeptical of this idea. What does “corridor to the Crimea”? Well, after collecting everything you can hit, say, the 1 St of AK DNR land corridor to the Crimea, taking Mariupol, which is already extremely doubtful. But, well, they take Mariupol or bypass it and make a “corridor to the Crimea.” How wide should the corridor? 10, 20, 50 miles? Modern artillery means this corridor will sweep through. Tell me, as a citizen of Russia, you would go on vacation to the Crimea through the corridor, which may at any moment recoil 152-mm ammunition? And with the children went?.. I think it’s a very large adventurers such travel.
Again, it struck the corridor — what prevents the Armed Forces of Ukraine the corridor to break through 10 times a week? How to defend? What you need to bring forces and means in this corridor so that at each kilometer to create a deeply echeloned defense system? And considering how they’re afraid of what APU will use combat aircraft is also mechanized, motorized rifle, what they call the tank units and air defenses to expose!..
I don’t know if Russia carried out such a project to create a land corridor. For me it is a murky mystery. Well, those who talked about it, obviously, as some suggest, see how something or draw. But I can not imagine.
It makes sense to break some kind of hallway — but I wouldn’t call it a hallway, it is rather ensuring land connection of Crimea and the territory of the Russian Federation only by taking the Kherson region. And we are still in 2014, beginning with the annexation of Crimea and events in Donbas, said that the key to the Crimea — Kherson oblast. This energy supply. Now they are out with the so-called power bridges, but their effectiveness is very questionable. And that, above all, fresh water. Whatever was the case with the construction of the Kerch bridge, which would be the power bridges they are not paved in the Crimea, should understand that agriculture in the Crimea is now a big “Hello”.
Moreover, you know that one of the most successful Ukrainian saboteurs in the Crimea — is Mr. [Dmytro] Firtash? I would personally give him some reward!
– What is this for?
— In the Crimea hysteria about the activities of the same Crimean “Titan” (private joint-stock company, the largest manufacturer of titanium dioxide in Eastern Europe. Part of Group DF of businessman Dmytro Firtash — “the Apostrophe”) exceeds the limit already at least 2 years, since the Crimean “Titan” is pumping groundwater. Thus fresh water from the mainland no longer goes. But the specifics of groundwater in the Crimea is that they are not restored at the click of your fingers. Instead comes the salt water. Accordingly, soon all drinking water sources will dry up.
– How soon?
— Different opinions. Often say that in 5-6, a maximum of 10 years of fresh water in the Crimea. Because of industrial activities and, first and foremost, our great Ukrainian saboteur. We don’t like.
That is, in these circumstances, it is necessary to control at least the Kherson oblast in order to ensure the normal not just a connection with Russia, and the existence of the Peninsula. The connection with Russia can take place through the Kerch bridge. I went to him too skeptical, but let’s say they will build it, God bless him. In any case, this is not a software of life. To ensure delivery of any quantity of goods, and any number of tourists. Again, the same agriculture with the help of the Kerch bridge, well, not up.
And here it raises another question about the other face of hybrid warfare. That is, the associated exacerbation of the situation in other regions of Ukraine, especially southern Ukraine. Option “Bessarabian people’s Republic” (in the Odessa region — “Apostrophe”), as we know, covered with a copper basin from the rebels, rather, the Russian leadership — and thank God. But in Kherson, the situation is not so simple.
We for Feb-March this year to monitor very closely the situation in the Kherson region in all directions, and revealed a sufficiently large number of hotbeds of tension. For some reasons I can’t tell about the situation in terms of defense. But I’m sure it is necessary now just to force the move, the relocation of our mechanized brigade from Kirovohrad — what says the Ukrainian military leadership. And I’m the defense Minister personally said that I, as the MP is ready to enlist the support of other members and create a strike team, if you need the support of the legislature, in order to address these issues. Because, in fact, one battalion of the APU on the entire Kherson region — despite the fact that there is an administrative border with the Crimea, despite the fact that Kherson region is of great strategic importance as the key to the Crimea is not just a little. This, in my opinion, a crime to hold such a tiny number of troops!
On the National guard situation is a little better, but still very far from perfect. There is need to increase our efforts in all areas that involves national security and defense. Here, I think, in particular, and my responsibility and the responsibility of our Committee of the Verkhovna Rada concerning national security and defense.
– I hope you heard…
— I hope so too. According to the monitoring results we have made reports, analytical notes, which I sent, including the management of the Committee and other state bodies that have to do with it.
I am glad at least that the question on control points of entry and exit (KPVV) in Kherson region got to sphere of attention of the Cabinet. Me personally very happy. Know that when there in March this year visited kabminovsky landing, on the question KPVV were cut task. And these tasks are performed. It is a speck of that tree issues that need to be addressed.