IR summary: Occupiers are sharply increasing the firepower of LNR 2nd Army Corps artillery units

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
05.15.2017 (May 15, 2017)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

(See end of post for acronym glossary)

Operational data from Information Resistance:

Over the past weekend (May 13-14, 2017), the volume and intensity of shelling by the Russian-terrorist forces in Donbas has sharply increased. The occupiers continue actively using 120-mm mortars, 122-mm cannon artillery, and occasionally 122-mm “Grad” BM-21 MLRS, all of which are banned by the Minsk agreements. The enemy is also actively using armored vehicles, including tanks, on the front line (in small groups and individually). Furthermore, small enemy infantry groups are active along many sections of the front, carrying out abrupt shelling on the ATO forces’ front edge, conducting sabotage, and carrying out active reconnaissance to discover the Ukrainian troops’ defense systems at both the front line and in the tactical depths.

Shelling by the occupiers serves multiple purposes: to provoke retaliatory fire from Ukrainian troops, to target residential buildings as well as to inflict damage on advanced units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and force their withdrawal from a number of lines and positions. In some instances, occupier artillery units also conduct range-finding fire.

Notably, the following instances of enemy heavy weaponry use and high-intensity shelling were observed in the ATO zone during the past 24 hours:

In the Mariupol region (on the PavlopilShyrokyne stretch), the occupiers continue massive shelling, in an attempt to push UAF units all the way back to the eastern outskirts of Mariupol. In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian advanced positions east of Vodyane, southeast of Lebedynske and along the eastern outskirts of Shyrokyne, were repeatedly subjected to massive fire strikes from 120-mm mortars and 122-mm cannon artillery. The enemy also deployed these weapons at the ATO forces’ positions east of Lomakyne, Talakivka and Hnutove. The use of heavy weaponry was accompanied by a continuous shelling of UAF battle formations and advanced units from enemy heavy machine guns, 82-mm mortars, hand-held and stand-mounted grenade launchers, and automatic small arms.

Occupier mobile fire groups were active on the stretch between Naberezhne and the village of Verkhnoshyrokivske (formerly Oktyabr). These groups usually include one to two 120-mm mortars and two to three 82-mm “Vasilek” 2B9 automatic mortars, sometimes backed up with one or two ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft systems. These strike groups are used for brief shelling raids along the front edge, after which they promptly leave their firing positions. During the past 24 hours, similar groups repeatedly fired on UAF positions northeast of Pavlopil, south and east of Chermalyk, and north and east of Pyshchevyk. It should be noted that the use of such groups by occupiers is widespread throughout the ATO zone and not limited to the the Mariupol direction of operations.

The enemy also actively used armoured vehicles in the Mariupol region. Southeast of Vodyane, two BMP-2s, under covering fire from 82-mm automatic mortars, fired several series of rounds from on-board 30-mm automatic guns at the advanced ATO forces’ positions, while changing their firing positions repeatedly. In an area northeast of Shyrokyne, a single BMP-2 repeatedly opened fire on advanced UAF positions. North of the MariupolTelmanove highway, a single enemy BTR-70/80 maneuvered along the front edge and fired on the UAF advanced positions west of Pikuzy (formerly Kominternove).

Particularly notable was the night-time shelling of the UAF tactical rear on the NovohnativkaBohdanivka stretch on 13.05 (at 01:42 am), when the occupiers used 152-mm. The enemy also carried out a brief fire attack on the UAF tactical rear using a separate artillery battery (four 152-mm Msta-B 2A65 cannons) from positions southeast of Styla (18 HE shell bursts were recorded beyond the Mykolaivske reservoir, in the fields between Rybynske and Buhas in the Volnovakha direction). The apparent target was one of the sites in the rear of the UAF brigade defending this area.

“Giatsint” 152-mm cannon artillery

Shelling also remains continuous in the Donetsk region. The enemy used heavy weaponry most actively in the Avdiivka area, as well as close to the highway junction at the Donetsk Bypass Road north of the Donetsk-Pivnichnyi railway station, the Putilovskaya (Butivka) mine air collector and DAP [Donetsk International Airport]. Here, the enemy was observed using 122-mm artillery, as well as 120-mm and 82-mm mortars. The occupiers also repeatedly used individual armored combat vehicle groups. In the Pisky area, a pair of armored combat vehicles (BMP-1 and BMP-2) fired from the southern part of Zhobunky and from beyond the Pozharka [Fire Station] bus station; afterwards, 82-mm and 120-mm mortars actively fired at Opytne. The occupiers used 120-mm mortars and 122-mm cannon artillery to carry out a series of several short but intense fire strikes on UAF positions in the vicinity of the “Almaz” position, “Tsarska ohota” restaraunt, and the Avdiivka industrial zone, as well as further north (near Stara Avdiivka). In this sector, the enemy also used 122-mm cannon artillery (separate shell bursts near Levanevskoho Street and Shkilnyi Lane).

Near Marinka, an occupier mobile fire group repeatedly fired 120-mm mortars from the southern outskirts of Oleksandrivka, at the eastern outskirts of Marinka and at advanced UAF positions south of this settlement. A combination of 82-mm and 120-mm mortars was used to actively shell Ukrainian troop positions in the area of the Internat [Orphanage] station (firing from the waste heaps in the Trudovski neighborhood of Donetsk and the forest park further south). From the private residential sector in the same area, south of the Osykova (Bakhmutka) River, a pair of occupier armored combat vehicles (BMP-2 and BTR-80) alternated firing on ATO forces’ advanced positions on the eastern outskirts of the village.

At the Svitlodarsk salient, the situation has escalated sharply, particularly in the Novoluhanske area (according to initial information, the Ukrainian officials’ “closure” of a smuggling route here made the militants extremely dissatisfied). The enemy shelled advanced UAF positions on the eastern outskirts of Dolomitne, using 82-mm mortars and heavy machine guns from the direction of the Dolomitne railway station and from the direction of Travneve, while 120-mm mortars were used heavily from positions east of Holmivskyi. During the past weekend, the enemy carried out a fire strike on the farm and the northeastern outskirts of Novoluhanske, using 122-mm BM-21 Grad MLRS, in order to “test” the firepower of Ukrainian troops in this sector.

On the Lozove to Rozsadky stretch, there was permanent shelling by the occupiers from 120-mm mortars and BMP-1/2s. The procedure was the same as the IR group reported earlier – the arrival by stealth at previously equipped and camouflaged firing positions on the frontmost line – a short but massive fire strike with mortars followed by withdrawal deep into militant battle formations under covering fire from the mortars.

An occupier armored vehicle group raked UAF positions with fire east of Troitske (a tank and BMP-1 firing for at least an hour at UAF advanced positions, relaying one another and changing firing positions). The armored vehicles received covering fire from 120-mm and 82-mm mortars.

Near Novozvanivka, the occupiers renewed shelling from 122-mm cannon artillery. From a position northeast of Kalinovo, an enemy self-propelled howitzer artillery battery (four 122-mm 2S1 “Gvozdika” self-propelled guns) persistently shelled (in series of 12-15 rounds) advanced UAF positions northeast and east of the village (individual shells exploded in the vicinity of the “10th km” railway station). During the shelling, the enemy battery maneuvered to change firing positions.

In the vicinity of the Bakhmut highway (Luhansk–Severodonetsk) along the Severskiy–Donets River, the occupiers renewed the heavy use of 120-mm mortars, armored vehicles, and 122-mm artillery. Near Krymske, a single BMP-1, operating under covering fire from heavy machine guns and 82-mm mortars, fired from several positions in an attempt to destroy the fortifications at one of the UAF strongholds. A short fire strike against UAF advanced positions with 122-mm artillery (three 122-mm D-30A howitzer guns) was also noted from positions south of Pryshyb (up to 20 rounds).

* * *

Movement of the occupiers’ vehicles was particularly prominent along two directions: ShakhtarskKhartsyzk and through Starobesheve. Over a three-day period, these included several convoys:
• through Shakhtarsk: two 152-mm 2S3 “Akatsia” self-propelled guns on low-bed trucks moving towards Makiivka, plus at least 20 trucks (mainly army Urals) making up three different convoys;
• south of Starobesheve: a mixed convoy of three MT-LBs and four Kamaz trucks heading south, and two Ural trucks moving towards Styla.

Large amounts of mortar and artillery ammunition are being transferred from the army base ammunition storage in Amvrosiivka towards Donetsk (5-6 trucks per day).

Eight “Grad” MLRS units, previously brought in from the Russian Federation, have arrived near Novoamvrosiivske (Amvrosiivskyi district). The units are located on the territory of Novoamvrosiivske Cement Factory (Heidelberg Cement in Ukraine). Ammunition and military hardware are also being transferred by rail transport to the factory site.

Close to the Lenin mine (Horlivka), the occupiers are conducting earthworks and equipping new firing positions. The occupier commanders operating in this area plan to boost the firepower of enemy formations with 120-mm mortars and SPG-9 stand-mounted anti-tank grenade launchers.

The high command of the “LNR 2nd Army Corps” is liaising with the Center for Territorial Troops of the South-East Region of the Russian Armed Forces on plans for a sharp increase in the firepower of the corps’ artillery units. According to the current proposals, artillery divisions in LNR 2nd Army Corps brigades would switch from a three-battery to a four-battery structure, with a fourth “long-range” or “heavy-artillery” battery equipped with 152-mm 2A36 “Giatsint” cannons and 203-mm 2S7 “Pion” self-propelled guns. An alternative proposal is not to change the division structure, but to create a separate “reserve division of the high command” comprised of “Giasints” and “Pions,” or else a three-battery brigade equipped with these guns. It should be noted that separate groups of one or two such guns are already operating in “test mode” within the “LNR 2nd Army Corps.”

A lice infestation has been reported in the “9th separate motorized rifle marine regiment of the 1st DNR Army Corps” (Novoazovskyi district) at positions on the front line and in directly adjacent bases. Currently, militants are busily disinfecting and issuing new equipment and uniforms as a matter of urgency.

The leaders of the “Peace for Luhansk Land” social movement (controlled by Ihor Plotnitsky) have been instructed by their Russian supervisors to step up the recruitment of residents of the pseudo-republic into its ranks. The headcount of the movement must be increased to 100,000 persons by 1st September of this year (currently at 88,000). In order to reach this target, the ringleaders of the “Peace for Luhansk Land” social movement’s regional branches are resorting to falsification, by listing as members of the movement deceased persons and citizens who have departed the temporarily occupied territory.

Source: sprotyf.info 

Glossary:

AC – Army Corps
ACV – armored combat vehicle
AGS-17 – automatic grenade launcher
ATO – Anti-Terrorist Operation
BMP – infantry fighting vehicle
BTG – battalion tactical group
BTR, APC – armored personnel carrier
BRDM – armored reconnaissance and surveillance vehicle
BRM – armored reconnaissance vehicle
DAP – Donetsk International Airport
DNR – “Donetsk People’s Republic”
DRG – sabotage and reconnaissance group
ELINT – Electronic Intelligence
GRU – Russian Defense Intelligence, the main military foreign-intelligence service of the Russian Federation
KSM – command and staff vehicle
LNR – “Luhansk People’s Republic”
MGB – Ministry of State Security
MOD – Ministry of Defense
MT-LB – light multipurpose tracked vehicle
MLRS – multiple-launch rocket systems
OMSBR – Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade
SBU – Ukrainian Secret Service
SPG-9 – stand-mounted grenade launcher
TZM, TLV – transporter-loading vehicle
UAF – Ukrainian Armed Forces
UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drones or other)
ZU-23-2 – anti-aircraft artillery system

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News from Oleksandr Kostenko #FreeKostenko

By Yana Goncharova, Russian activist
05.18.2017
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

News from [Oleksandr] Sasha Kostenko:

A few weeks ago Sasha was taken to the hospital to determine how important it is to perform surgery on his arm [VoU Editor: which was broken under state torture over 2 years ago in February of 2015]. Of course, the doctors’ consultation said that, at the moment, they do not consider surgery on his arm to be a necessity. Prison doctors are certain that when Sasha gets out [of prison, VoU Ed: his sentence ends in September of 2018], he can then have the surgery once he’s free.

Kostenko has problems with his immune system,; he was often ill during the winter, and his arm continues to hurt. He has been sent vitamins and pain medications [from the outside].

For over six months now, the prison administration has had no complaints [against him]; he was not put in SHIZO [penal isolation] and, in principle, everything is fairly calm.

Yesterday the Presidium of the Kirov Regional Court cancelled the court decision and the appeal for UDO [grant of parole]: in other words, Kostenko’s petition will be reviewed again.

Sasha receives some letters, but recently there are fewer. Write to him with an interesting story or tell him about your journey – he will be pleased to hear from you.

His address is:
613049, Kirov region, Kirovo-Chepetsk, ul.Ovrazhnaya, 16, IK-5,
Kostenko Alexander Fedorovich, born in 1986.

Or write a message to Sasha at Slova Svobody [Words of Freedom FB page]: https://www.facebook.com/slovasvobody, we will definitely send them all to him!

IK-5, where Aleksandr Kostenko is serving his sentence. Photo: May 16, 2017

Source: Yana Goncharova FB

READ MORE ABOUT OLEKSANDR KOSTENKO:

Halya Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group: “Russia refuses to investigate torture of Ukrainian it jailed in revenge for Euromaidan”


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The Sviatohirsk Holy Mountains Lavra and the Moscow Patriarchate in Slovyansk – whose people do they serve?

By Denis Bihunov 
05.09.2017
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Ihor Girkin, head of the occupation forces in Slovyansk, in the Church of the Holy Spirit, 2014

In 2014, the “St. George’s ribbon” became an emblem of the terrorists who, armed with automatic rifles and RPGs, captured towns and villages in our peaceful Donetsk region. At the time, the Kremlin mercenaries failed to bring Ukraine to its knees. Thus, Moscow apparently decided to adjust their plans, and activated the Russian “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Ukraine. At first glance, this campaign may appear apolitical, but its purpose is to cynically exploit the unhealed historical wounds of the Ukrainian people.

The organizers of the Kremlin’s pompous “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Ukraine declare that it aims to promote peace and to honor the memory of those who fought against fascism. At the same time, cynical Russian propaganda relentlessly continues spreading lies about the alleged “domination of fascism in Ukraine,” adding fuel to the fire.

The main message peddled by the campaign organizers is: “We are one people.” Yet Crimea is occupied by Russia, and terrorists in Donbas are not running out of shells, tanks, or mines, even three years in. Is their supply inexhaustible? It is obvious that Russia is illegally supplying military hardware, equipment, and ammunition to Donbas, bringing wholesale bloodshed to this tormented region while, at the same time declaring that we are “one people.”

Branches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) are working hard to promote the Kremlin’s “flash mob” in our region, too.

On May 9, the Sviatohirsk Holy Mountains Lavra (Cave Monastery) is organizing a Kremlin flash mob in Sviatohirsk, closely following the template of Russia’s “Immortal Regiment” campaign. One might ask – why does the Ukrainian Orthodox Church organize, here in Ukraine, events that promote the aggressor country, a country that illegally annexed our Crimea and started the war in Donbas with the capture of Slovyansk by [Ihor] Girkin’s (Strelkov’s) armed formations? Because we are “one people,” of course. This clearly reveals the real views of the Moscow-controlled church in Ukraine toward the Ukrainian people, our state, and its sovereignty.

At this time, the monastery is collecting photographs of Soviet soldiers from the Second World War, to use in the Kremlin “Immortal Regiment” campaign. Meanwhile, judging from the monastery’s website, Moscow’s holy fathers fail to show similar fervor in commemorating our ATO soldiers, who are even today defending the sovereignty, state independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Examples from recent years show that events like the “Immortal Regiment” are designed to split Ukrainian society, sow conflict and confusion, and disorientate people. It is hard to believe that the Moscow Patriarchate is oblivious to this. Yet it is nevertheless staging the “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Sviatohirsk: essentially a Russian state propaganda event disguised as a religious procession.

It bears reminding that religious processions are primarily spiritual events, performed by believers, who are asking for God’s help and who walk carrying icons, crosses, and saints’ relics – not portraits of Red Army soldiers. Religious processions move from church to church, or around towns or villages. They do not proceed to USSR-era memorials, even if dead soldiers are buried there, and they do not turn a religious event into political propaganda in favor of a neighboring aggressor country.

Organizing events to commemorate non-religious dates is the prerogative of  civil society and the authorities.

By deciding to hold a religious procession in honor of a secular and ideological public holiday – Victory and Red Army Day – the church authorities have transformed a spiritual event into a show of political and ideological solidarity with the Kremlin. This raises quite a few questions.

In reality, on this coming May 9 in Sviatohirsk, certain members of the clergy will exploit the religious and spiritual values of the populace to shape people’s political and ideological views, while drawing on the Gospels, and images of the saints, God and Christ. Does anyone see the hypocrisy?

Considering what went down in the town’s churches during its occupation in 2014 [see video below], it is not difficult to guess what the Moscow Patriarchate is really trying to achieve by holding such events in Ukraine. One wonders if that is a heavy cross to bear.

A church ceremony to consecrate the occupier’s flag and banner in the Church of the Holy Spirit, 2014

Video: “Novorossiya – Birth of an Orthodox Army”

Source: sprotyv.info

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Anton Naumlyuk: Crimean Tatar political prisoner Ruslan Zeytullaev on Day 19 of hunger strike protest

By Anton Naumlyuk, journalist and freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda (all photos/video by Anton Naumlyuk)
04.21.2017 Please note: posted on 04.23.2017 – Zeytullaev is on Day 19 of hunger strike protest on day of posting
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Photo: Anton Naumlyuk

Ruslan Zeytullaev was brought to court. He looks gaunt, but is holding steady. Lawyers tried to persuade him to quit the hunger strike, but Ruslan has refused to do so until the verdict is passed. Emil Kurbedinov reminded [Ruslan] of Sakharov’s letter to Mustafa Dzhemilev during his hunger strike. (VoU note: the original letter implored Dzhemilev to “stop the hunger strike, as your death will only bring joy to our enemies.”)

“I’ll be ready to give up, if I cannot read the prayer [five times daily], for example, if I start fainting, but I have not missed a single one yet,” Ruslan replied. In the SIZO, they make three attempts every day to try to persuade him to go off the hunger strike.

According to the SIZO’s medical service, “Zeytullaev’s condition is satisfactory, there are no medical contraindications for attending the trial, his weight is 55 kg [121 lbs], the diagnosis is basic starvation.” Ruslan can no longer participate in the debates that began today, he does not have enough strength, he is going to deliver his final word [closing statement]. The court allowed him to speak while seated.

Source: Anton Naumlyuk FB 

Ruslan is being tried for the second time. The Supreme Court decided to address the consequences of the incompetence displayed by the Crimean FSB officers, who at the time of the arrest of the first Hizb, entirely consisted of former SBU [agents], and sent the case for revision. Not to ensure proper trial, of course, but to extend the term. He has been on hunger strike for 18 days and does not intend to stop, despite all of the requests and attempts to dissuade him. His hunger strike, like the flash mob in Ukraine, cannot change anything. But, he stated today in his final word, – “there are moments in life when it is impossible not to do what is necessary.” So he decided that now it is necessary to starve in earnest. He is exhausted, is rapidly losing weight, has difficulty walking, and is not giving up.

“I want to pass on a huge ‘Salaam’ to my people, to the citizens of Ukraine who are supporting me at this difficult time. I want to say that even though my strength is almost gone at this time, I remain firm in my convictions and I will always stand up for the truth. For the truth that I chose for myself from the outset. Today’s situation is the second trial, which, I believe, wants to send me away for a very long time, by hook or by crook. I am grateful to everyone who supports me, but I will not end the hunger strike until I hear the verdict from the judges. And everything that they are accusing me of is an utter lie. Thank you.”

He asked me to record this. Truthfully, I rarely say something like this, but today, the judge has created all the conditions necessary for journalists to work, so thanks for that. “Use the break for the intended purpose,” the judge told me as he was leaving. I am publishing this here, for what it’s worth.

Ruslan has a family at home, and I videotaped them as well. Then I came to Rostov and showed Ruslan the video from Crimea, while he stood in the same cage where once stood Sentsov, and Primov, and Vaitov and Seifullayev. I honestly do not know what else I can do to help them all.

Source: Anton Naumlyuk FB

Additional Reading:
CrimeaSOS: Appeal of NGOs with regards to hunger strike of the prisoner of Kremlin Ruslan Zeytullaev

Halya Coynash: Russian prosecutor demands 17 years for Crimean Tatar political prisoner Ruslan Zeytullaev

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Dmitry Tymchuk: Russian command changes the organizational structure of the “1st DNR” and “2nd LNR” Army Corps 04.05.2017

information_resistance_logo_engDmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
Photo credit: Anton Skyba, with permission
04.05.2017 (April 5, 2017)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

(See end of post for acronym glossary)

Operational data from Information Resistance:

Between March 29th and April 4th of this year [2017], the intensity of fire strikes on Ukrainian troop positions and settlements inside Ukrainian-controlled territory decreased (the decline [began after] April 1st). During this period, units of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the Russian Federation occupation forces in Donbas carried out a total of about 440 artillery raids (compared to nearly 600 in the previous one-week period).

Despite certain agreements reached on the so-called “Easter ceasefire,” Russian-terrorist troops continue to actively shell Ukrainian troop positions and settlements using 120-mm and 82-mm mortars, 122-mm cannon artillery, armored vehicles, and, sporadically, 100-mm MT-12 “Rapira” anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft systems, anti-tank missile systems, and stand-mounted grenade launchers (AGS-17/21 and SPG-9).

In the past 24 hours, the tensest situation was observed in the coastal region (along the PavlopilShyrokyne stretch). The occupiers shelled ATO forces’ advanced positions using, amongst other weapons, 120-mm mortars and 100-mm anti-tank guns, as well as individual BBM armored combat vehicles that carried out shelling from pre-established camouflaged firing positions.

East of Hnutove and southeast of Vodyane, two occupier BMP-2’s were in action, with the enemy in these sectors also using at least two 82-mm mortars. In addition, a BTR-80 shelled for an extended period, maneuvering from the direction of Sakhanka and north of the NovoazovskMariupol highway. From the direction of Sosnivske, occupier artillery (four 122-mm guns) has been active from positions between Pavlopil and Chermalyk, firing shells over a wide area.

In the Dokuchajevsk area (a section in the Taramchuk–Yasne–Berezove “triangle”), there has been a sharp pick-up in enemy activity, with the active use of 82-mm and 120-mm mortars, ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft artillery systems, and stand-mounted AGS-17 and SPG-9 grenade launchers.

Near Viktorivka, the occupiers tried to inflict fire damage on the ATO forces’ advanced units with the use of large-caliber machine guns and AGS-s [automatic grenade launchers].

Near Krasnohorivka (south of the settlement and on the orphanage grounds), [the enemy used] short bursts of mortar shelling from 82-mm mortars, with the occasional engagement of NSB-12.7 “Utes” heavy machine guns.

The occupiers were also considerably active near Avdiivka, in the section from the Butivka mine to the area north of the industrial zone, as well as in the PiskyOpytne area. Positions in Butivka, near the ring road, and in the industrial zone came under fire from 120-mm and 82-mm mortars, AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. The use of grenade launchers and 82-mm mortars was noted in the Vodyane and Pisky area. To the east of the sand quarry, there was shelling by 120-mm and 82-mm mortars from both Kruta Balka and Vasylivka directions. In addition, BTR-70/80 and MT-LBs fired from their heavy machine guns at the advanced positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Avdiivka’s industrial area. Photo: Anton Skyba

The occupiers’ mobile fire group from Stakhanov was operating in the stretch between Sokilnyky and Zholobok. The group consisted of three 120-mm mortars and two 82-mm 2B9 “Vasilek” automatic mortars, mounted on transport.

Enemy sniper groups were highly active in the vicinity of Maiorsk, Verkhnotoretske, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Novotroitske, Pyshchevyk, Hnutove, Shyrokyne, Vodyane and Troitske. The snipers carry out fire mainly at night.

*****

By order of the Center of Territorial Troops of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces, the Russian command of the “1st Army Corps of the DNR” and the “2nd Army Corps of the LNR” has initiated changes in the organizational and staffing structure of its units and formations. Namely, the size of tank battalions included in the units of these army corps is being changed from 3 companies to 4 companies; an additional tank has also been introduced to some tank battalions (serving as the vehicle of the deputy battalion commander). After these changes, the number of tanks in the military units and formations of the two army corps will exceed 450 (according to IR Group‘s data, the number of tanks as of February 2017 was 380 – but it must be emphasized that in both cases, this number only includes the equipment within military units and does not include tanks kept in storage at the “L/DNR” bases or training facilities).

In addition to that, the two army corps currently include some 900 units of other armored combat vehicles, over 1000 artillery systems (neither figure is different compared to February 2017), and about 400 anti-aircraft systems (a 50-unit increase).

During these organizational and staffing changes, the separate special-purpose radio battalion of the “2nd Army Corps of the LNR” has been disbanded due to its low effectiveness, and its tasks have been handed over to the regular radioelectronic intelligence unit of the Russian Armed Forces, which is present in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk oblast on a rotational basis.

The occupiers are continuing active construction efforts to complete and improve their positions along the northern outskirts of Debaltseve and the Debaltsevske village (formerly Kommuna). A network of platoon strongpoints and a fortified zone have been deployed in this direction of operations. The construction efforts utilize 5-7 units of machinery every day (mainly “civilian” excavators, bulldozers, and dump trucks; however, one PZM-2 [regimental digger] has also been identified). The occupiers are also renewing existing mine barriers in this area and laying down new ones. The work is being continuously supervised by Russian “advisors.”

Active efforts to equip positions are also being carried out in the vicinity of Smile [“Smileh”] village (Luhansk oblast, Slovyanoserbsk district); the same area shows an increased accumulation of enemy forces and equipment. Two 120-mm mortars and one ZU-23-2 were observed moving between the former checkpoint N32 and the Kombat [Battalion Commander] Monument, towards Sentyanivka (formerly Frunze); and two Kamaz trucks with personnel as well as two BMP-1’s, through Smile.

Due to the increasingly frequent theft and illegal transport to Russia of weapons, ammunition, and other supplies, the command of the “1st AC of the DNR” and the “2nd AC of the LNR” have issued orders to plan and conduct spot checks of weapon ordnance and fuel warehouses within the corps’ units. “Military commandants” of garrisons are responsible for organizing cooperation with the commanders of units charged with securing and defending the warehouses in question.

During the past week, the following deliveries were made to the “L/DNR” from the Russian Federation in order to keep units and formations of the “1st AC of the DNR” and the “2nd AC of the LNR” supplied with armaments, military equipment and fuel: 17 armed vehicles (mainly BMP-1 and BMP-2), 6 train cars of artillery munitions, and 25 cisterns of fuel and lubricants, for a total weight of 1,249 tons.

The demand for “new passports,” which were originally popular after Russia had recognized these “documents” as valid, has waned in both the “DNR” and the “LNR,” especially in towns and settlements close to the demarcation line. This is likely related to the new wave of rumors, which claim that the SBU is promptly receiving the lists of every  “DNR” or “LNR” “passport” holder, and detains them after they cross the demarcation line. According to one version of the rumor, the lists of names are procured for the SBU by Ukrainian hacker groups; another version claims that “L/DNR” officials hand the names over to Ukrainian special services voluntarily.

The “Ministry of Justice of the LNR” has completed the re-registration of Ukrainian coal enterprises in occupied areas of Luhansk oblast, affiliating them with Vneshtorgservis LNR Closed Joint Stock Company. The “state bank of the LNR” has reserved current accounts for these enterprises. Employees of Rovenkiantratsyt, Sverdlovantratsyt and Krasnodonuhol (formerly controlled by Rinat Akhmetov) have been instructed to hand in their resignation notices and apply for jobs with Vneshtorgservis LNR CJSC, instead. Meanwhile, members of the “law enforcement bodies of the LNR” have been ordered to prevent employees of the coal industry, especially managers and highly trained professionals, from departing to Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Source: Dmitry Tymchuk FB 

Glossary:

AC – Army Corps
ACV – armored combat vehicle
AGS-17 – automatic grenade launcher
ATO – Anti-Terrorist Operation
BMP – infantry fighting vehicle
BTG – battalion tactical group
BTR, APC – armored personnel carrier
BRDM – armored reconnaissance and surveillance vehicle
BRM – armored reconnaissance vehicle
DAP – Donetsk International Airport
DNR – “Donetsk People’s Republic”
DRG – sabotage and reconnaissance group
ELINT – Electronic Intelligence
GRU – Russian Defense Intelligence, the main military foreign-intelligence service of the Russian Federation
KSM – command and staff vehicle
LNR – “Luhansk People’s Republic”
MGB – Ministry of State Security
MOD – Ministry of Defense
MT-LB – light multipurpose tracked vehicle
MLRS – multiple-launch rocket systems
OMSBR – Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade
SBU – Ukrainian Secret Service
SPG-9 – stand-mounted grenade launcher
TZM, TLV – transporter-loading vehicle
UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drones or other)
ZU-23-2 – anti-aircraft artillery system

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