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Separatist push/Ukraine shove back


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8 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

This is funny.  When Ukraine took positions you denied it, quite forcefully.  You called the Ukrainian information "propaganda" and supported the "news" coming from Russia and separatist sources.  Now that it's confirmed that things happened pretty much as described by the Ukrainians at the time, and they have in fact taken positions and still have them, suddenly you don't think it's important that the ground was lost and now the Ukrainian "propaganda" is factually correct but not meaning anything.  I don't have to wonder how much "meaning" you would find in these battles if the Ukrainians had been the ones to lose ground.  I very much doubt you'd be calling a separatist takeover of a few outposts and trenches to be meaningless.  I think you would hold the opposite point of view.

That said, you are correct that these battles do not have strategic meaning.  They are tiny and at present do not appear to have much direct military value.  However, they do show that if Ukraine wants to take back land it can.  It also is further evidence that the separatists can not hold land unless backed by major Russian military forces.

One published Ukrainian source puts the number of dead Russian citizens in the recent battles in this area at 15.  It includes a platoon leader who was killed by his own men.  It could be all Ukrainian propaganda, for sure, but the same source has been found to be generally reliable.  Certainly more reliable than anything on the Russian side of the war.

Steve

Hm. I said that at the lake north-west of Debaltsevo Ukrainans took some positions in the forest, but than left them under artillery fire. And it is true. Approved by Ukrainian source. I don't know, what happened after that. Do you know, what trench is occupied by army, what by militia now?

And I mean not that single case, but all events of the last year, what Ukrainian propaganda describes as "retaking our Ukranian land meter by meter". (It is common theme in their publications and posts) Many (probably most) of that "retakings" are made in grey zones, and they are breaking truce conditions, by the way.

Why 15, why not 14 or 17? :) Like historian you know how reliable are units report about enemy losses. Only reliable data are tropheys. "9 Mg-42, 5 smgs. 40 rifles" - then an enemy company really was destroyed. "50 germans were killed", "enemy company was destroyed" - that are overestimates most time. And I tell about military documents, like k.t.b. And we tell about media news. :) What did Deutsche Wochenschau report about Soviet losses in June of 1944? May be Ukrainian media are better than Deutsche Wochenschau, but still they are bad source.

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you've been down this road before. I know folks want an update from Steve about the patch but in all likelihood comments like yours will draw his attention sooner.  He has a low tolerance for Russian

Russia definitely has ulterior motives in Ukraine. The Donbass has been so extensive that rebuilding/integrating it into Russia would be a huge economic drain on Russia. If they really wanted to "prot

16th March SMM OSCE UAV spotted Russian EW systems R-330Zh ("Zhytel") and newest "Tirada-2", which only in this year will go into service, but already succsessfully taken from "coal mine" on Donbas.

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Ukraine small unit "nibbles" have a positive effect militarily. Do not discount the benefit of gaining an offensive spirit. Success breeds success. These attacks teach coordination, tactics, techniques, and procedures.

So, perhaps these small scale actions don't have any effect at a strategic level...yet. But they do have a positive effect and can, over time, create the experience and expectation of offensive success. That confidence is critical. The obverse effect on the "separatists" is also true. They know that small positions are being gobbled up as they're being targeted. That erodes the will to stay in that forward position when the next Ukrainian "nibble" comes gnawing your way.

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5 hours ago, c3k said:

Ukraine small unit "nibbles" have a positive effect militarily. Do not discount the benefit of gaining an offensive spirit. Success breeds success. These attacks teach coordination, tactics, techniques, and procedures.

So, perhaps these small scale actions don't have any effect at a strategic level...yet. But they do have a positive effect and can, over time, create the experience and expectation of offensive success. That confidence is critical. The obverse effect on the "separatists" is also true. They know that small positions are being gobbled up as they're being targeted. That erodes the will to stay in that forward position when the next Ukrainian "nibble" comes gnawing your way.

Yes, quantity may transit to quality. If they repeat the trick at the same time in many places... Probably they will try while international support hadn't stopped. In spring or summer.

P.S. Sorry for awfull English in previous post, edit button disappeared.

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Not Svitlodarsk bulge, but another small step forward. Butivka coal mine north-eastern from Donetsk airport. Our troops have took this industrial buildings during final battle for airport in January of 2015 and since this time Butivka still a place of continuous shellinngs and clashes, because of it our nearst positions to enemy in Spartak settlement. Two days ago 8th company of 72nd brigade have pushed back the enemy from their forward positions in treeplant and seized its. Before the range between two sides was only 70 m, now about 400 m.  On this video from 0:46 you can see Butivka mine buildings. Regular troops are rotating here, but company of Right Sector (really of platoon size) still keep positions here without changes during two years. 

Here it satellite shot of Butivka mine, summer of 2016 on Yandex maps. You can see trench system and huge number of craters around - this is result of two years of fights for this position and artillery shellings. If you will see older terrain shot without grass, number of craters will be look better.

Без-назви-1.jpg

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14 hours ago, DMS said:

Hm. I said that at the lake north-west of Debaltsevo Ukrainans took some positions in the forest, but than left them under artillery fire. And it is true. Approved by Ukrainian source. I don't know, what happened after that. Do you know, what trench is occupied by army, what by militia now?

I'd have to go back and reread the posts, but I thought you were one of the people disputing that the Ukrainians took ground at all.  If not, then apologies.

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And I mean not that single case, but all events of the last year, what Ukrainian propaganda describes as "retaking our Ukranian land meter by meter". (It is common theme in their publications and posts) Many (probably most) of that "retakings" are made in grey zones, and they are breaking truce conditions, by the way.

Yes, I am aware of this.  It is part of an official Ukrainian strategy to retake very small areas whenever it seems that conditions are favorable.  Sometimes they are in the grey zone, sometimes not.  Considering that Russian forces went on the offensive in violation of international law and Minsk Agreement and took Debaltseve despite it clearly being in violation, I don't begrudge the Ukrainians taking back a few hills here and there.  It is, after all, their land in the first place.  Then there's all the other Russian violations to consider, such as not exchanging prisoners, continuing to have regular forces in Ukraine, continuing material support for "separatists", not handing over the border they seized by force, etc, etc.

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Why 15, why not 14 or 17? :) Like historian you know how reliable are units report about enemy losses. Only reliable data are tropheys. "9 Mg-42, 5 smgs. 40 rifles" - then an enemy company really was destroyed. "50 germans were killed", "enemy company was destroyed" - that are overestimates most time. And I tell about military documents, like k.t.b. And we tell about media news. :) What did Deutsche Wochenschau report about Soviet losses in June of 1944? May be Ukrainian media are better than Deutsche Wochenschau, but still they are bad source.

You miss my point.  I do not know if the 15 reported KIA is accurate or not.  The Ukrainian sources have named the dead so it's at least more than a magical number they came up with.  The Russian government could easily confirm or deny the body counts, however that would first require admitting it is waging a war of aggression in Ukraine.  Since it has been lying about this for 3 years, I don't see the quality of reporting on dead Russians to improve.

Here is the tabulation of the 850 Russian KIA in Ukraine from various sources.  Obviously it is not a definitive source of information, but it is more accurate than what is available from Russian Federation sources (i.e. "0")

http://sprotyv.info/ru/news/kiev/rossiyskie-volontery-prodolzhayut-fiksirovat-imena-pogibshih-na-donbasse-rosiyskih-voennyh

Steve

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@John Kettler It's more than 18 countries. Also, I wasn't trying to downplay western help or anything I was saying that the person I was responding to was exaggerating by making the assumption that the Ukrainian military is completely useless without western support. I was already aware of the assistance provided mainly by Canada, USA, and Britain, but this is mainly in small amounts of rear lines support equipment and small-unit training.

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1 hour ago, JUAN DEAG said:

@John Kettler It's more than 18 countries. Also, I wasn't trying to downplay western help or anything I was saying that the person I was responding to was exaggerating by making the assumption that the Ukrainian military is completely useless without western support. I was already aware of the assistance provided mainly by Canada, USA, and Britain, but this is mainly in small amounts of rear lines support equipment and small-unit training.

I didnt say they are useless. Its just a fact they cant do much in case of a second russian ivasion. They are sufficient enough to drive back a makeshift force of middle aged volunteers but they are probably no match for a coordinated russian army counter attack. The only thing that hold back the russians was international outcry. Thats what I call support. Political pressure, sanctions etc. I didnt mean the romanian army helmets. If political pressure gradually dissolves, with the current confusion on the US/EU camp, Russia will have a lot of more space to play. 

 

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2 hours ago, panzermartin said:

I didnt say they are useless. Its just a fact they cant do much in case of a second russian ivasion. They are sufficient enough to drive back a makeshift force of middle aged volunteers but they are probably no match for a coordinated russian army counter attack. The only thing that hold back the russians was international outcry. Thats what I call support. Political pressure, sanctions etc. I didnt mean the romanian army helmets. If political pressure gradually dissolves, with the current confusion on the US/EU camp, Russia will have a lot of more space to play. 

It is true that Russia will have a lot more space to play, but the fundamental problem for Russia still exists.  And that is the existing Ukrainian Armed Forces, without a single bit of direct assistance from the West, could roll up the frontlines very quickly whenever and wherever it wants.  To combat a large scale offensive Russia would have to move n larger quantities of line units than it did in summer 2014 and and do so in a shorter space of time.  This will not go unnoticed by anybody, including the Russian people.  They were hoodwinked, for the most part, with the 2014 counter attack... I don't think they'll be hoodwinked this time.  Especially because I expect Russian casualties would not be measured in the hundreds this time, but thousands KIA, WIA, MIA. 

Russia has only been able to hide the several thousand casualties it has sustained so far because a fair number of them were "volunteers" and the casualties largely trickled into Russia over a period of years.  10 here, 15 there, 5 this week, 20 next week, etc.  The time when they Russia committed thousands of combat forces at once the Ukrainian forces were largely spent, disorganized, and left their rear wide open south of Donetsk city.  Casualties were relatively light for the Russians in part because of that and in part because Russia was able to push Ukraine to Minsk to (largely) stop the fighting.  I do not see things going that way this time.

I see a much more competent Ukrainian military using a similar "slice and dice" strategy that they used in 2014 (it was actually very effective), but with more emphasis on protecting strategic flanks.  That means a phased attack with the initial one having fairly limited goals, wait for the Russian reaction, punish the Russian forces with maximum ferocity, assess the situation, push somewhere else if possible, assess the situation and repeat until the Russian response is either strong enough or the mission is accomplished.

The initial phase, in my view, should be to disrupt and largely compromise the entire front's defensive works.  Get the entire front fluid again.  This shouldn't be too hard to do because the majority of forces holding the front are poor quality and will flee fairly easily in too many places for the remainder to hold out successfully.  This denies Russia some degree of assurances about what is coming next.  What comes net should be at least one minor push and one major push.  The major push should be to secure a very specific amount of ground in a very specific way so as to maintain an intact frontline without leaving major opportunities for Russia to circle around behind as it did with Ilovaisk.

The second phase, if things are deemed favorable, would be to roll up another area deemed weak enough to take without compromising a solid frontline. Failing that, a general "creep" along the entire front could achieve measurable goals.

If at any time the offensive gets tripped up by Russian counter attacks, stop in that sector and shift forces to attacking somewhere else.  Even if on a limited basis.

The point of this strategy would be to take back as much territory as possible in the shortest period of time without causing Russia to push 30,000 forces in at one time.  Russia is naturally reluctant to put forces into Ukraine so favor a strategy which causes them to commit piecemeal.  Hopefully by the time Russia figures out how difficult it is to stop Ukraine with a few MBTs here and there Ukraine will have won back significant chunks of territory.

Let's not forget that for all the failings of the Ukrainian summer 2014 offensive, they retained more ground than they started with.  Especially in the original ATO area (i.e. before Russian invaded along the Sea of Azov).  Russia has already done all it can to flank to the south and I doubt it will try flanking to the north as that would be an even more blatant outright invasion than it was in 2014.

Steve

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9 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

It is true that Russia will have a lot more space to play, but the fundamental problem for Russia still exists.  And that is the existing Ukrainian Armed Forces, without a single bit of direct assistance from the West, could roll up the frontlines very quickly whenever and wherever it wants.  To combat a large scale offensive Russia would have to move n larger quantities of line units than it did in summer 2014 and and do so in a shorter space of time.  This will not go unnoticed by anybody, including the Russian people.  They were hoodwinked, for the most part, with the 2014 counter attack... I don't think they'll be hoodwinked this time.  Especially because I expect Russian casualties would not be measured in the hundreds this time, but thousands KIA, WIA, MIA. 

Russia has only been able to hide the several thousand casualties it has sustained so far because a fair number of them were "volunteers" and the casualties largely trickled into Russia over a period of years.  10 here, 15 there, 5 this week, 20 next week, etc.  The time when they Russia committed thousands of combat forces at once the Ukrainian forces were largely spent, disorganized, and left their rear wide open south of Donetsk city.  Casualties were relatively light for the Russians in part because of that and in part because Russia was able to push Ukraine to Minsk to (largely) stop the fighting.  I do not see things going that way this time.

I see a much more competent Ukrainian military using a similar "slice and dice" strategy that they used in 2014 (it was actually very effective), but with more emphasis on protecting strategic flanks.  That means a phased attack with the initial one having fairly limited goals, wait for the Russian reaction, punish the Russian forces with maximum ferocity, assess the situation, push somewhere else if possible, assess the situation and repeat until the Russian response is either strong enough or the mission is accomplished.

The initial phase, in my view, should be to disrupt and largely compromise the entire front's defensive works.  Get the entire front fluid again.  This shouldn't be too hard to do because the majority of forces holding the front are poor quality and will flee fairly easily in too many places for the remainder to hold out successfully.  This denies Russia some degree of assurances about what is coming next.  What comes net should be at least one minor push and one major push.  The major push should be to secure a very specific amount of ground in a very specific way so as to maintain an intact frontline without leaving major opportunities for Russia to circle around behind as it did with Ilovaisk.

The second phase, if things are deemed favorable, would be to roll up another area deemed weak enough to take without compromising a solid frontline. Failing that, a general "creep" along the entire front could achieve measurable goals.

If at any time the offensive gets tripped up by Russian counter attacks, stop in that sector and shift forces to attacking somewhere else.  Even if on a limited basis.

The point of this strategy would be to take back as much territory as possible in the shortest period of time without causing Russia to push 30,000 forces in at one time.  Russia is naturally reluctant to put forces into Ukraine so favor a strategy which causes them to commit piecemeal.  Hopefully by the time Russia figures out how difficult it is to stop Ukraine with a few MBTs here and there Ukraine will have won back significant chunks of territory.

Let's not forget that for all the failings of the Ukrainian summer 2014 offensive, they retained more ground than they started with.  Especially in the original ATO area (i.e. before Russian invaded along the Sea of Azov).  Russia has already done all it can to flank to the south and I doubt it will try flanking to the north as that would be an even more blatant outright invasion than it was in 2014.

Steve

Fair enough. Ukraine will naturally seek to take back territory in more force but I'm not sure it can tolerate some more thousands casualties as well. I got some questions to ask if you don't mind, since you have studied the tactical situation really closely.

Was Ukraine able to replace the relatively big hardware losses in 2014? Tanks, APCs, aircrafts etc? Is it  autonomous enough in military industry and can it build its own T-90s, APCs, SPAs, S-300 or Sukhois. I recall some military plants shared the manufacturing process with Russia (and vice versa of course). In short, can it compete in long term with no foreign aid, against a technologically and logistically superior permanent russian force in east ukraine that has also the luxury of long range support from the borders? Most key cities in the east are within reach of russian long range AAA, tactical missiles etc. In case ukrainian army approaches in large numbers there, russians can hit without actually invading, as probably has already happened. 

Do we know about the situation of the separatist army deeper in their "republic". UKR army surely is reorganizing and you are probably right it will perform better next time but I suspect Russia has a plan on its own to recruit, train and equip those units better and as we speak it might still sneaking personnel and hardware across the "thin" borders. Population in the east,  favors Russia by a significant margin and despises the ukrainian army (that has also shelled civilians in big urban areas like Donetsk). While they are not so enthusiastic to join Russia, they do prefer to keep an autonomy. So while Ukraine still technically considers those territories own soil, even in the case of a military win, people there would treat the victors more like an invading force.  

I still think, both Ukraine and Russia will avoid a larger, damaging confrontation. A lot will depend on the political situation and if the DPR is actually able to survive politically and economically. On that and given that even Crimea is not looking that good right now, I have some doubts. I dont really agree with the coup on Putin and a civil war prospect though. Imo Russia is strengthening its position worldwide, a lot consider them as the force that is actually bringing an end to the Syrian war and ISIS terror. Latest events like the assasination of the russian ambassador from a jihadist lunatic have reinforced this image to the world. Amazingly, they have even teamed up with Erdgoan's Turkey lately, a NATO member. And there is still the prospect of teaming up with Trump's USA against islamic state. That will be a big victory for Putin. And whatever serious western leaning opposition is left, is somewhat losing its purpose now. Because West is starting to look a bit more like Russia now instead of the opposite, more conservative, nationalistic, anti-islamist and xenophobic.

 

 

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1 hour ago, panzermartin said:

Fair enough. Ukraine will naturally seek to take back territory in more force but I'm not sure it can tolerate some more thousands casualties as well. I got some questions to ask if you don't mind, since you have studied the tactical situation really closely.

It is absolutely possible that Ukraine's will to fight would collapse.  However, its will to fight did not collapse with the disasters in the 2014 Russian counter offensive.  Its will did not collapse after losing the airport or the much large scale loss of Debaltseve.  I think evidence suggests that Ukraine is willing to fight for its independence against Russian aggression and, in some ways, would welcome an outright fight with heavier losses compared to the steady trickle of pain that is the present situation.  That said, nobody knows what will happen and therefore all possibilities are open, including a the possibility of a catastrophic collapse of Russia's will to fight.

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Was Ukraine able to replace the relatively big hardware losses in 2014? Tanks, APCs, aircrafts etc?

Yes.

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Is it  autonomous enough in military industry and can it build its own T-90s, APCs, SPAs, S-300 or Sukhois.

No, but the war so far has shown this is not necessary to beat Russian forces on the ground.  Ukraine tactically defeated the Russians many times in 2014 with vastly inferior equipment, training, and leadership.

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I recall some military plants shared the manufacturing process with Russia (and vice versa of course). In short, can it compete in long term with no foreign aid, against a technologically and logistically superior permanent russian force in east ukraine that has also the luxury of long range support from the borders?

It depends on how you define "compete".  Can Ukraine have a technical parity with Russia on its own?  No.  Can it come close enough that whatever advantages Russia has are more on paper than in reality?  Yes.  In that sense it can be, and probably already largely is, competitive with Russian forces on the ground.  Air is a different story and so that is the biggest wildcard in any outright conflict.

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Most key cities in the east are within reach of russian long range AAA, tactical missiles etc. In case ukrainian army approaches in large numbers there, russians can hit without actually invading, as probably has already happened. 

Ukraine's airpower is not in play now nor was it in play during the 2014 Russian counter offensive.  That status quo will continue.

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Do we know about the situation of the separatist army deeper in their "republic". UKR army surely is reorganizing and you are probably right it will perform better next time but I suspect Russia has a plan on its own to recruit, train and equip those units better and as we speak it might still sneaking personnel and hardware across the "thin" borders. Population in the east,  favors Russia by a significant margin and despises the ukrainian army (that has also shelled civilians in big urban areas like Donetsk). While they are not so enthusiastic to join Russia, they do prefer to keep an autonomy. So while Ukraine still technically considers those territories own soil, even in the case of a military win, people there would treat the victors more like an invading force.  

This is what the propaganda out of DPR, LPR, and Russia has been saying since the start.  The reality is that life within the two fake republics is quite bad for the roughly 1/3rd of the population that remains.  There has also been an extremely low willingness of the locals to fight which has been consistent since the start.  There would be no partisan warfare against Ukrainian advances as there wasn't when Ukraine liberated large sections of territory in 2014.  Even though at the time there was vastly less certainty and vastly more Russian poison in the minds at the time (i.e. Russian propaganda saying that Ukrainian forces were murderous Nazis).  I think you'd find out that the bulk of the remaining population would be very happy to be liberated.

As for improved militia forces... Russia has been trying, and failing, to build a credible Militia military since the start.  They have repeatedly failed time and time again because the nature of the DPR/LPR is inherently against such success.  The militias are a mix of disaffected locals, disaffected Russians, and Russian contract soldiers "on vacation".  The motivations for each to fight are very different and that undermines unit cohesion.  For the most part the only unifying force is that of money.  They are, in no small ways, mercenaries with little incentive to fight for anything other than personal gain.  This has been so bad that Russia has had to assassinate leaders and disband units at various times simply in order to maintain some degree of control.

The result is that there is no unified and motivated force to go up against Ukraine.  That gives Ukraine a massive advantage.  The small scale battles, like we've been discussing here, and past performance shows how it will likely play out on a large scale.  The militias will fire a few shots and then retreat.  After retreating they will fracture along motivational lines, with many discarding their uniforms and going back to Russia.  Some will remain and fight, for sure, but it's not going to be enough in number nor in quality to make a difference.  Russia will have to push large forces into place to substitute.

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I still think, both Ukraine and Russia will avoid a larger, damaging confrontation. A lot will depend on the political situation and if the DPR is actually able to survive politically and economically. On that and given that even Crimea is not looking that good right now, I have some doubts.

Your doubts should not have doubts :D  Even before Russia started this war the Donbas and Crimea regions were dependent upon central government resources in order to function.  This has not changed under Russia's domination.  Especially not for the Donbas which is even more controlled by criminal organizations which are not working in the best interests of the Russian state (not to mention the local people).  They are completely and utterly dependent upon Russia for their existence in all ways.

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I dont really agree with the coup on Putin and a civil war prospect though. Imo Russia is strengthening its position worldwide, a lot consider them as the force that is actually bringing an end to the Syrian war and ISIS terror.

Sure, and when Nazi Germany was at the gates of Stalingrad and the foothills of the Caucuses things looked pretty good for Germany on the Eastern Front.  For the whole of Europe only Britain was under Germany's rule, allegiance, or complicit neutrality.  In fact, the Allies had just botched an invasion of France very badly with the Dieppe Raid.  In Africa things were looking pretty good for Germany too, in the Atlantic things were looking great, and there was signs that the United States would be totally distracted by Japan for many years to come.  But it was all an illusion.  Germany was just months away from catastrophic collapse.  And if you understand the inner workings of the Third Reich and battlefield dynamics, it's plainly easy to see why it was defeated.

In terms of Russia, things are getting worse for the Russian government in every way on all fronts in ways that matters from a historical perspective.  Declining birthrates are not changed by dropping cluster bombs on civilians in Aleppo and claiming "dead terrorists".  The fleeing of Russia's best/brightest citizens to the West in record numbers isn't being reversed by the reduction of political opposition.  Russia's dependence on oil revenue is not reduced by having a rickety aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.  Russia's problems with internal Islamization is not changed by unconstitutionally favoring the building of Russian Orthodox churches.  The lack of money for critical internal services is not improved by shiny expensive and unproven tanks on parade.  Etc.

Critical and common historical indicators necessary for revolution and/or regime collapse and/or violent coup exist within Russia today.  And they are getting worse, not better.  Many of the exact same conditions were present when the Soviet Union imploded.  Russia is just one bad event away from serious reversal of even the illusion of rise of power.  I can not predict when or what this catalyst will be, only that the more time that goes by the more likely it is and the more likely it can be identified ahead of time.  It could come tomorrow, it could come in 5 years, but it will come.

Do not be fooled by uninformed reporting in the West and disinformation from Russia.  Russia is stronger in its news than it is in its reality.  I for one believe Putin is very well aware of this fact.

Steve

 

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4 hours ago, panzermartin said:

Was Ukraine able to replace the relatively big hardware losses in 2014? Tanks, APCs, aircrafts etc?

We have many specimens of new weapon and equipment, but we have four big problems, which are breaking its adopting and producing:

- lack of money for new weapon. About 60 % of all funds in military budget is going on army maintanance (payroll, food supply, fuel etc).

- deep corruption in the state Ukroboronprom (UOP) company. Almost all their products have low quality and abnormaly big price (for Ukrainain conditions). Really interest developments have too hard way to army, but poor developments under cover of UOP officials often have green light.

- complete decline of manufacture resourses for 25 years. Obsolete machine-tools and technologies, destroyed system of qaulified workers education, loss of many talented engineers, which because of small salaries and unemployment either immigrated or changed own job.

- bureacracy. New specimen of weapon have to pass 1-2 years of trials before it officially will be adopted. Since 2015 military have found a hole in this paper wall - new weapon can adopt as "experimental exploitation" for several months "only" ( APCs BTR-3DA and "Spartan" for example). Or to say to clercs: "guys, this is not new equipment, this is deep upgrade of this thing" and then also weapon can be adopted faster (DShK-TK "sniper HMG" for example) 

All of this causes we can produce only 10 Oplots and 50-70 BTR-3/4/Dozor-B per year. No one state design bureaus didn't make any project of new IFV for BMP 1/2 substitution (excepted volunteer "Azovets" projects). And this in that time, when we almost have exhausted stores of BMP-2. Modernization project of BMP-1 from year to year is changing, MoD officials say "well, this is interesting", but vehicke to this time even didn't start program of trials.    

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Thanks for those details.

While it looks like Ukraine has largely recovered from the losses suffered in 2014, it was done in large part by taking old stuff out of "mothballs" and getting them ready again for use.  As Haiduk points out, that source of supply isn't unlimited.  If the war goes hot again, Ukraine has only a limited ability to sustain losses in certain vehicle and weapons categories.

New production is needed and that's a problem for Ukraine.  Likewise, purchasing abroad is a problem because Russia will freak out if anything lethal is sold to Ukraine.  Despite Ukraine being a fully recognized and independent nation, Russia has enough clout to deny Ukraine one of its most fundamental rights as an independent nation... the right to arm itself against foreign threats.

Steve

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20 hours ago, Erwin said:

Am listening to Russian celebrations at Trump's inauguration.  It will be interesting how he finesses his popularity with getting the Russians out of occupied territories.  There is real window of opportunity.

Not going to happen even if Trump was up to the task, which is highly questionable.  Russia is there because it views those occupations as critical for its national interests.  Russia will never give up something like that, even if something else were offered in exchange.  The pattern of Russian government policy is "what's yours is mine, what's mine is mine".  There's no give and take, only take.  Syria is a perfect example of this, as is the farce of fighting against ISIS.

Remember, the popularity of Trump in Russia is the result of Russian state sponsored propaganda.  The instant the Russian government wants to knock down public support for Trump it will simply reverse the propaganda.  To paraphrase an old saying, the Russian government created pro-Trump sentiment and it can easily remove it.

Trump has zero leverage.

Steve

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On 1/19/2017 at 7:44 PM, panzermartin said:

I didnt say they are useless. Its just a fact they cant do much in case of a second russian ivasion. They are sufficient enough to drive back a makeshift force of middle aged volunteers but they are probably no match for a coordinated russian army counter attack. The only thing that hold back the russians was international outcry. Thats what I call support. Political pressure, sanctions etc. I didnt mean the romanian army helmets. If political pressure gradually dissolves, with the current confusion on the US/EU camp, Russia will have a lot of more space to play. 

Ah, okay. I misunderstood then.

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Apparently a new Ukrainian limited offensive happened yesterday.  This one involved elements of three battalions from three different Brigades took back some terrain overlooking Stakhanov in the north western portion of Luhansk.  It appears that they were taken without much, if any, fighting.  Not sure if the Ukrainians figured out that nobody was there and moved in or if the LPR forces realized the Ukrainians were coming in force and buggered out ahead of time.  Either way, roughly 500m worth of positions are now under Ukrainian control.  As with other actions, on its own this isn't all that interesting, but as part of a pattern it is.

One thing to notice is that Ukraine has consistently used elements of multiple Brigades for offensive and counter offensive operations.  The obvious purpose of this is to make sure the widest array of forces have experience with combat operations.  In this case the 54th Mech Bgd, 18th Tank Bgd, and (I thinik) 24th Mech Infantry Bgd.

Steve

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

Apparently a new Ukrainian limited offensive happened yesterday.... 

...One thing to notice is that Ukraine has consistently used elements of multiple Brigades for offensive and counter offensive operations.  The obvious purpose of this is to make sure the widest array of forces have experience with combat operations.  In this case the 54th Mech Bgd, 18th Tank Bgd, and (I thinik) 24th Mech Infantry Bgd.

Steve

This was small operation "Sukhumi", which as far as before New year have conducted by platoon "Georgian legion" (personnel are Georgian volunteers, mostly former Georgaian troopers, which want to revenge to Russia for 888) of 25th mororized infantry battalion of 54th mech.brigade with support of several small units (no more platoon or battery) from 2nd battalion of 54th brigade and mech.battalion of 17th tank brigade. Only now about this made reportage on TV, though in FB about this wrote two weeks ago.  

Here is TV-reportage from there. I'm going to briefly translate: Separatsist  recently have advanced in grey zone esstern of Popasna town, seized one height and started fortification works, but before set huge minefield in front of positions. Looks like after 20th of Dec, while main attention was on battle for "Kikimora" forest, our forces have blocked with fire enemy logistic communications with this height and forced "separ's" garrison to desert from own uncompleted positions, because they couldn't receive enough supply and materials for building. When enemy have gone, Georgians almost without shooting seized empty positions. Several tracks was cleared from mines, but main mineclear works wil start only when snow will melt away. Looks like death of one sapper of 25th battalion at the 28th Dec was in that area (in FB wrtote near Troitske not far from height 164). Probably he cleared mines on this track. Today Georgians already have fire contact with enemy recon group - they probably wanted to look how our troops settle there. 

From 3:12 tells about 46th separate battalion "Donbas-Ukraina", which sezed Novoluhanske during the battle for "Kikimiora".

 

Edited by Haiduk
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Became knowingly about next advance of UKR troops. This happened also before New year, but because of all attention was attracted to Svitlodarsk bulge, this success remained unspotted. In Mariuopl sector, our marines and some detachments of recon battalion have advanced on 500 m and probably outflanked from south Kominternove town (line of estimated advance marked by yellow on the map below). Advancing was conducted in several stages - rush forward on 100-200 m, digging in and suppressing of enemy fire by support, pause in one day, next rush, etc.

%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%83%D0%BF%D0%

 

 

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"The obvious purpose of this is to make sure the widest array of forces have experience with combat operations.  In this case the 54th Mech Bgd, 18th Tank Bgd, and (I thinik) 24th Mech Infantry Bgd."
From my perspective the obvious reason for this is different - inability and/or reluctance to operate brigades or larger formations. Compare and contrast with the Chechen wars.

Edited by ikalugin
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Thanks for the update Haiduk.  More evidence that the Ukrainian strategy is practical.

14 minutes ago, ikalugin said:

From my perspective the obvious reason for this is different - inability and/or reluctance to operate brigades or larger formations. Compare and contrast with the Chechen wars.

Except that it is more difficult to control three battalions from three separate brigades/regiments than it is to control three battalions from the same brigade/regiment.  Also, it is pretty clear this is for experience because Ukraine has been regularly rotating battalions into and out of the line for 2 years now.  This is also a way of dealing with rebuilding units when conscripts are released, good public relations in the home district (if all soldiers are gone at one time there's more problems), and probably other reasons that I am not thinking about.

I'm pretty sure that at some point I read that it was official Ukrainian strategy to have 1-2 battalions in the line and 1-2 in training from the same parent unit.  It's very standard practice for very good reasons.  For example, the US has many pieces of Brigades in Afghanistan instead of a few whole Brigades.  You can't argue that the US is doing that because they lack the ability to control larger forces ;)

Steve

 

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8 hours ago, ikalugin said:

"The obvious purpose of this is to make sure the widest array of forces have experience with combat operations.  In this case the 54th Mech Bgd, 18th Tank Bgd, and (I thinik) 24th Mech Infantry Bgd."
From my perspective the obvious reason for this is different - inability and/or reluctance to operate brigades or larger formations. Compare and contrast with the Chechen wars.

No. This is just a consequences of chose strategy. We can't now to offense with large forces, because there is a risk of large-scale Russian response like in 2014. All "small step" operations are conducting on relatively small front and as a rule in vicinity of one nearby strongpoint area. So in action can be involved also neighbour troops as fire supoprt or strenghthening. In battle for "Kikimora" only 54th brigade participated (less of two companies of two battalions, which hold positions there). Toitske-Popasna is a place, where Svitlodarsk bulge ends and other other zone of responsibility with other units begins. So, naturally that many units (platoons) from different brigades turned out invloved. But main work anyway have made "Georgian legion" of 25th motorized battalion. Other were as support only. 

Joint operations of several battalions from several brigades or whole brigade are successfully training on maneuvers. 

Edited by Haiduk
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VSU attack again and again. If DNR forces don't respond symmetrically - they continue to attack. And if DNR strike back - they will shout about "Russian agression" again. That dirty local wars. ( The same things took place in Chechnya.

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2 hours ago, Haiduk said:

No. This is just a consequences of chose strategy. We can't now to offense with large forces, because there is a risk of large-scale Russian response like in 2014.

You clearly misread me, as I have explicitely stated:

"inability and/or reluctance", which includes term "reluctance", you can see the translation here:

https://translate.google.ru/#en/ru/reluctance

10 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Except that it is more difficult to control three battalions from three separate brigades/regiments than it is to control three battalions from the same brigade/regiment.  Also, it is pretty clear this is for experience because Ukraine has been regularly rotating battalions into and out of the line for 2 years now.  This is also a way of dealing with rebuilding units when conscripts are released, good public relations in the home district (if all soldiers are gone at one time there's more problems), and probably other reasons that I am not thinking about.

I'm pretty sure that at some point I read that it was official Ukrainian strategy to have 1-2 battalions in the line and 1-2 in training from the same parent unit.  It's very standard practice for very good reasons.  For example, the US has many pieces of Brigades in Afghanistan instead of a few whole Brigades.  You can't argue that the US is doing that because they lack the ability to control larger forces ;)

Except that they are forced to use battalions from different units. This is actually supported by the practice of battalion rotation (units being unable to muster a larger force for new operations due to the low unit level readiness and other considerations, such as the difficulty of moving a dispersed brigade from the combat area). Then in addition to the inability there is a factor of reluctance that Haiduk talked about above.

This practice (to train at the unit level and rotate subunits) is actually another of the reasons why Kiev Loyalists could not deploy BDE sized force and instead have to rely on the ad-hoc formations of subunits. Again, I would suggest that you would look into the Russian experience in both Chechen wars and it's criticism in regard to using parts of units/formations (battalions out of regiments, regiments out of divisions) with rotation of said parts instead of full units/formations and rotation of full units.

Edited by ikalugin
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