From Fort Russ
The Mopping Up of Debaltsevo
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
The cauldron will cease to exist in a few hours, a day at the most. Novorossia’s army has taken most of Debaltsevo. UAF and volunteer battalions have lost their HQ, therefore are acting in an uncoordinated, chaotic fashion, in order to save themselves. Many of the soldiers who have nothing to fear (draftees and reservists) are laying down their arms. DPR/LPR is mentioning hundreds of POWs. But that is only the beginning.
Most of the prisoners will likely be captured today or tomorrow, and here’s why.
Up to yesterday UAF troops could still hope they’d be rescued. The yesterday’s assault on Debaltsevo by Republican forces [a reference to the Spanish Civil War? Because the other side is fascist, after all…] which went very well, showed that the cauldron can quickly turn into a graveyard unless they do something fast.
They can do only two things: either surrender or break out. Surrendering is not the best option for the volunteers. The draftees and reservists it means a new lease on life. It means getting out of the war which feels alien to many of them. Moreover, the experience from last summer means that captivity equals life and…freedom. Many UAF prisoners prefer not to return to Ukraine but rather to sit out the mess in Russia—that’s the reality of the civil war.
But one has to keep in mind that these brigades are not merely reservists. Many territorial battalions have been incorporated into their organization (the 128th Brigade has three of them). So far from all 128th Brigade soldiers will be wiling to surrender. Nevertheless, already last evening we were seeing reports that the soldiers of the 40th “Krivbass” Battalion were surrendering. This was reported by the battalion commander himself.
Already yesterday we say several units withdraw toward Debaltsevo, which could have meant preparations for a break-out. Indeed, it began yesterday morning. It’s hard to tell how successful it was (it’s chaos out there), but it’s clear that they suffered enormous losses in the attempt. Semenchenko writes the following on facebook:
“The situation at Debaltsevo is growing more tense. I received a report from a commander who is holding positions on the “road of life” closer to Debaltsevo. The column exiting Debaltsevo was without tank support for part of the way. Terrorist [sic] tanks came out and shot it to pieces. Our artillery and Grads are firing against enemy tanks. We are evacuating the killed and wounded. We are holding the road. The information is being verified.”
At the same time, Poroshenko announced earlier today that UAF units are leaving Debaltsevo in practically a parade formation (and with only 30 wounded). But Porky has certain credibility issues. It’s already clear that the break-out attempts led to huge personnel losses and a near total loss of heavy equipment. We’ll know how much only in several days. We’ll also find out how many UAF soldiers made the rational decision to surrender to avoid death during the break out. To be sure, DPR/LPR authorities said they are not going to announce the identities of these soldiers if they don’t wish them to be revealed, and will release the captives to their relatives.
In the meantime the situation in Debaltsevo is this: HORROR, DARKNESS, FIRE, and DEATH. One thing is for sure: the comparison between Debaltsevo and Ilovaysk is not only appropriate but obvious.
P.S. The Debaltsevo recriminations will play themselves out against the background of the first anniversary of the coup. Hang on, Porky.