Donbass Still Remains Key Battleground

The Russian General Staff gave an in-depth briefing on March 30 on the military strategy behind the special operation in Ukraine culminating in the decision to decrease the military activities in the Kiev and northern Chernigov regions.

Broadly, the MOD messaging is that the twin objectives have been realised — namely, pinning down Ukrainian forces and military assets to the Kiev region and, secondly, preventing the transfer of Ukrainian forces from the western and central regions to the east by “using the absolute air dominance” and also by deploying modern high-precision weapons.

The MOD spokesman said: “All major lines of communication, supply and reserve approach are taken under full control. Ukraine’s air defence systems, airfield infrastructure, major military depots, training and mercenary concentration centres have been destroyed… Thus, all the main tasks of the Russian Armed Forces in Kiev and Chernigov directions have been completed.”

Clearly, the western analysts and media largely lost the plot from Day 1 by branding the Russian special operation a “failure.” They erred basically in prejudging it to be a “Russian invasion”, whereas, Moscow was very precise in giving the rubric of “special operation” to its offensive. 

An invasion demands quantifiable, visible results, whereas special operation has a dynamic of its own where the outcome becomes an amalgam of the Donbass region’s restoration to its original boundaries, the security and welfare of the Russian population, the systematic elimination of the neo-Nazi forces who were on rampage in that part of Ukraine through the past 8-year period with the support of the state and encouragement from the western intelligence and complicity of the authorities in Kiev  — and all the while, not taking the eye off the the wearing down of Ukraine’s military assets and fighting capabilities as a whole.   

Chechen soldiers deployed to city of Mariupol, March 31, 2022

What emerges today is that there is a better understanding of the “special operation” — and it goes all the way to the NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and the US President Joe Biden. The Russian operation’s focus (as of now at least) is almost entirely on the eastern Donbass region where in Luhansk, over 93% of the territory has been “liberated”, while in Donetsk close to 60% of the territory is under control of Russian forces and the residual resistance in Mariupol port city is expected to be mopped up within the week.

The above characterisation is of course with reference to the liberation of entire territories that originally belonged in the pre-2014 period to the Donbass republics (which had shrunk by two-thirds through the past 8-year period of security operations ordered from Kiev.)

A variety of factors made this operation an uphill task — principally, a high concentration of Ukrainian forces in Donbass with neo-Nazi elements embedded in all military units, blockaded settlements, use of “human shields” of ethnic Russians, etc.

Above all, the Ukrainian forces themselves were in a state of combat readiness with some of their best units deployed in the region already when the Russian operation began on February 24, with their own secret plan drawn up for launching offensive actions by strike groups in the Donbass region by the end of the month.

To be sure, the Ukrainian forces continue amassing forces in the area. The Russian military is also continuing its precise strikes on military targets, which are intended to prevent reinforcements reaching the Ukrainian forces as a major battle looms ahead in Donbass where tens of thousands of Ukrainian forces are facing encirclement.

Thus, during April 2, the Russian operational-tactical aviation hit 28 military assets of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, including 2 depots of missile and artillery weapons and ammunition, as well as 23 areas of concentration of Ukrainian weapons and military equipment.

Notably, the Mirgorod military airfield in central Poltava Region, a strategically important hub, has been taken out of action and several Ukrainian combat helicopters and aircraft found in its camouflaged car parks, as well as fuel and aviation weapons depots have been destroyed.

Equally, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, announced yesterday that in a high-precision strike with the Iskander operational-tactical missiles on the defence headquarters in the city of Kharkiv on Thursday, “more than 100 nationalists and mercenaries from Western countries” were confirmed as killed.

In general, the Russian operation is currently concentrating on regrouping and resupplying their units in Donbass. The next stage of the Russian advance in the eastern region is linked to the full liberation of Mariupol. The liquidation of the residual resistance in Mariupol is crucial as it will free significant forces for redeployment in the upcoming offensive in Donbass.

The resistance has shrunk to three main centres in Mariupol: the central district, the Azovstal plant and the port area. The neo-Nazi forces are largely confined to the Azovstal plant, which is one of Europe’s biggest iron and steel plants, with military headquarters, warehouses and barracks. Repeated attempts to evacuate the Neo-Nazi commanders by helicopter have been thwarted — Russian forces shot down two helicopters yesterday.

Azovstal Iron & Steel Works supplies the the EU and Middle East markets with plate products used in shipbuilding, power & special engineering, bridge construction, and production of large diameter pipes for gas & oil pipelines, and is Ukraine’s only rail manufacturer.

Chechen forces deployed near the Azovstal are preparing for an assault. The head of Chechnya Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov has given an ultimatum to the remnants of the Azov regiment: “I suggest that they soberly assess their remaining resources and give up. You can give up today. If this does not happen, tomorrow, April 2, all the militants will be destroyed.”

Overall, the receding frontline near Kyiv and Chernihiv signals the regrouping of Russian forces. The Russian side was not planning to storm Kyiv city itself in the near future. This redeployment of forces may be seen as the run-up to the upcoming intensification of offensive operations in the east.

On Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the Russian forces were regrouping in order to “intensify operations in priority areas and, above all, to finish the operation for the complete liberation of Donbas.” To be sure, the upcoming phase of special operation holds profound implications for the eventual conclusion of a peace agreement.

Source: The Indian Punchline

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One Comment
  1. samir sardana

    UKR & Russia is the steel export bowl of the world

    UKR steel mills are blown up,& the ports are blocked.Russian steel exports are stalled due to SWIFT & the impending EU sanctions on Russian steel.This steel will exit the export market.

    EU steel demand will ,& has increased steel prices.On top of that,with rise in oil & gas prices, & gas cut off from Russia,or USE OF LNG BY EU or rationing of gas supply in EU – EU STEEL PRICES WILL RISE FURTHER AND EU STEEL OUTPUT MIGHT REDUCE = RAISING DEMAND FOR STEEL IMPORTS = HIGHER STEEL PRICES !

    Prices of HMS Scrap will also rise – due to freight costs & the higher costs of scrap recyclers

    On top pf that,with high oil & gas rates – coal prices will also explode & if coal to gas plants take off,coal prices will blast off.Further,if there is a conflict in the SCS – that will block the Niippon & Posco steel exports ,and if PLN makes a move on Aussie = blockage iron ore exports.


    Putin just wanted a door,to exit to Donbass

    His fear was MIG and Missile attacks,on his troops,on the way to the East

    Hence,the song and dance of negotiations

    His ploy has worked

    Zelinsky has no MIGs or Missiles

    His troops have a safe exit

    Left behind are UXO, Booby trapped bodies,and Mines

    Peace will come after Putin takes over the East ,and the Ports.That will place UKR and Russia, into a dependent relationship

    UKR will need ports access,and Putin will need water for Donbass, from UKR.

    AND PUTIN will also need to capture,a chunk of UKR agri land and minerals.That will be start of a GIVE AND TAKE for negotiations.

    Putin is now focussing on deleting Donbass and the East from UKR.4

    This means that,EU will need to take,drastic steps

    What is that step ?

    It means they will have to REDUCE GAS USAGE – and Europeans will have to beat that pain – and EU will have to stock pile GAS for the NEXT WINTER – as PUTIN is now entering into a permanent war mode.

    The aim is to drastically cut down on Russian Oil and Gas for say 5-6 months.That will bankrupt Russia,as Oil and Gas is half of Russian GDP.EU demand cannot be
    met by USA/Qatar – and so,EU will suffer job losses and industrial shutdowns – which is PAIN.

    Since Russia will try to block Oil and Gas from the Persian Gulf – EU has to STOCK PILE ON GAS – FROM TODAY

    HENCE LNG WILL SKYROCKET – UNLESS A NEW COVID VARIANT COMES (by chance,a few days ago,a new variant,XE,as found in UK !)

    There will be no Gas Parcels to ship.dindooohindoo

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