Dmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Operational data from Information Resistance:
During the past few days, militants have been observed using the same tactic against Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) forces on several sections of the “front line” in Donbas. Groups of Russian-terrorist infantry troops approach Ukrainian troop positions with a view to open fire at them under cover of armored vehicles (mainly BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and BTR armored personnel carriers), which are also used to improve the mobility of the firing groups operating directly on the front line. Terrorists mainly use small arms (including heavy machine guns), as well as mortars, grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns.
For example, in the coastal regions, north of Sakhanka, a militant group operating under covering fire from a BTR-80 armored personnel carrier, recently attempted to penetrate the ATO forces’ combat formations. While intense fire from the armored personnel carrier’s on-board guns “diverted the attention” of the Ukrainian troops’ battlefield security, the militant group tried infiltrating the ATO tactical forces’ rear from the treeline. After these maneuvers were quickly spotted by look-outs among battlefield security, soldiers of one of the advanced Ukrainian units opened sustained fire from machine-guns and automatic rifles. Following the firefight, militants retreated to their initial line.
Militants operated similarly in the area north of the Donetsk International Airport (DAP). Supported by three BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, militants tried advancing from Spartak and the destroyed DAP radar installation, towards Opytne. Their movements were covered by intense militant fire from both flanks (AGS-17 stand-mounted automatic grenade launchers and ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns were used). Fire was returned and, as a result of the ensuing firefight, militants retreated to their starting point.
North of Avdiivka, a militant group moved stealthily into the neutral zone and took up positions 200-300 meters from a Ukrainian troop stronghold. After unsighted firing on the stronghold from 82 mm mortars, the militant group opened heavy fire from machine guns and automatic rifles, as well as hand-held grenade launchers. Following a half-hour firefight, militants withdrew.
A skirmish was recorded near Krasnohorivka. In addition to small arms, militants used 82 mm mortars and SPG-9 “Kopye [Spear]” recoilless guns.
Terrorists also fired on the ATO forces’ positions near Pisky, Avdiivka, Mar’inka, Novhorodske and Shumy.
Militants have brought reinforcements into the Vtoraya Ploshchadka housing estate in Donetsk: at least two ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns (on a vehicle), a mortar battery of four 2B9 “Vasilyok [Cornflower]” 82-mm mortars, and up to 100 personnel. Armored vehicles have been spotted close to the Chervonoarmiiske highway: four BTR-70s and 80s, two BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and four MT-LB light-armored multipurpose transporters. Militants are withdrawing further back from the demarcation line a part of the heavy armor and artillery previously observed in “Putilovsky Wood Park” (Kyivskyi district of] Donetsk), where terrorists had previously set up a “marshalling area” for materiel used in the fighting for Avdiivka, Opytne and Pisky. In the past 24 hours, six D-30 and D-30A 122-mm guns and two MT-LB transporters have been removed to the area of Partizanskyi Avenue and Davydenka Street [both in the Kyivskyi district of Donetsk].
Militants continue to strengthen their positions between the Mariupol – Krasnoarmiiske and Mariupol – Novoazovsk highways along the Zaichenko – Dzerzhynsk – Leninske – Sakhanka – Shyrokyne axis. The arrival of an armored vehicle group (four BBM armored combat vehicles) has been noted in Zaichenko; while a further three BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles have appeared at positions in Sakhanka and north of the settlement. At present, terrorists have withdrawn most of their heavy armor in the coastal regions beyond the Novoazovsk – Telmanove – Donetsk highway. Active on the front line are mostly enemy mobile groups that are equipped with mortars and stand-mounted automatic grenade launchers and based at several strongholds. Nevertheless, part of the heavy armor (including tanks: despite their announced removal, at least six tanks have been recorded along this stretch) remains on the front line.
A “mixed commission” of officials from the Russian Federation and “Donetsk People’s Republic [DNR]” has arrived in Horlivka. The arrived convoy consisted of two buses with tinted windows and seven jeeps escorted by two BTR-80 armored personnel carriers and two Russian GAZ-2330 “Tiger” armored fighting vehicles. The “commission” representatives only move around with an increased security escort. Earlier, sources of the IR group in the “DNR” administration reported that several “high-ranking officials” of the so-called “Ministry of State Security of the DNR” and their Russian “supervisors” traveled to Horlivka from Donetsk.
Militant units at positions between Dokuchajevsk, Novolaspa and Bila Kamyanka have received additional reinforcements of several infantry groups (infantry platoons of 25-30 personnel). Each group (platoon) consists of both local militants trained in Donbas training camps as well as Russian mercenaries. Furthermore, new infantry fighting vehicles and MT-LB transporters (five vehicles in total) have appeared at several positions on this stretch, to join the armored vehicles concentrated there earlier.
The “DNR” military command has demanded – from the heads of companies of all forms of ownership in the areas controlled by the “DNR” – to provide data about their vehicle fleets, supposedly to create a general register of “mobilizable vehicle resources.” Previously, “registers” such as this compiled in various other localities were actively used by militants to illegally commandeer vehicles for their own use.
Remains of the Butovska mine, northern outskirts of Donetsk. Photo source
Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB
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