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Separatist push/Ukraine shove back

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Three waves of attacks today on the forest. Artillery shelled too. Acoording to Girkin's post "A wind near Debaltsevo" can asuume, Russians threw in the battle own regular units, masked as separatists forces ("nothwind" - slang name of Russian troops, inaved in Ukraine, which is using in network among Russian around-military community). 

On the picture pointed a system of taken enemy positions. From up to bottom positions with codenames "Kikimora", "Krest" (Cross), "Zvezda" (Star), 5 пост (5th chekpoint), 4 пост (4th checkpoint).  

C0RbXfvWQAEmWsT.jpg

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3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Unfortunately, the only people that know for sure what the purpose of the attack is are the same people that say there was no attack at all and that there's no Russian forces involved.  Which means we are left with having to guess.  The best way to guess is to put ourselves in the Russian commander's shoes and look at the situation from his perspective.  Doing so indicates four primary reasons to launch the attack:

If we're guessing that won't work out... We can't even confirm whether Ukraine was the aggressor or DPR barbarians were. We have no actual footage or legitimate confirmation of the rebels attacking first. The zone around here has been actually facing shelling periodically before December 18th. One thing that doesn't make sense about this whole battle is why is there no footage or photo of these assaults. The Ukrainians managed to get their troops encircled... Which confirms they were on the offensive, but to my knowledge there is no photos of any DPR troops dead beyond the zones they were already stationed at. There's already footage from the DPR terrorists not supported by the locals of course; with Ukrainian bodies in their hands (I'd share but it's graphic if you want it I can DM you) also 3 Ukrainians were confirmed to be taken by DPR according to UA sources who are already claimed they have been executed, without evidence.

3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

1.  To gain ground

To my knowledge DPR already had the better ground in the area, high elevations. Would make no sense to advance further unless they wanted the media to do exactly what they're doing now, and probably with way better evidence rather than some tweets and statements.

3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

To test capabilities (offensive and/or defensive)

Wouldn't make sense to do it during this time BECAUSE many things have already been tested in terms of tactics. Unless DPR or Kremlin is stupid enough to test company level capabilities in a hot zone of the war (Debaltsevo) I don't think this is going to be smart. 

3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

3.  To keep grumbling soldiers occupied

Occupied by possibly reheating the conflict? Sounds legit.

3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

4.  To yield some sort of political leverage

For what Minsk 3? This is definitely not the case. DPR/LPR uprisings are already in hold of the major cities, however they still lack half their territories. Assaulting in order to gain leverage by risking this is not smart at all.

I'm still lost however on who actually started this offensive, but working by common sense the DPR has more to lose by this assault than UAF does. So I'm leaning with the UA started it narrative. Plus... Let's be honest here if Russia was the cause of this, the results would have been way different just as in August 2014. Not enough information to go off on this battle to make much of an analysis anyways. 

 

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On 12/21/2016 at 2:16 PM, Battlefront.com said:

Yup.  It's why I tend to use quotes when I use the term "separatist".  The problem is that there is no one good term to use because there is a mix of people doing the fighting:

1.  Ukrainian nationals who believe they are fighting for a better life (a small number by this point, but I'm sure they still exist)

2.  Ukrainian nationals who are fighting for personal benefits, in particular money

3.  Russian nationals who believe they are fighting for a better Russia (a small number by this point, but I'm sure they still exist)

4.  Russian nationals who are fighting for personal benefits, in particular money

5.  Russian nationals released from prison to fight in Ukraine (I think this has slowed down from its highpoint, but I'm sure many are still in Ukraine and still more are trickling in from Russia)

6.  Russian state service personnel volunteering to pretend to be "separatists"

7.  Russian state service personnel coerced into pretending to be "separatists"

8.  Russian service personnel still in the established Russian chain of command (though, of course, they pretend to be "separatists")

9.  Citizens from various countries that are fighting in Ukraine for ideological reasons such as fascism, Orthodox church, pan-slavism, etc. (not many these days, I think)

10.  Citizens from various countries that are fighting in Ukraine for personal benefits, in particular money (not many these days, I think)

11.  People that are a mix of these things (e.g. started off being one, wound up being another).

With such a large mix individuals fighting on the side of Russia, it's difficult to come up with a good term for them as a collective whole.  "Separatist" is false, but so is "Russian forces" or "Russian Army".  The best term I've come up with is "Russian proxy forces", but I'm lazy and often just write "Russian" because at the end of the day Moscow is directing all of this.

Steve,

Maybe you could use Confederate General Robert E. Lee's euphemism for the Union troops, "those people" to describe the entire complex lot. Thus, "Those people are at it again in (insert location), specific composition unknown or estimated as (list numbers from above categories as applicable), based on (equipment, procedures, certain demonstrated capabilities)." Not as much fun as writing an NIE, but this isn't grand strategy, either.

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4 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

The minefield claim can't be proved  so I'd have to assume you're right. 

I actually thought that this was plausible because the use of landmines is a real problem in Ukraine.

https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/supporting_resources/lm_landmines_in_ukraine-technical_briefing_note_6april2015_final.pdf

Supplying the separatists with land mines is one of the main destabilization strategies of the Kremlin. Even if Ukraine wins, they will be clearing mine fields and booby-trapped apartments for the next 20 years.

3 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

To test capabilities (offensive and/or defensive)

Unlikely. Russia does this on a regular basis in Ukraine to develop and real-life test Russian EW capabilities and drones. Throwing meat at the enemy only leads to equipment losses (uniforms, radios, body armor and helmets, food packets, etc.) that Russian government provides with their own wallet and industry. In fact, the video Vlad posted had posted earlier showed the separatist Colonel dressed in Russian camouflage and Russian helmet (I was not able to 100% identify the body armor so I'm not going to make any claims about that) so it would be stupid to "test capabilities" of equipment that is produced to make separatists more efficient in combat.

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12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

If we're guessing that won't work out... We can't even confirm whether Ukraine was the aggressor or DPR barbarians were. We have no actual footage or legitimate confirmation of the rebels attacking first.

Videos show nothing that can be trusted.  Early in this battle someone uploaded old footage and said was from this battle, for example.  Even if it is from this battle, what can it show that is definitive?  What weapons are in use for that one slice of the video, that's it.  Videos in this case can't tell us anything that text reporting can't.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

The zone around here has been actually facing shelling periodically before December 18th.

There's been an overall increase in shelling for some weeks.  Pretty much all DPR sectors and, I think, some of the LPR sectors.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

One thing that doesn't make sense about this whole battle is why is there no footage or photo of these assaults. The Ukrainians managed to get their troops encircled... Which confirms they were on the offensive,

The Ukrainians are in DPR positions.  Since they did not magically appear there, of course they were on the offensive at some point in the battle.  The issue is if the DPR started an attack, got beaten back, and then Ukraine advanced.  So this piece of logic only confirms what nobody is disputing.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

but to my knowledge there is no photos of any DPR troops dead beyond the zones they were already stationed at.

The old saying here is "the absence of evidence is not evidence" applies.  I don't know of footage from other failed DPR attacks.  Plus, if the DPR is trying to hide the fact that it attacked first, then do you really expect to see footage from them showing they are lying?

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

There's already footage from the DPR terrorists not supported by the locals of course; with Ukrainian bodies in their hands (I'd share but it's graphic if you want it I can DM you) also 3 Ukrainians were confirmed to be taken by DPR according to UA sources who are already claimed they have been executed, without evidence.

Details that are not in dispute with Ukraine's account of the battle.  As for captured soldiers being executed or not, sadly it happens.  In any case, it is not relevant to this specific discussion.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

To my knowledge DPR already had the better ground in the area, high elevations. Would make no sense to advance further unless they wanted the media to do exactly what they're doing now, and probably with way better evidence rather than some tweets and statements.

Possibly, but the DPR might have wanted to see how the battle went first.  After all, how many times did Givi and Motorola take the Donetsk Airport?  I lost count :)

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Wouldn't make sense to do it during this time BECAUSE many things have already been tested in terms of tactics. Unless DPR or Kremlin is stupid enough to test company level capabilities in a hot zone of the war (Debaltsevo) I don't think this is going to be smart. 

I'll answer this in my next post.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Occupied by possibly reheating the conflict? Sounds legit.

It certainly is a possibility even if the intention is to have it be a small scale heat up.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

For what Minsk 3? This is definitely not the case. DPR/LPR uprisings are already in hold of the major cities, however they still lack half their territories. Assaulting in order to gain leverage by risking this is not smart at all.

No, I mean small political leverage.  Russia has increased violence in the Donbas for its political purposes many times already.  We might not know if this is the case now or not.

12 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

I'm still lost however on who actually started this offensive, but working by common sense the DPR has more to lose by this assault than UAF does. So I'm leaning with the UA started it narrative. Plus... Let's be honest here if Russia was the cause of this, the results would have been way different just as in August 2014. Not enough information to go off on this battle to make much of an analysis anyways. 

You're forgetting that there have been other disastrous DPR offensive activities in the past 2 years that didn't seem to make sense for the DPR, especially after the offensive activity was badly beaten.  Two cases I can think of this happened and after the defeat things quieted down.  No retaliation by regular Russian forces.  Though Haiduk seems to be saying we might be seeing that happening now.

 

 

Steve

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23 minutes ago, JUAN DEAG said:

Unlikely. Russia does this on a regular basis in Ukraine to develop and real-life test Russian EW capabilities and drones. Throwing meat at the enemy only leads to equipment losses (uniforms, radios, body armor and helmets, food packets, etc.) that Russian government provides with their own wallet and industry. In fact, the video Vlad posted had posted earlier showed the separatist Colonel dressed in Russian camouflage and Russian helmet (I was not able to 100% identify the body armor so I'm not going to make any claims about that) so it would be stupid to "test capabilities" of equipment that is produced to make separatists more efficient in combat.

Russia wants to keep this conflict more-than-cold.  Periodically it is in Russia's interests to remind everybody of this fact.  Do you think that Russia cares if a couple dozen men and equipment are lost?  Not at all.  Can it afford to take losses on this scale?  Absolutely.

The theory I have is that Russia is still trying to figure out how to create and maintain a credible fighting force in Donbas which is more independent of Russian forces than in the past.  The only way to know how well this is going is to test theory from time to time and to do so on a small scale.  What we would call a "pilot project" scale.  That is not stupid, that is quite smart.  If that is what Russia is trying to do

It could be as simple as Russia decided to rattle Ukraine's cage, picked a spot they thought they could get a quick payback on it with little risked, then botched the operation badly.  It's happened before.

Steve

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31 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

The Ukrainians are in DPR positions.  Since they did not magically appear there, of course they were on the offensive at some point in the battle.  The issue is if the DPR started an attack, got beaten back, and then Ukraine advanced.  So this piece of logic only confirms what nobody is disputing.

I meant from our Ukrainian bros. I'd think that if this battle was going so right they'd have some footage of the left overs of the DPR offensive. 

32 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

The old saying here is "the absence of evidence is not evidence" applies.

No of course... But seeing that DPR has footage I'd think the UAF would as well..

33 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

After all, how many times did Givi and Motorola take the Donetsk Airport?  I lost count :)

Airport traded hands a lot. Crazy how long it took. 

34 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

You're forgetting that there have been other disastrous DPR offensive activities in the past 2 years that didn't seem to make sense for the DPR, especially after the offensive activity was badly beaten.  Two cases I can think of this happened and after the defeat things quieted down.  No retaliation by regular Russian forces.  Though Haiduk seems to be saying we might be seeing that happening now.

Yeah he mentioned a northern wind. If that's the case then I'd think the Ukrainians were the first to launch the offensive. And if that is the case... Looking at past battles as reference a bad counter-offensive might hurt the UAF. 

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1 hour ago, VladimirTarasov said:

We can't even confirm whether Ukraine was the aggressor or DPR barbarians were.

VladimirTarasov,

Must say I strenuously object to your use of "aggressor" to characterize operations by the UA on its own sovereign territory. "Attackers" would be a much better and more accurate choice. Even there, the putative UA attackers are really counterattacking a small portion of the force which has illegally invaded and occupied part of Ukraine.

Regards,

John Kettler

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52 minutes ago, John Kettler said:

VladimirTarasov,

Must say I strenuously object to your use of "aggressor" to characterize operations by the UA on its own sovereign territory. "Attackers" would be a much better and more accurate choice. Even there, the putative UA attackers are really counterattacking a small portion of the force which has illegally invaded and occupied part of Ukraine.

Regards,

John Kettler

I was using the term in another way as in aggressor of the battle. Anyways I'm not going to get heated up over this... I'm arguing strictly militarily we dropped the political part way back. 

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We'll have to see what shakes out.  For me, I don't really care who started it because Ukraine is well within its legal and moral rights to either attack the foreign occupation of its land or defend it's remaining territory from the foreign occupiers.  Who attack who first is only interesting to me in terms of making sense of this specific battle as a battle.

One plausible scenario is that a small Ukrainian force thought they spied an opportunity to get in a quick jab, things went kinda wrong, the DPR counter attacked, Ukraine reacted to that attack and we wound up in the situation we're in now.  Similarly, the same could be said in reverse with a very small DPR unit getting itself in over its head and Ukraine smacking them back much harder than expected.  Meaning, technically neither side planned for a battle yet that is what we got.

From Russia's point of view there are reasons why it would want to engage in a smaller scale attack.  We've discussed those reasons already.  There are also many good reasons for them wanting to avoid one, especially for the next few months.  Yet we know for sure that Russia is not afraid to take extremely big risks, so we know that if Russia thought there was something to be gained by launching a small scale attack it might do it despite the possible consequences.

If Ukraine attacked first or only in self defense, two things are very clear:

1.  Ukraine took DPR positions

2.  DPR forces were unable to stop Ukraine from doing so

Who started this battle is irrelevant from Russia's standpoint.  What matters to them (or should  matter) is the outcome.  Russia has an interest in making sure Ukraine doesn't "get any ideas" that its forces can take territory from the DPR/LPR whenever it wants to.  Because Ukraine might become more aggressive and that would obligate Russia to become more aggressive, which I do not think Russia wants to have happen right now.  Therefore, Russia might want to nip a potential problem in the bud by counter attacking even though that itself is risky.  It's standard behavior of criminals, corporations, and governments.  Since Russia is a combination of all three, and has a track record of using violence to send messages, I would be surprised if they just let this go unchallenged.  Again, who started it doesn't matter.

Steve

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6 hours ago, kinophile said:

Please yes let's shy away from the 'blame'  aspect of this battle,  ie who attacked first.

Can only lead to zombification of this thread. 

@Haiduk were those strong points taken in succession, eg from north to south? 

Direction of our attack was from north to south. You can see our positions northern of "Kikimora" on Yandex maps. From where the enemy is attacking I havn't information.

Situation not so good for defenders - the soil in forest too sandy, trenches dug in this soil have worth resistance to shellings. Also shape of the forest made it ideal target for artillery fire from south to north - dispesion ellipse almost matches with it. For past day we have 11 WIA, but this is not only in Svitlodarsk bulge. 

Also yesterday in the battle were entered detachments of 46th special purpose battalion  "Donbas-Ukraina" of 10th mountain assault brigade. 

Edited by Haiduk

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And this small battle is getting bigger :(

If Ukraine is moving more units into place I am guessing they expect a larger scale Russian counter attack.  Either that or they are preparing to enlarge their territory some more.

Steve

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Bad news, enemy have captured three our wounded soldiers 20th Dec, moved them to Debaltsevo, tortured, filming this on video and uploading this in Youtube and today executed all three. I think, our soldiers will not understand any "truce" which planned from 24th Dec...

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2 minutes ago, Haiduk said:

Bad news, enemy have captured three our wounded soldiers 20th Dec, moved them to Debaltsevo, tortured, filming this on video and uploading this in Youtube and today executed all three. I think, our soldiers will not understand any "truce" which planned from 24th Dec...

And the video is confirmed to be real (please, NOBODY post it here!) and not another faked video by DPR/LPR to create disinformation?

Steve

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This is turning into something that I think would make an interesting basis for a CMBS scenario, often the smaller infantry fights that would occur on a regular basis during a large conflict are ignored for the large set piece tank battles.

I'm curious about the role of vehicles in this fight... this seems to be a dismounted infantry fight, and I would expect more vehicle casualties mentioned if they were pulling a lot of weight. Modern units are very heavy on the vehicles compared to previous wars and I've always wondered how that would look tactically in a smaller fight, compared to the massive tank battles envisioned in a Fulda Gap scenario (and a lot of CMBS scenarios). 

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So far the only vehicles I know of mentioned were 6x BMP-2 and 2xT-72 used by the DPR in the initial attack (or perhaps initial counter attack).  Not verified as far as I know, no claims of anything knocked out that I've seen.  Ukraine used one MTLB? to try and recover wounded under a flag of truce, but it was shot at and hit without casualties.  Apparently it made it back.

There's vehicles in the area on both sides.  OSCE reports sounds of tank fire on a regular basis, but no indication how much of that might be involved in this battle.

Steve

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Would note the US has slapped Russia with additional sanctions. The Treasury Department published the new additions December 20th, but the subject of the post happened on December 18th. Could there be a connection? Of particular interest is that one of the sanction targets, businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin, appears to be tied to a PMC which is deeply connected with the Russian military but much harder to keep track of.

http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-more-sanctions-putin-chef-ukraine/28187565.html

(Fair Use)

The Treasury announcement said Prigozhin had provided financial, material and technological support for senior Russian defense officials, and has had extensive business with the Defense Ministry. That includes a company linked to him that has a contract to build a military base near the Russian border with Ukraine, the department said.

“Russia has been building additional military bases near the Ukrainian border and has used these bases as staging points for deploying soldiers into Ukraine,” the announcement said.

News reports have also linked Prigozhin’s employees to a shadowy private military contractor called ChVK Vagner.

Mercenary groups like Vagner and other private contractors are believed to have played an increasingly important role in Russian foreign policy in recent years, particularly in Ukraine and Syria.

The groups operate in close coordination with formal Russian military units, such as the country’s lead military intelligence organization, known as GRU.

But because they are not formally part of the Russian armed forces, it has been harder for reporters, investigators, and analysts to track casualties, financial flows, and other details.

Earlier this month, the Russian believed to be the head of the Vagner mercenary group was spotted at an exclusive Kremlin awards ceremony -- a clear indication, many observers said, of Moscow's embrace of such groups.

Perhaps one of our Russian speakers could provide the gist of the link about ChVK Vagner? Meanwhile, for those who read English, there is an excellent article from Radio Free Europe about a gutsy Russian investigative journalist, DFenis Korotkov of Fontanka.ru in St. Petersburg who has been on Vagner's trail for years. Turns out he's Dmitry Utkin, previously a Spetsnaz Brigade commander! His training facility is right next to that of a Spetsnaz Brigade, and his troops seem to be doing Spetsnaz stuff and also operate as elite assault infantry. There are many combat veterans, some highly decorated. Utkin himself now sports the Order of Courage, but I'm not sure, despite looking at some material on Russian Federation awards, just how big a deal that is.

http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-paramilitary-mercenaries-emerge-from-the-shadows-syria-ukraine/28180321.html

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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4 hours ago, Haiduk said:

Bad news, enemy have captured three our wounded soldiers 20th Dec, moved them to Debaltsevo, tortured, filming this on video and uploading this in Youtube and today executed all three. I think, our soldiers will not understand any "truce" which planned from 24th Dec...

Could you PM me said video? 

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1 hour ago, ParanoidMoron said:

Could you PM me said video? 

Could you be in more bad taste? 

Try harder, no do.

Regardless of nationality, 3 families have had their son/brother/father tortured and executed and had it FILMED AND DISTRIBUTED just before goddamn Christmas.

 

Shove off to some girlfriend revenge porn website, you morally empty vulture.

 

Troll 1.0

 

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Let's be a little more open minded about the request.  The video should not be too hard for people to find if they know how to use Google.

There is a legitimate reason to want to see the video and that is to verify that it does, in fact, exist (there's been many empty claims over the years) and does, in fact, appear to show torture and execution.  The DPR/LPR has produced fake execution picture/videos in the past to act as psychological warfare without actually committing ISIS type activities on film.  Unfortunately, they have also filmed actual torture and signs of executions that have been verified.  And we know from other sources that they have engaged in torture, inhumane imprisonment, and summary execution.  Some of those sources are the people involved, such as Girkin's infamous reign of terror in Slavyansk in Spring 2014.

Which is to say, there is reason to doubt this video exists, but there's a large number of reasons to suspect it does and that it shows exactly what is being said.

I know that Russians and pro-Russian sympathizers bristle at the Ukrainian's characterization of DPR/LPR members as being "terrorists".  Torturing and murdering POWs then broadcasting it sure doesn't help the Russian side of the argument.  Organized non-state actors killing whomever they want, whenever they want, in order to spread fear is kinda the hallmarks of terrorism, is it not?

Steve

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Video of Gram Philips, filmed on 4th checkpoint (see a map above). He names own video "Ukrainian army shelling our positions", but on 0:48 fighter, which sit in the trench with him says: "Ne dobivayut" ([they] make undershots]). If you see how shells are hitting (dispersion ellipse from SE to NW),  direction of shelling will be from east bank of the lake - this is enemy 82 mm mortars shell our positions on 5th checkpoint on the southern edge of the forest, but make big undershots - shells fall between 4th and 5th checkpoints.

 

Today dense fog and some snow. Visibility no more 300-500 m. No major clashes, mostly mortar and artillery shellings. Yesterday we have there 1KIA and 2WIA, but medic volunters say, after clashes in past two days on battle field still some killed and injured from both sides - no opportunity to reach them under fire. In this night our artillery reportedly hit enemy battery positions near Kayutyne village, south-west from Vuhlehirsk (Uglegorsk in Russian).  

Next information about units involved: as minimum one company of 17th tank brigade stay in reserve and ready to counter enemy tank attack. Enemy also have in reserve two company tactical groups near Bulavinske village, south-east from Vuhlehirsk

Unit of 46th special purpose battalion "Donbas-Ukraina" completely have took under conrol Novoluhanske settlement on the west bank of Vuhlehirsk power plant water reservoir. This settlement on the edge of fronline considered under our control by the map, but there is no any administration - smugglers really ruled there and enemy recon groups often checked situation on outskirts. About two months ago UKR mobile group of SBU and DFS (State Fiscal Service) tried to enter in Novoluhanske and check possible smugglers activity, but were shelled by unknown men.    

Edited by Haiduk

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ATO today denied there is evidence of the murder of Ukrainian POWs:

On the other hand, Ukraine did say that 3 MIAs are now confirmed KIA.  2 bodies are in the hands of separatists, one has already been recovered by Ukrainian forces.

This report goes into more detail about the reports of torture and execution. 

http://www.interpretermag.com/day-1040/

Two sources claim they have knowledge of the videos and pictures showing 3 captured Ukrainian soldiers tortured and murdered.  However, it is also possible (as I've said above) that the DPR/Russians mixed video/pictures of captured Ukrainians with video of the bodies which they are known to have.  Signs of torture and mutilation could be misinterpretation of war wounds or disinformation from the Ukrainian side by individuals.

The possibility that DPR summarily executed non-military volunteers is also possible, though there would have to be evidence to show they even captured some.  As the article above notes there's a history of brutality towards "volunteers" fighting on behalf of Ukraine.

Steve

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