Given misinformation and outright lies by all involved, it’s important to consider both sides of the story.
Jane’s Defense claims Ukrainian Military Moves to Endgame.
Ukrainian troops have continued their offensive aimed at clearing pro-Russian rebels from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions despite strong resistance.
Both the Ukrainian and rebel forces are using tracked armour, heavy artillery, and rockets in the heaviest fighting seen in Europe since the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.
The operation by Ukrainian troops, underway for more than a month, has pushed deep into rebel-held regions, with fighting now reported in the suburbs of the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk for several days. Reports on 20 August indicated that in Lugansk, Ukrainian troops had recaptured a central city police station.
Ukrainian forces appear to be trying to cut rebel forces in the two cities off from each other, as well as severing land routes to the Russian border to block supplies and reinforcements from reaching them.
The rebel setbacks of the past weeks have prompted three prominent rebel leaders – including their military commander, Igor Girkin, known as Strelkov; the political leader in Donetsk, Alexander Borodai; and the rebel head in Lugansk, Valery Bolotov – to step down.
The continued determination of the Kiev government to prosecute its offensive into eastern Ukraine appears to be bearing fruit, although at a heavy cost in human life and damage to civilian property.
Ukrainian army and national guard units appear to be better trained and motivated than the units that first engaged the rebels in the early days of the crisis back in April.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has reported that about 25 battalions of national guard volunteers were fighting on the Donbas front and appear to be performing better than expected, considering they were only formed a few months ago. However, the OSCE reports a number of these units have been implicated in the abuse of civilians.
What has surprised many observers is the reluctance of Russian president Vladimir Putin to intervene directly to prop up the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. So far the Russian armed forces do not seem to have been sent to fight openly alongside the rebels, although NATO claims Moscow is regularly allowing resupply convoys to cross the border.
This might indicate the threat of Western economic sanctions is having some impact, but it is more likely Putin is concerned about public reaction to heavy casualties among conscript soldiers in regular army units.
Someone Seriously Wrong
That Jane’s Defense report is vastly different from what I presented earlier today in Outright Military Victory by Rebels? Ukraine Offensive in Donetsk and Lugansk Fails (representing the military situation from August 10-25).
Who do you believe? Jane’s Defense or. Colonel Cassad? Neither?
Is Jane’s Defense unwittingly (or wittingly) spreading pro-Ukraine propaganda?
I cannot say for sure, but those are the hugely conflicting views.
Let me add, that if Colonel Cassad has the better version, Jane’s Defense is seriously discredited.
Also, it’s somewhat curious that contrary to mainstream media reports Jane’s Defense says “So far the Russian armed forces do not seem to have been sent to fight openly alongside the rebels, although NATO claims Moscow is regularly allowing resupply convoys to cross the border.”
That said, the Jane’s Defense article is from August 22, while mainstream media articles on active Russia involvement started appearing within the past few days.
Nonetheless, Jane’s Defense appears to have completely missed the Rebel Counteroffensive and what I call the “March to the Sea”.
Is that not underway?
Are several Ukrainian cauldrons trapped and in serious trouble? Or not?
Three day’s timeline difference cannot possibly explain the totality of these huge reporting differences.
Someone is seriously wrong.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock