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kinophile

Separatist push/Ukraine shove back

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SOURCES

BBCUkraine TodayRFEFLOSCE (2 DAYS OLD), LiveUA twitter feed, LiveUA map (useful,. shows bottleneck and sightings)

 Very much not all quiet on the eastern front...

Anyone know further? If true, 25 Separatist dead is a quite a toll, suggests a battalion scale assault, given current density/intensity of the front.

Svitlodars'k, north of Debaltsev', against a reservoir lake.

Ideas? Is this essentially a 'blooding' of reformed, up-trained Separatist formations? These little shoves seem to happen at regular-ish, geographically separate intervals.

Not looking for politics (yeah, good luck there, brah), more about info on Separatist tactics, strategy, and Ukrainian countering.

 

Edited by kinophile

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svitlodarsk

Town is only 12k pop (pre war), built to support the local thermal plant (thence the reservoir lake, I assume). Mix of standard 3-5 story local type buildings and a few parks of the inevitable ugly, soviet era tower blocks. Also controls a very useful railway line.

Decent little tactical prize, worth a push for, or defense of.

Combat seems to have broken the grid for a bit, could also be a Separatist secondary OBJ. With separate cyber attack on Kyiv's GAES.

InformNapalm suggest counter attack broke the initial push. Unian gives slightly different UKR casualties.

OSCE updateEuronews.

DNI for some reason believes the UKR commanders were inebriated. Also that NATO 'mercenaries' were part of the counter attack.

 

Edited by kinophile

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1 hour ago, Holien said:

Are you saying there was no push? Does the media have it wrong?

If we go by what Ukraine says there's no truth, if we go by what DNR says we get the same result. Both sides claim the other has launched an assault, most of them are just claim with no evidence. The only solid fact is there was a battle, and both sides have fired artillery. I don't get why you're trying to act like the media would have it right most of the time anyways. Wherever it's from of course always some false information that could be reported wrongly. 

Edited by VladimirTarasov

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22 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

If we go by what Ukraine says there's no truth, if we go by what DNR says we get the same result. Both sides claim the other has launched an assault, most of them are just claim with no evidence. The only solid fact is there was a battle, and both sides have fired artillery. I don't get why you're trying to act like the media would have it right most of the time anyways. Wherever it's from of course always some false information that could be reported wrongly. 

http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/290011?download=true

On the 16th and the 17th militants push within small arms range and attempt to take outlying positions occupied by Ukrainian troops, Russians are supported with illegal artillery (122mm). Heavy firefight ensued. Ukrainians resisted the assault/probe with direct fire heavy weapons (HMG and SPG) and small arms. Attack likely failed due to good Ukrainian LOS on roads and fields to the south of Svitlodarsk.

On the 18th Ukraine responded to the attack with a mass violation of Minsk protocol by firing almost a 1000 rounds of 122mm at the separatists and even rolling tanks into the firefight. Separatists were working from nearby Debaltsevo (likely staging area of the attack, a lot of activity here) with BM-21 Grad, ZU-23, and BMP-2. In terms of casualties, the numbers are mixed but the general consensus is that the engagement went favorably for Ukrainian troops. 

 

Everything I've just stated is supported by dates, weapons, and locations recorded by a reliable independent observer. No propaganda. Attack happened. The question is: why?

 

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Exactly, why.

These kind of attacks are fairly pointless in the long run for the DPR/LNR. The UA is fairly entrenched along the front and has had a lot of time to develop defense in depth. Its also been shown that they are no push over since Minsk 2 and will easily violate its provisions to reset any changes in the front line.

Further question - was this solely a DPR operation?

 

Also, were the UA units involved freshly trained by NATO? ie Im wondering if performance on the field is starting to improve as the training becomes more widespread and ingrained.At some point the sheer volume of troops passing through, the length of the training program will start providing battlefield resulkts - slowly, subtly I assume. I wonder if the Sep's training, as defined by Russian Army doctrine, will start making them vulnerable to the NATO trained UA, with its greater emphasis on small unit/lower level flexibility, initiative and integration? 

I believe these are the primary differences in NATO v RUS, Mech Inf doctrine, correct me if I'm wrong please?

Edited by kinophile

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2 hours ago, kinophile said:

Exactly, why.

These kind of attacks are fairly pointless in the long run for the DPR/LNR. The UA is fairly entrenched along the front and has had a lot of time to develop defense in depth. Its also been shown that they are no push over since Minsk 2 and will easily violate its provisions to reset any changes in the front line.

I think it has to do with dislodging Ukraine from Svitlodarsk. The town could be used as a staging area for Ukrainian forces to retake Debaltsevo, then from there roll up the flank on, Vuhlehirsk, Yasinuvataya, and finally, Donetsk. The infamous Ukrainian airmobile "Raid". It's an easy bypass to the heavily fortified Troitska-Avdiivka-Maryinka Line. And coupled with an assault on Novoazovsk this maneuvre could be a war-ending decisive blow.

2 hours ago, kinophile said:

Further question - was this solely a DPR operation?

The Russian Army is pretty much always involved. It's difficult to prove without pictures, though. It's best not assume for now.

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13 hours ago, kinophile said:

SOURCES

BBCUkraine TodayRFEFLOSCE (2 DAYS OLD), LiveUA twitter feed, LiveUA map (useful,. shows bottleneck and sightings)

 Very much not all quiet on the eastern front...

Anyone know further? If true, 25 Separatist dead is a quite a toll, suggests a battalion scale assault, given current density/intensity of the front.

Svitlodars'k, north of Debaltsev', against a reservoir lake.

Ideas? Is this essentially a 'blooding' of reformed, up-trained Separatist formations? These little shoves seem to happen at regular-ish, geographically separate intervals.

Not looking for politics (yeah, good luck there, brah), more about info on Separatist tactics, strategy, and Ukrainian countering.

 

We have pushed off enemy from two positions northern Kalynivka - from the tree-plant near south part of the lake and from height 223 (thouh some separatists resourses reject height loss) - from there enemy continuously shelled our forward platoon strongpoints. Seized positions marked by red on the map below. As I know in the battle take part detachments of 1st mech.battalion and 25th "Kyivska Rus' " motorized battalion of 54th mech brigade and small detachment of Right Sector. But total forces is no more two combined companies I think. Alas, attack wasn't properly support with artillery and mortars (though local in Horlivka wrote in twiters they saw UKR Mi-24, which attacked "militants" positions, but this can be fake). Our attacking troops (less than company) turned out under enemy mortar fire. After enemy positions were seized, enemy turns on own artillery - several batteries from outskirts of Horlivka and Sofiivka village. We can't conduct effective counter-battery fire, because of enemy shelled from positions close to residental areas and quickly changed positions. Also Russians used EW, which almost completely downed cell communications and most of military communication equipment. In this this night not good news came from there - as if enemy cut off about 50 our soldiers in tree-plant and any attempts to reach them was failed. Our HQ say enemy prepared two company tactical groups with arty and MLRS support for counter attack, but to this time no any info about tank attacks. In clashes of 18th Dec we have lost 5 or 6 soldiers, one missed, 16 wounded and shell-shocked. Though, this quantity anyway increase for yestarday, but no info to this time.

XvZ6Cw3Pv2U.jpg  

Edited by Haiduk

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6 hours ago, kinophile said:

So this was a Ukrainian attack initially? Was it an opportunistic battalion commander,  attacking on his own initiative, or a division+ ordered attack to shut down artillery spotting? 

Yes according to my sources it was a Ukrainian push and DPR counter-attacked. Doesn't look good for Ukrainian forces there for now. 

Edit: Some of the separatists claims heavy casualties for Ukrainian troops so far in the area. Separatists seem to have lost around 30 troops and they claim Ukrainians lost like almost triple of that(80 I believe). Artillery duels are still on going. This is gonna escalate into something big. 

Edit part 2: 80 plus KIA/WIA probably exaggerated but according to Haiduk's post if 50 guys are actually encircled and break through to reach them have failed then could be so. 

Edited by VladimirTarasov

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15 hours ago, JUAN DEAG said:

http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/290011?download=true

On the 16th and the 17th militants push within small arms range and attempt to take outlying positions occupied by Ukrainian troops, Russians are supported with illegal artillery (122mm). Heavy firefight ensued. Ukrainians resisted the assault/probe with direct fire heavy weapons (HMG and SPG) and small arms. Attack likely failed due to good Ukrainian LOS on roads and fields to the south of Svitlodarsk.

On the 18th Ukraine responded to the attack with a mass violation of Minsk protocol by firing almost a 1000 rounds of 122mm at the separatists and even rolling tanks into the firefight. Separatists were working from nearby Debaltsevo (likely staging area of the attack, a lot of activity here) with BM-21 Grad, ZU-23, and BMP-2. In terms of casualties, the numbers are mixed but the general consensus is that the engagement went favorably for Ukrainian troops. 

 

Everything I've just stated is supported by dates, weapons, and locations recorded by a reliable independent observer. No propaganda. Attack happened. The question is: why?

 

Both sides do shell each other, minsk 2 is broken every day... But you also need to look up Donetsk and Luhansk sources as well. They're in Russian and makes it difficult for that information to get out since most media outlets will be working with a bias for Ukraine. Daily shelling are reported from both sides... Local sources call it on, on both sides. The Ukrainians even posted a video with an assault on the Sveltodarskoi arc http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/3788765-opublykovano-vydeo-boia-n deleted after though of course. 

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8 hours ago, kinophile said:

So this was a Ukrainian attack initially? Was it an opportunistic battalion commander,  attacking on his own initiative, or a division+ ordered attack to shut down artillery spotting? 

No single opinion about this even among Ukrainian around-military community.

But we have a facts:  

1) enemy continuously shelled our forward position from this tree-plant 

2) after next shelling and trying of enemy diversion group outfalnk our strongpoint, commander could receive a sanction to try a counter-attack and seize enemy positions in order to secure own personnel from further shellings

3) all territory up to Debaltsevo have to be in Ukrainian responsibility area, according Minsk-1 agreement (status of fronline on 19th Sep 2014 wasn't canceled by Minsk-2), so our offnsive actions formally will not consider violation of Minsk

4) We are repelling agression of Russia and its backed unconventional forces. So, we have full right on defending of own territorial integrity and because of Minsk agreements almost dead, through some time we will anyway launch force operation, like in Croatia. When we will be ready

 

To the operation. Our involved forces in 18th Dec turned out even lesser than I wrote. About combined company (recons, infantry, assault detachment of Righ Sector, several BMPs). This is all. Contact fight with platoon or more of enemy troops was only in initial phase, later only skirmishes "area fire" style and artillery/mortar shelling of each other - nothing interesting if you try to model this in CMBS :). I later will post here story of recon squad commander, which have participated in assault and spent about two days under fire. Yesterday his squad was substituted. For past day we lost there 2 soldiers, 9 wounded, 8 shell-shocked  

 

Edited by Haiduk

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Small clarification about battle area.

Here is small forest (or big tree-plant) with three small positions, which was taken by UKR troops 18th Dec (marked by red). Hight 223 and around on eastern bank of the lake still in enemy hands

C0JDHhAWEAYyte9.jpg

 

You easy can see trench system there on Yandex maps (Google maps don't show positions there): https://yandex.ua/maps/?ll=38.277453%2C48.388742&z=18&l=sat%2Cskl

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The OSCE has a special monitoring outpost in the area, which means the OSCE has an unusually thorough understanding of what is happening on the ground.  I had this confirmed by a friend of mine who is an OSCE observer (though not in this sector).  Usually the OSCE observers have to rush to an area, conduct interviews AFTER the fact, and maybe catch the tailend of a flair up or record explosions from a distance without knowing what was going on in the area.

As Haiduk pointed out, Russia and its proxy forces willfully violated Minsk 1 when it conducted the Debaltseve offensive in late 2014 and in particular early 2015.  Minsk 2 does not recognize the territory that Russia and its proxies currently occupy as being in compliance.  Therefore, Ukraine has every right to be where it is now (aside from the fact that all of this territory is currently illegally occupied by the Russian Federation :) ).

Ukraine claims this started off with a "separatist" attack preceded by an artillery bombardment and a combined arms assault by 6xBMP-2 and 2xT-72.  It was beaten back, perhaps with one of the T-72s destroyed (I saw a picture claiming it was from the battle, but who knows!).  Two more attacks followed before Ukrainian forces mounted a counter punch and wound up seizing fixed positions held by "separatists" since the end of the Debaltseve operation.

Tweets and some details can be seen tabulated here:

http://www.interpretermag.com/day-1036/

Ukraine lost probably around 6 KIA and 30+ WIA, which makes this a relatively large scale battle relative to others over the past 2 years.  "Separatist" forces lost an unknown number dead and wounded, but it was estimated to be in the 50 range total KIA/WIA for Sunday and Monday.

According to some reports I've seen, earlier today a platoon sized force of "separatists" tried to retake a small position that is now occupied by Ukrainians.  The attack came from three sides and was pushed back leaving 4 dead and 1 wounded.  The wounded guy was left behind and recovered by Ukrainians.  He is a Russian citizen, unknown if he is also Russian military.

http://uatoday.tv/crime/ukrainian-army-repel-one-more-attack-near-svitlodarsk-850483.html

And not surprisingly, when Ukrainians took over the "separatist" positions they found the usual evidence of Russia's direct involvement.  That's to be expected since, obviously, Russia is directly involved :D

As for why this battle now...

These sorts of battles seem to come about every 6 months or so.  One side or the other sees an opportunity to gain some ground and keep its fighters occupied with something other than blowing off ammo.  The track record of these is that Ukraine comes out ahead both in terms of territory and forces lost in the process.  Ukraine's recapturing of terrain has been very modest, but more than zero.  As far as I can remember the "separatists" haven't taken any significant ground since the conclusion of the Debaltseve operation.

The usual pattern is that the two sides amp up their shelling activity and one side decides to take some ground.  No matter which side launches the first ground activities, Ukraine seems to take advantage of the situation and take back some land.  Usually it's a small, negligible amount of land which gives domestic propaganda something to crow about for a few days before it is forgotten about.

Steve

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11 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Both sides do shell each other, minsk 2 is broken every day...

The Russians want to destabilize Ukraine, Ukrainian politicians want reelection, and Ukrainian volunteers want to retake their land. It's funny to think a ceasefire will ever hold in this war.

11 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

But you also need to look up Donetsk and Luhansk sources as well.

No offense but I do, and I get gems like "Ukrainian army crucifies little boy in Sloviansk for thinking in Russian" and "Eurofascists burn books written in Russian".

12 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

They're in Russian and makes it difficult for that information to get out since most media outlets will be working with a bias for Ukraine. Daily shelling are reported from both sides... Local sources call it on, on both sides.

OSCE is not biased. It is an independent observer that makes no claims and only records objective truth.

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1 hour ago, JUAN DEAG said:

The Russians want to destabilize Ukraine, Ukrainian politicians want reelection, and Ukrainian volunteers want to retake their land. It's funny to think a ceasefire will ever hold in this war.

Yup, exactly that.  Nobody has an interest in a "frozen conflict" as Russia is used to.

Quote

No offense but I do, and I get gems like "Ukrainian army crucifies little boy in Sloviansk for thinking in Russian" and "Eurofascists burn books written in Russian".

You are a brave man!  I gave up looking at those sources a long time ago.  It hurt my head too much :)  Sometimes when I have something specific to compare I at least see how distorted their view of the world is.  Ukrainian and Western sources will say "Ukrainian forces retook a small village this morning" while the DPR/LPR sources say things like "Fascist hordes were defeated, but our glorious fighters showed mercy and withdrew from their positions.  We can afford to be Humanitarian because next week we will be in Kiev and liberate all of Ukraine from the CIA Coup leaders!".

Sometimes I think the DPR/LPR outlets just take WW2 Soviet propaganda and uses MS Word's cut/paste function to create their statements.

Quote

OSCE is not biased. It is an independent observer that makes no claims and only records objective truth.

The fun thing that Russians constantly fail to grasp is that Russia is a member of the OSCE and *many* of the OSCE observers are Russians.  Supposedly independent, but it's pretty clear they are not.  My friend says you can pretty much sniff out the GRU/FSB guys that are there to gather intelligence for Russian operations.  But not much can be done about it.

Steve

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Last news. Our detachment on seized enemy positions, which was partially encircled, now deblocked. Special forces break through and mopped up enemy in this area without losses. Though reportedly infantry has 1KIA and 5 WIA for past day. Night have passed w/o clashes, guys have a rest. 

Upd: both sides made a deal that UKR medics will take a body of 3rd company commander, which got killed as far as 18th Dec and his evacuation turned out impossible.But when our medic MTLB drove to this place, enemy opened fire and hit vehicle, no casualties, fortunately. 

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11 hours ago, JUAN DEAG said:

The Russians want to destabilize Ukraine, Ukrainian politicians want reelection, and Ukrainian volunteers want to retake their land. It's funny to think a ceasefire will ever hold in this war.

I'm not going there because this'll turn into 30 pages of back and forth. So sure, Russia totally wants to mess up Ukraine.  They unconstitutionally ousted the legal president of the time right? Or was that someone else? 

11 hours ago, JUAN DEAG said:

OSCE is not biased. It is an independent observer that makes no claims and only records objective truth.

No definitely it does tell the truth that can't be argued about, but sometimes they aren't fair in what they record. A point that can be backed up by videos from DPR/LPR sources. 

11 hours ago, JUAN DEAG said:

No offense but I do, and I get gems like "Ukrainian army crucifies little boy in Sloviansk for thinking in Russian" and "Eurofascists burn books written in Russian".

You know I face palm any time I do see something like that come from DPR/LPR sources, but every side has horrible sources and has credible sources. Ukraine isn't much better in that regard either. 

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35 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

I'm not going there because this'll turn into 30 pages of back and forth. So sure, Russia totally wants to mess up Ukraine.  They unconstitutionally ousted the legal president of the time right? Or was that someone else? 

The simple facts are:

1.  There would be no war in Ukraine without direct Russian leadership, funding, weapons, and above all ammunition (it wouldn't have even started, in fact)

2.  Russia continues to supply these things despite signing Minsk 1 and 2 which says that Russia will stop doing so

3.  Russia has prevented any discussion of UN Peace Keepeers or a joint European force with Russian participation

4.  Russia will not allow the border between Russia and Donbas to be meaningfully monitored

5.  Russia continues to lie about what it is doing in Ukraine every single day

6.  Russian continues to wage an information war against Ukraine

7.  Russia militarily invaded Crimea and seized it by force of arms despite having treaties with Ukraine guaranteeing its territorial sovereignty

So... given all these facts, and they are facts, why is Russia doing what it is doing?  To help stabilize Ukraine?  To help better the lives of Ukrainians, including those of ethnic Russian heritage?  Obviously not.  Therefore, Russia's obvious goal is to destabilize and dominate Ukraine to make sure it does what is in Moscow's best interests.  There's no other conclusion that can be arrived at unless facts and rational thought are thrown out the window.

35 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

No definitely it does tell the truth that can't be argued about, but sometimes they aren't fair in what they record. A point that can be backed up by videos from DPR/LPR sources. 

If the DPR/LPR didn't regularly block and interfere with the OSCE's activities, maybe they could cover the Russian point of view a little better?

35 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

You know I face palm any time I do see something like that come from DPR/LPR sources, but every side has horrible sources and has credible sources. Ukraine isn't much better in that regard either. 

Not even remotely equivalent.  The blogs are about as useful and useless on both sides, for sure, but the reporting out of the area by people who claim to be journalists is decidedly different in tone, content, and portrayal of reality.  Which is understandable because Ukraine really is defending its country from a ruthless foreign enemy so it doesn't have to make up stuff like the Russian media does.

Steve

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