The last month has brought so much to the events in Donbass, that it is time to talk about global change in the geopolitical situation in this area. Despite the declared commitment of the parties to the Minsk agreement, one of the scenarios is a military operation. That is capable of Ukrainian army and its adversary in this respect.
First of all, the international community, which is still three years shamefully cover vague terms like “separatists” or “militia” at last in full voice recognized, in the face of the OSCE presence in the occupied territories of Donbass Russian military. Apparently, Ukraine is finally able to provide documentary evidence of the fact that the military and civil already saw in the summer of 2014.
Washington has decided to directly intervene in the peace process, appointing its representative on the Donbass, Kurt Volker, which is characterized by a negative attitude to Russia in General and Putin personally.
Finally, in Ukraine, in a loud voice announced the rapid adoption of the law on de-occupation, which not only determines the status of the captured Russian territories, but will transfer the fighting from the category of anti-terrorist operation in the format of military operations. Taken together, this suggests that in the near future the situation in the Donbas can radically change.
The forces are roughly equal
All observers agree that the scenarios are not many. In fact, only three (with different variations):
First. Integration of the occupied territories in the Russian Federation (by example of South Ossetia, for example).
Second. The implementation of the Minsk agreements of a sample of September 2014 and the actual pushing of the territories in the Ukraine (on certain conditions).
Third. Military type operation of the Croatian “Storm” in 1995.
Leaving the political component (and hence the first and second embodiments) of the decision of the military confrontation at the mercy of the scientists, I would like to say a few words about the military component.
Three years of severe war, our military machine was seriously reformed — changed, many approaches in the organization and logistics, came prepared with a reserve of the first wave (only combatants in the country more than 200 thousand). Several times increased the number of combat units. The army began to arrive EN masse repaired and upgraded appliances. Its still obviously not enough, but to perform basic combat tasks already in short supply.
Now, on a rotational basis in the Donbas are always five brigades APU, not including units of the National Guard and of the Border — only about 40 thousand people. Created a second and third line of defense that heavily enforced on the tank hazardous areas. Tightened artillery and tank units that are ready in a matter of hours “to stop” any threat of a limited scope.
Directly in the trenches, our military is opposed to the 30-thousandth enemy group (including 4 thousand Russian military personnel), which are 350 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles 420, 300 artillery guns, a large number of MRLS and established defense system. That is, the forces are actually equal, this means that from a military point of view on the Donbass has led to a stalemate in which APU does not have serious advantages over the Russian-terrorist troops.
At the same time, the current state of the hybrid army by many independent observers assessed as extremely unsatisfactory. Morale is largely undermined by the mysterious deaths of media warlords, squeezing out all structures “veterans of the Russian spring”, the gradual deterioration of all types of supplies, including the payroll. In addition, from the beginning was adopted, not the best contract principle of manning the armed forces.
However, we must not forget that near the borders of Ukraine deployed 53 tactical groups of the Russian Armed forces (14 of 39 battalion and company tactical groups) totaling 50.5 thousand soldiers and officers. As of August 2016, main intelligence Directorate of the defense Ministry of Ukraine reported that Russian cross-border group has four operational tactical missile complex (PTRC) “Tochka-U”, 298 tanks, 1 thousand 566 armored combat vehicles, artillery systems 363 169 and jet systems of volley fire. There is no doubt that all this Armada (no matter with unpicked chevrons or not), at any time may be directed against Ukraine. This is perfectly demonstrated by the events of August 2014 and February 2015, when the point part of the Russian regular army have had a decisive influence on the course of the fighting.
Therefore, if you consider a hypothetical use case of the army in these terms, speech can go only about the fast improvement on the line defined by the Minsk agreements of 5 September 2014, with the application of massive strikes on known concentrations of insurgents and warehouses across the entire depth of the theater of hostilities.
That is, under our control will have to go up to the territory of Debaltsevo — Uglegorsk, seriously need to change the line of confrontation in the South of Donetsk region — there the control of Ukraine should be installed on the line Dokuchaevsk — Starobeshevo. Only in this case, the international community can “swallow” short-term escalation in the Donbas, because everything happens in the framework of the Minsk process, which so love to talk politics.
This operation should be really quick to the Russian troops did not have time to respond to it: to recapture the liberated debaltseve Russians difficult and costly, given the possible sanctions. There is a deep belief that the United States and Europe will not prevent the recurrence of winter 2015.
While the advancing assault group (the same of many “aeromobilniki”, now is actually the light infantry) will have to choose the weakest defensive in the direction of, to circumvent resistance oparanya points, leaving them at the “mercy” gunners or pilots, as well as parts of the “second line”. The benefit of the territory of the theater of operations allows you to quickly maneuver forces.
From this follows another important element of the blitzkrieg — the massive use of artillery and aviation. Their goal should be, first of all control of the fire front communications. Therefore, in addition to literally pull the entire artillery, including “Peonies” and MLRS “Smerch”, you will need to transfer closer to the front lines and the “long arms of the General staff” PTRC “Tochka-U”, because of the same Kramatorsk they are not physically “get it” to the border area.
The fact that such a scenario is at least being addressed in the General staff say many of the teachings as the APU and machardie, where practiced primarily offensive operations in a variety of conditions, including in urban areas, as well as crossing water obstacles (one should not forget that about half of the front in the Donbas is on the rivers Kalmius and Seversky Donets). Seriously strengthened the Air Force, including air defense. In the first phase, these funds should play the role of a deterrent for the Russian command, forcing him to think a hundred times before using to support the “hybrids” aircraft, because the losses could have simply incommensurable.
Strike on Mariupol
Wednesday, July 19, Minister of defense Stepan Poltorak said that in the area of ATO the enemy is not forming groups to conduct offensive operations. However, speaking about the possible variants of the situation, it is impossible not to take into account that the Russian-terrorist forces can start the offensive first. It is clear that speech can go not about the attack on London, which raved about the leader of “DNR” Alexander Zakharchenko, and on the administrative border of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
First and foremost, this enemy, in addition to the impact of the kulaks, must be even and superiority in forces and means, at least 2 times. In practice, this could mean an increase in groups in the occupied territories in three (!) times that the current state of the infrastructure in a short time is almost an impossible task. Moreover, such activity is unlikely to pass unnoticed upon closer inspection as our intelligence and “big brother,” whose drones, almost round the clock “hang” over the Donbas.
But even if the Russian command will be able to gather an assault force, it is likely that the main focus for the onset for them to be Mariupol, where due to the almost flat steppe terrain and the lack of major settlements (except the Mariupol and Volnovakha) it is convenient to attack tanks.
It is quite obvious that the main blow of the enemy can be directed to Ugledar, which is located behind the line of differentiation and, according to Russian intelligence, less fortified than the Volnovaha. This local approach will create so-called “Uglegorskiy the ledge”, which will include the towns of Ugledar, novomykhailivka, Olginka and Novotroitskoye.
In the case of this development, our commanders will be forced to divert forces to release such important roads as Novotroitskoe — Velyka novosilka — Pavlohrad. In addition, here, the enemy can begin the offensive towards Volnovakha with the possibility of blocking our group.
Then the offensive may go South in the direction of Bugas Volnovakha and to “close” the boiler in the area of Granite coupled with the secondary attack because of the Kalmius. Simultaneously, the “army of DNR” will have to conduct the offensive in two directions in the Donetsk region with the aim of pushing our troops at least to the line “tarasivka — Selidovo, Kurakhovo” and in the area of Gorlovka.
Small “people’s militia LNR” never able to conduct offensive combat operations, so the “liberation” of the Luhansk region is impossible without direct Russian strike on the Village, Luhansk and Happiness. All the forces of the “Lugansk” should be collected in the direction of the Bakhmut and Lisichansk. To date, no active “propping” “itemname” it is generally impossible task. The completion of such an operation would be the capture of Slavyansk and Dobropole.
Options for the Kremlin
Because in the current state “DNR army” is not able to fight more than one operational area, the achievement of such results is possible with the condition that if under the guise of “army of new Russia” will be the Russian units skoncentrovany on our border in the Rostov region. Such a scenario is quite real, although associated with huge losses, especially during the initial phase of a breakthrough of the two lines of defense of the APU. It is no secret that the frontline area generously mined and zeroed.
Thus, the Kremlin may decide to conduct active military operations, but only if you fail all other options. I like Russians a lot — from rocking the domestic political situation in Ukraine to “pugalok” Ghost “the Ukraine”.
As for our generals, it is clear that a military operation on our side is regarded as one of the options and the army “coached” as to defensive and offensive actions. And in stock at the General staff there are several plans for different cases, including counter-offensive character with the Declaration of martial law and the next wave of mobilization.