May 17, 2015
[Scroll down for May 19 updates.]
Some observers have been predicting for weeks the launch by Kiev of a major offensive against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR/LPR). However we doubt that Ukraine is strong enough militarily, politically or economically to negotiate this treacherous path. In our view, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s famous statement in Sochi last week to Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov hints that Washington would shy away from supporting Kiev in such a conspicuous adventure, which grossly violates the Minsk 2.0 agreements. Yet there are indications, such as UAF military hardware brought to the front, that this is indeed Kiev’s plan.
Two articles below offer more signs of war on the way:
Mass forcible evacuation of residents in the
settlements controlled by Kiev forces
May 17, 2015
The DPR intelligence has recorded the facts of mass forcible evacuation of residents in the settlements controlled by Kiev forces, the DPR Defense Ministry spokesperson Eduard Basurin told journalists today.
“The Azov and Dnepr Battalions of the so-called National Guard and Right Sector elements continue to rob civilian property. Our intelligence assets documented forcible evacuation of the entire streets of people in Maryinka and the complete depopulation of Peredovoye, which the aforementioned units later occupied, together with foreign military personnel,” – Eduard Basurin said.
Quemado Institute comments: What really is the significance of this Kiev-backed forced evacuation? Kiev-controlled Maryinka is located near the line of contact about 20 km west of central Donetsk (see map below; click to enlarge). Peredovoye is a small village about 25 km west of Volnovakha, which lies west of the contact line some 60 km north of Maripol. The inference is that Kiev expects massive retaliatory strikes on these villages, implying the Ukrainian Army plans to carry out a major offensive from nearby positions.
Volnovakha has been a strategically vulnerable point since the earlier eras of the war, as it lies near the narrow neck in the southern DPR handle, inviting a UAF breakthrough to the Russian border that would cut off Novoazovsk, the DPR-held Azov Sea town, from the rest of the Republic.
While these preparations seem to warn of imminent attack, we do not believe Kiev is ready to launch a major offensive. This is more of a hunch than a deduction; there are arguments both ways.
A second situation report, posted on Twitter by Storm Bringer, also indicates signs of coming conflict:
On the Eve of a Big War
May 17, 2015
In recent time the situation at the fronts of New Russia [Novorossiya] is heating up. Peski, Spartacus and Avdiyivka remain hot spots. At nightfall there, [the] UAF [Ukrainian Armed Forces] make their infantry and artillery active. Shooting battles ensued near Peski all night long; Ukrainians were firing at airport with AGL’s [automatic grenade launchers]. All attempts to attack were repulsed by the army of New Russia. In Donetsk and in the satellite towns there was an increased activity of UAF SRGs to be observed, the rear units of the militia actively catch them. Near Gorlovka UAF artillery strikes on the north-western part of the city, shooting battles are under Mayorsk and under Shumy. In the northwest of the LPR during the past few days clashes and artillery duels occured. In Slavyanoserbsk district there is a tense situation, UAF actively used mortars and used tanks. From UAF-held Schastye mortars fire on Vesyolaya Gora (LPR). Near Stanitsa Luganskaya there is most intense fighting. Checkpoints and strong points of LPR militia is under fire from UAF. In Shirokino battles continue. Punishers [UAF battalions] are trying to oust the milita thru artillery fire and infanty attacks. DPR reconnaissance documented evidence of forced mass evacuation of residents in the settlements in the occupied territory by the Ukrainian security forces — this is a sign of a preparation for a big war offensive.
Quemado Institute comments: The city of Gorlovka (Horlivka; see first map) lies northeast of Donetsk near the contact line in the northern extremes of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and has been the target of massive continuous shelling for many months. Shumy is a village about 15 km northwest of Gorlovka. The three towns of Slavyanoserbsk (about 25 km northwest of Lugansk), Vesyolaya Gora (about 20 km north of Lugansk on the M21 highway), and Stanitsa Luganskaya (about 20 km northeast of Lugansk), lie along a vulnerable crescent encircling the northern edges of the LPR capital, not far from the ceasefire line. Shirokino, home to many battles and now nearly deserted by the local population, lies on the south coast of the Donetsk People’s Republic between the Kiev-controlled port of Mariupol and DPR-held Novoazovsk.
We do not know the reliability of this Twitter source, however their report is quite reasonable given recent accounts of UAF attacks.
We assume Kiev, in the interests of Minsk, will stifle any major offensive by its rogue combat units. Such an offensive would be madness, as Ukraine is weak on every front, and now does not even enjoy the unconditional support of the American State Department, after John Kerry warned against Kiev aggression at the meeting in Sochi May 12, and US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, while praising Yatsenyuk in Kiev last week, has embarked on a diplomatic visit to Moscow. Nevertheless, madness is a beaming characteristic of Ukraine’s rogue armies, as hatred trumps reason in their fight against Donbass.
May 18 Update:
The Donetsk People’s Republic Defence Ministry said late Monday, May 18, that Ukrainian troops are shelling Donetsk suburbs from tanks and mortars. “Ukrainian troops have opened tank and mortar fire at the settlement of Oktyabrsky and the Donetsk airport from the settlement of Oputnoye,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying. The spokesman said Ukrainian troops were using 82 and 120 mm mortars. No information is available about casualties and damages. Source: Tass.
A reliable Twitter source tweeted at approximately 23:15 UTC May 18: “FLASH — As of 01:14, Ukraine’s forces shelling Panfilovka mine area, at #Donetsk, with incendiary ammunition. UA drone noted near Airport.”
May 19 Updates:
RT reports one civilian killed in Donetsk, as apartment is hit by intense Ukrainian fire. “‘There was fire, shelling for about two hours and it was almost non-stop…blast after blast, you could feel the vibrations from the explosions, kilometers away from the frontline,’ RT’s Murad Gazdiev said over the phone from Donetsk.” For details see Civilian killed in intense Ukrainian army shelling of Donetsk despite ceasefire (May 19).
Slavyangrad: Ukraine Shells Donetsk
Donetsk Under Massive Ukrainian Shelling May 18-19, 2015 / Slavyangrad / Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov / May 15, 2015 / With the coming of the evening, the situation in Donetsk sharply escalated. Information from the residents of Donetsk indicates that, as of 20:30, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (“UAF”) was shelling the area of the Donetsk Airport from their positions in Peski (shells were landing in close proximity to the Railroad Depot). As of 20:47, artillery salvos could be heard throughout Makeevka, in all districts. From the direction of Novobakhmutovka, UAF was conducting artillery shelling of the positions of the Militia (Novorossiya Armed Forces, or “NAF”) around the settlement of Spartak and the district of the First Square. Reports started coming in about a large number of Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs” or drones) in the air above the city and the activation of enemy Saboteur Reconnaissance Groups (“SRG”) on the northern approaches to the city.
At 20:58 Ukrainian forces started the shelling of the area of the Putilovka mine. The Kievsky district has also been hit. Heavy howitzer artillery could be heard. Large shells were incoming with a frequency of 2-3 minutes. Donetsk faced some of the most massive shelling in a long time since approximately 23:00. The shelling was very audible in the areas of Smolyanochka and Pakhar. Very serious shelling of the Donetsk Airport and the surrounding area came from Opytnoye—the ground shook and window panes vibrated. The start of shelling came unusually early yesterday, in the two preceding days the bombardments started exactly at midnight. Voroshilovsky, Tekstilshik, Leninsky, Buddenovsky districts, and the rest of Donetsk shook with the blast waves of explosions. The Nazi’s shelling of the Putilovka mine area continued. In the Leninsky district discharges from responding NAF artillery or mortars could be heard—it had no shaken like that since the winter. At 23:00, an intensive cannonade began, about 2-3 Ukrainian shells landed every 5 seconds. In the area of the Donetsk Airport very bright flashes could be observed. In other reports, at least one person (a pensioner) was killed in the Kievsky district of Donetsk by a Ukrainian shell that turned the building to rubble.
Volnovakha: A Target of Ukraine Artillery
Heavy artillery is targeted by Ukrainians at temporary Ukraine-controlled Volnovakha / Novorossia Today / May 19, 2015 / The reconnaissance of the … Donetsk People’s Republic has spotted multiple rocket launchers at the positions of Kiev-controlled forces, the Donetsk Republic’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Eduard Basurin, has said. “The Donetsk Republic’s reconnaissance has identified the deployment of Grad and Uragan rocket launchers in the village of Peredovoye,” the Donetsk News Agency quotes Basurin as saying. “It is noteworthy that the launchers are targeted at the city of Volnovakha.” According to the intelligence available to the Donetsk republic, Ukrainian forces have been using hospitals and other social facilities in Volnovakha and Kurakhovo for military purposes. “The Donetsk Republic’s military intelligence continues to identify ever more instances of weapons, combat vehicles and personnel of the Ukrainian army and national guards being stationed on the premises of hospitals and other social facilities. There are confirmations Ukrainian forces use the buildings of the city hospital in the city of Kurakhovo and the central district hospital in the city of Volnovaha, which upsets the operation of medical and other social institutions,” he said. Basurin provided upgraded statistics showing the results of Donetsk republic’s shelling by Ukrainian forces over the past 24 hours. “The Ukrainian army used prohibited artillery in the area of the airport, and also near the Kievsky and Kuibyshevsky districts of the city of Donetsk – 60 shells were fired with 122 mm and 152 artillery pieces,” he said. “In the area of Vasilievka and Gorlovka there were registered 31 shots fired by tanks and 54 others fired by 120 mm and 82 mm mortars.” [Editor: Volnovakha (spelled “Volnovaha” in original article) lies in Kiev-held territory north of Mariupol.]
DPR Intelligence: Kiev False Flag Operations Planned
SBU Prepares Terrorist Attacks Prior to EU Riga Summit – Basurin / riaf.an.ru / Translated by Quemado Institute / Donetsk / May 16, 2015 / The Security Service of Ukraine is preparing a series of bombings in the Donetsk Basin in anticipation of the EU summit in Riga. This statement was made today by the Donetsk People’s Republic Ministry of Defense Corps Deputy Commander Edward Basurin. “Taking into account the EU summit scheduled for May 21 in Riga, Kiev has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to take extreme steps, staging attacks against the civilian population in the Donbass territories under its control. According to our human intelligence, the SBU today began implementing a plan for a series of terrorist acts during the coming weeks, in order to subsequently charge us of the crimes in Riga,” Basurin was quoted as saying by the Donetsk News Agency.
In the words of the representative of the Ministry of Defence of the Donetsk People’s Republic, attacks are planned on the roads from Mariupol to Volodarskogo and Privolnoe to Kasyanovka, as well as near the village of Stary Krym. In these places, according Basurin, there is the possibility of land mine explosions or fire from artillery weapons. “In order to avoid the loss of innocent people, we call on all civilian populations on both sides of the line of contact to apply the maximum vigilance,” Basurin summed up.
The summit of “Eastern Partnership” will be held May 21-22 in Riga. Previous summits were held in Prague (2009), Warsaw (2011) and Vilnius (2013). Editor’s note: Volodarskogo is located near Komsomolske (see first map above), some 120 km northeast of Mariupol along the contact line at the narrow neck of the DPR’s southern handle. Kasyanovka and Privolnoe lie about 30 and 40 km, respectively, north of Mariupol on the H20 highway. Stary Krim is a northern suburb of Mariupol.
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