Why Donetsk Is Still Being Shelled…

NEW – June 5, 2022

An angry question of Readers, a reason to criticise Special Operation Z from those who think “all is lost”, alarmists and sometimes provocateurs, who are ready to speculate about the military-technical impotence of the allied troops, unable to stop the daily “arrivals” in Donetsk, Makeevka, Spartak and Gorlovka, the death and injury of the civilian population. I have repeatedly said in reviews: it is impossible to take the Avdeevka fortified area from which the shelling is conducted head-on or from the flanks without huge losses among personnel and civilians taken hostage.

Secondly. Today, the “Avdeevka cauldron” is sharply brewed, the operational encirclement of a huge urban and industrial agglomeration – with the most full-blown nazis of the “Right Sector“, “Aidar“, “Donbass” and “Lvov” battalions located inside – has begun, supported by the best units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, imported “soldiers of fortune”, ideological associates of ukro-nationalists from European countries.

The history of the problem gives off a putrid smell, to be honest. As a direct witness of the events of 2015 in Donbass, I have to state with bitterness: volunteers from Russia, the People’s Militia of the L/DPR back then tore to shreds the rickety UAF and volunteer battalions of the post-Maidan Kiev regime.

The offensive impulse was huge, they tried to wash away the shame of Strelkov‘s cowardly flight from Slavyansk, did not want to stop at the administrative borders of the republics, talked about a Kharkov campaign, and waited for bold political decisions from Moscow. After Debaltsevo, they could’ve done anything, having opened up the operational space, the UAF in the form of an organised force did not exist. But some [Strelkov – SZ]… did not allow even Mariupol to be taken when his “heroic garrison” fled…

The “Minsk Shame” began, the offensive of the L/DPR militia was stopped by a shout from the Kremlin. Volunteers from Russia swore viciously, stuck bayonets in the ground, and the line of demarcation … unexpectedly passed in the area of a residential agglomeration on the outskirts of Donetsk. Even before the signatures under the protocols of Minsk 2 had dried, Avdeevka, Pesky and Maryinka began to be transformed into a single, huge fortified area.

(Illustration from open sources)

General despondency among the militia and volunteers, discord in the leadership of the republics … did not allow them to drive the fragments of UAF units and volunteer battalions away from Donetsk. Although the demands from below were loud, there were attempts (on their own initiative) to eliminate the obvious threat, ignoring the “opinion of the negotiating groups”. What happened is what happened: a year later, emboldened ukro-warriors began hammering the positions of the People’s Militia, opening fire at the civilian infrastructure around Donetsk, groping for residential areas with single shells.

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The counter-battery struggle turned out to be ineffective and useless, and then it became clear that a layered fortified area had been created, which can only be demolished with a base, heavy weapons and aircraft with concrete-piercing and anti-bunker bombs. Something similar, more powerful, was being built in the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration. And the participants of the “ATO zone” were trained around the clock by NATO specialists for actions in blind defence. Only in 2021 did a different kind of offensive exercise begin.

So why not smash the deadly city of Avdeevka with strategic aircraft and multi-ton bombs? There are several reasons. First of all, the largest coking chemical plant in Europe is located right on the territory of the city. Warehouses are full of dangerous chemicals, deep bomb shelters, underground garages for self-propelled guns and MLRS, entire tunnels and fortified galleries are arranged under the workshops of the industrial zone, along which even military equipment can safely drive, barracks, ammunition depots and fuel and lubricants are securely hidden.

(Illustration from open sources)

On the approaches to the city — continuous minefields, a network of cast and buried concrete pillboxes, there are automated artillery positions in residential buildings. I really want to see the famous railway containers under a ten-meter layer of earth and concrete, adapted for fire control command posts… if the prisoners are not lying. Round-the-clock video surveillance and reconnaissance centres, radar posts that allow to determine the position of a light machine gun in real time, if it even fires once. This is what the Avdeevka fortified area is all about.

Direct strikes on it will lead to a huge environmental catastrophe, poisoning the soil and water for decades if chemicals get into them. And information about the mining of industrial warehouses… does not add enthusiasm to the residents of Donbass and the militia. Every person in Avdeevka and nearby working-class settlements and towns has families and relatives. A frontal assault will result in terrible casualties.

(Illustration from open sources)
Blue = Avdeevka area, red = Yasinovataya area

Secondly, only the DPR People’s Militia units are facing the Avdeevka fortified area, with the support of the air defence forces and small artillery units of the Russian army, which have obvious problems with equipment, special military equipment, and trained specialists. They are there, but such “nuts” should be chewed by a differently equipped and trained army engaged in the right thing in other areas of Special Operation Z.

Having tried at the end of March to pass through the first lines of the Avdeevka fortification from the Yasinovataya side, the attackers repeatedly fell into fire zones, failing to break the general system of artillery cover of the fortified area, all the positions of the UAF and the nationalist battalions in the depth of defence, separate successful covering of them with fire do not count. It is then that the decision was  made, voiced by the representative of the DPR Eduard Basurin:

“We are not going to enter either Avdeevka or any other large urban agglomerations. We will go around, create encirclement. When the possibility of delivering the necessary supplies is cut off, the nazis will be completely surrounded.”

The decision is correct, the rejection of a classic assault is the right one. And the plan of the command, if to look at the detailed map, became clear two weeks ago, when the operational encirclement of Avdeevka began. Firstly, the Avdeevka-Konstantinovka highway was taken under fire control, then it was intercepted by armoured vehicles and infantry.

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Now the second vital supply artery is being cut — the road to Orlovka, along which front-line aviation and heavy artillery are working around the clock. So, step by step, without coming into direct contact with the enemy, the fortified area is taken into a “cauldron”, with supply lines being blocked. I will cautiously assume: in the very near future a complete encirclement will take place, the battles for Krasnogorovka and Novokalinovo will unfold in order to fully take control of the Avdeevka-Orlovka highway.

(Illustration from open sources)

And after yesterday’s statement of Ramzan Kadyrov, based on the results of a meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, the general plan of the command can be guessed. The pace of the operation in Donbass will be increased, new tactics will be applied, and specialists will most likely be deployed from the area of Severodonetsk and Lisichansk to open fortified areas, with appropriate support forces and facilities.

Why shelling is happening…

The second main question of the bewildered public… What are the goals of the neo-nazis, who are increasing their strikes on Donetsk and Gorlovka day-by-day? There is nothing surprising, this was the case in 2014… as soon as the Militia began to gain the upper hand, the terrorists of the Kiev junta immediately increased the number of attacks on civilian objects. What for? The problem is multi-layered: psychological, ideological, and military in nature.

On the one hand, strikes on residential buildings lead to panic and oppression of the spirit of the “peaceful people”, provoking the command of the DPR People’s Militia to launch frontal assaults. Through the fortified industrial zone of Avdeevka. Or conduct a low-success counter-battery fight. Against the NATO system of artillery reconnaissance and target designation – this is the loss of calculations and equipment. A tactical impasse does not add cheerfulness to the military, against the background of impotent anger, decadent moods are maturing, accusations against the command and Russia… of not giving enough heavy weapons.

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The second point is the confusing and ugly way of thinking of neo-nazis. Seen back in 2014-2015. They don’t see any difference between the Militia and the peaceful population of Donbass. As soon as a target is successfully defeated during artillery and mortar fire or bombardment, or a sniper hits their target, or assault groups neutralise at least one fire control point on the front line (not even a battery!), all the artillery of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the nationalist battalions begins, as if out of their mind, to thresh against civilian objects. Or without thinking to plow deserted areas.

(Illustration from open sources)

We pondered for a long time — what’s the point of such habits? And after heartfelt conversations with prisoners, it became clear: If the command system is violated, “political instructors” from the nationalist battalions take up the task, demanding to create the appearance of an impending counterattack, which is usually preceded by artillery training. Coordinates are sent to Ukrainian divisions to hit already explored targets, most often infrastructure facilities and peaceful neighbourhoods. As a warning — to stand still, otherwise we will crush houses to rubble and destroy your families. How this can work, they did not think it through…

Donbass has a special attitude towards the “artillery maniacs” from Avdeevka. The degree of hatred for these soldiers is boundless, which was not observed even for the ever-memorable “Azov“. As soon as the ring of encirclement closes, and the militants sit down in the industrial zone… they will start a special conversation with them. There will be tough scenarios, up to complete “sealing” in the catacombs. In the meantime, neo-nazis are offered to leave Avdeevka for Orlovka through the existing corridor.

If they refuse, they will be firmly captured by very determined militias. No one will plow the Avdeevka fortified area with MLRS or TOS, as this would mean huge losses among the civilian population. The command of the Special Operation will not allow poorly trained and un-equipped units of the DPR to conduct a classic assault.

The best special forces of Special Operation Z, who have gained a lot of experience in urban battles over the past hundred days, will be summoned. They are able to provoke enemy artillery to overspend the ammunition supply, to precisely dispose of it, carefully direct aircraft and high-precision supplies, exert round-the-clock pressure from several directions, and inexorably move forward with new tactics. Let’s wait a bit. Boil these murderers in a terrible cauldron, Mariupol [to be precise: what happened at “Azovstal” – SZ] will seem like happiness to them.

Historical Thimbles

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